Force India only 2012 option for Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India F1  Reserve Driver.

Nico Hulkenberg

Sep.21 (GMM) Force India is Nico Hulkenberg’s only chance to return to the Formula 1 grid in 2012, but will have to wait until December before he learns his fate for next season.

Last year he impressed as Williams rookie but had to settle for the reserve role at Force India in 2011, including the opportunity to practice on most Friday mornings.

With current race lineup Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta also in the running for next season, team owner and boss Vijay Mallya has said he will not make a decision about 2012 until mid December.

German Hulkenberg, 24, therefore said on Twitter this week that he is “not sure yet” if he will be able to call himself a F1 race driver once again next year.

“I hope I can race with Force India but the team will decide not before December, so I must wait,” he added.

According to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, Hulkenberg must be hoping that his countryman Sutil cannot hold out until December and therefore decides to market his experience and personal sponsors Medion and Capri-Sonne elsewhere.

Mallya’s December deadline means that the options in his drivers’ contracts will by then have expired, but Sutil manager Manfred Zimmermann insisted recently: “We still have our destiny in our own hands”.

28-year-old Sutil has already visited Williams’ Grove headquarters but Zimmermann insisted on Monday that Force India is the first choice.

Auto Motor und Sport however said Sutil “has also been seen in the paddock in conversation with (Williams) team boss Adam Parr”.

For Hulkenberg, the only option is Silverstone based Force India.

He told the German magazine: “Everyone from Renault down wants to see money (from its drivers).”

He is referring not only to Renault and Williams but also F1′s newest teams including Virgin and HRT.