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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Surprise! Surprise! Sauber hire Nico Hulkenberg for 2013

Finally, the worst kept secret (other than Lewis to Mercedes) in Formula 1 has been made public.  In 2013 Nico Hulkenberg will drive for the Sauber team.

No doubt his long time sponsors, Dekra, are bringing funds to the team along with Alpinestars, Katjes, and Rheinwaal. If I remember correctly, his Williams deal was rumoured to be worth about £10 million to the team.

The second driver has yet to be announced, but is likely to be another sponsored driver since Kamui Kobayashi, after his brilliant drive in Suzuka, made public his desperate need to attract sponsors in order to keep his seat next year.

Money currently up for grabs include Esteban Gutierrez, another Mexican Driver sponsored by Carlos Slim Jr., Adrian Sutil, whose march back to F1 from the wilderness would bring another rumoured £10 Million to a team, Robin Frijns, who is backed to the tune of we don't know how much, by Frijns Industrial Group, and Bruno Senna, worth about £12 million, should he lose his seat at Williams.

Of course Williams are top of the paying driver heap with Pastor Maldonado who, I recently read, brings a reported £45 million by way of the Venezuelan State Oil Company PDVSA.

The figures are astounding but, given the Williams drivers' failure to capitalise on the potential of this year's car, I would expect that Williams will have to plump for another paying driver who can offset the £7 million that has been lost by way of Constructor's Championship placement.

Nico Hulkenberg is currently driving for Sahara Force India and his best Formula One race result this season was at the Belgian Grand Prix, where he finished fourth on the challenging Spa-Francochamps circuit.
Team Principal, Monisha Kaltenborn said on the announcement that:
We’ve been observing Nico for some time now and his performances have been very persuasive. That was the case in GP2 and has continued into Formula One. An obvious highlight was how he scored pole at Interlagos in 2010 despite the most challenging external conditions. He clearly showed that he can seize the chance if it arises. But high spots like that are one thing; systematic teamwork is another – and on that score I have confidence in Nico too. I’m sure he will fit in very well with the Sauber F1 Team. We look forward to working together with him.

Nico Hülkenberg is quoted as saying:
 “I’m really looking forward to working with the Sauber F1 Team. It’s a well-placed team and very competitive. Plus it’s a team in which young drivers have repeatedly delivered exceptional performances. I would like to take up that baton. The Sauber F1 Team is currently going through a very positive development and I’m certain that together we can achieve a lot. Until that time I will remain fully focused on my job with the Sahara Force India Team. I’d like to thank the management at Sahara Force India for giving me the chance to return to Formula One as a team driver.”
Another seat is finally sown up for 2013.