Sahara Force India F1 Team has announced that it has signed Nico Hulkenberg to a new two-year contract with the team, keeping their lead driver in the organization through the 2017 Formula 1 season.
The 28-year-old German driver was delighted to announce his new deal with Force India, saying: “I’m very pleased to finalise and announce my plans for the future. I know this team inside out and I feel at home here so it made perfect sense to make a long-term commitment. The progress the team has shown over the last two years has really impressed me and gives me confidence for the future. It’s a great group of people who are hungry for success and want to keep improving year-on-year. I think we have the important things in place going forward and I want to continue growing with this team as we move even further up the grid.”
Hulkenberg is Force India's most successful driver in terms of points scored, accumulating 183 championship points in three seasons with the team. While Hulkenberg has yet to score a podium finish in F1, he has been one of the sport's highest-rated talents in the paddock for several years, and no man seemed happier to retain his services than team principal Vijay Mallya:
“I make no secret of being one of Nico’s biggest fans and so it’s fantastic to confirm him as our driver for the next couple of seasons," Mallya said. "He has spent almost four years with us already and in that time we’ve seen him develop into one of the best racing drivers in the world. Nico has the speed, the technical knowledge and the maturity to help us achieve some great results in the years ahead. We will do everything we can to continue delivering a car to match his talent.”
Mallya gave Hulkenberg the blessing to race in two FIA World Endurance Championship rounds for Porsche this season - where he, along with Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber, won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. It is highly likely, then, that Hulkenberg will be able to defend his victory at Le Mans next June, while continuing to elevate Force India further up the Formula 1 grid over the next two seasons.
Hulkenberg is currently twelfth in the World Championship standings, with a season-best finish of sixth in the Austrian Grand Prix.