Did Ferrari block Hulkenberg from driving for Lotus in USA and Brazil?

Nico Hulkenberg will race for Sauber in USA and Brazil

Nico Hulkenberg will race for Sauber in USA and Brazil

According to the hottest report in the Austin paddock, Ferrari has stopped Nico Hulkenberg from joining Lotus for the last two grands prix of 2013, as the two teams battle over millions of dollars for third place in the 2013 F1 Constructors’ Championship.

The first report was that Ferrari, who have signed Kimi Raikkonen for 2014, may have encouraged the Finn to arrange early back surgery and miss Austin and Brazil.

Now, it is being reported that Lotus approached Hulkenberg to replace the Finn, only to find surprisingly that the German is still locked into his Sauber contract.

It was believed Sauber had earlier breached Hulkenberg’s 2013 deal by not paying him.

But Hulkenberg’s manager Werner Heinz told Sport1 radio on Wednesday that moving to Lotus for the last two races would have meant breaking a valid contract.

GP Spanien 2013

Nico Hulkenberg versus Fernando Alonso

“Sure, it would have meant that,” he said. “But I also don’t think [that] Sauber would have put obstacles in the way.”

The big report now is that the obstacle was in fact put in the way by Ferrari.

“Apparently,” read a report in the German newspaper Bild, “Ferrari took care of Hulkenberg’s unpaid salary, so that he could not be hired by Lotus.”

Sauber, a traditional ally of the Italian marque, is powered by Ferrari engines. Indeed, it is believed Hulkenberg came so close to moving to Lotus for Austin and Brazil that he even had a seat fitting at Enstone this week.

“One can only speculate about the reason for the change of plans,” read a report in Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. “In Austin on Wednesday it was reported that Sauber paid Hulkenberg’s salary at the last minute.”

A report on the Italian website BlogF1 added: “According to our sources, the money came straight from Maranello.” (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • captain tortuga

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, .. well i think the reporters have a wild imagination. I say The Hulk did not have any guarantees for next year, and figured it would be safer to stay with Sauber for the last races.

  • sebolonso

    It was not blocking, it was reserving. Hulk will drive for Ferrari 2014 or 2015, depending on how soon Ferrari is able to get rid of Alonso. Hopefully soon.

  • Spartacus

    Not sure how much faith you can put on this story. Although when it comes to Ferrari few things surprise me with their un-sportsmanship these days.

    It will be interesting to see how Alonso copes with a fast driver who won’t take being his stooge. Toy out the pram? Again?

  • Robin ducker

    Well let’s work it out….Sauber ows Ferrari big bucks. Lotus are close behind Ferrari in the constructors. What would you do?

  • Spartacus is an idiot…

    …that continues to infest this site everyday with his stupid comments, which only prove that he is just a silly little boy who does not understand anything about F1. Poor little fool.

  • iceman 2.0

    I agree totally …. same old stuff…too little knowledge….repetitions everywhere

  • Nowhereman

    Bring on 2014 please…………..

  • Red Horizon

    I agree with those who think that Ferrari is really interested in Hulkenberg. Certainly they don’t want to block him because they are afraid of Lotus and/or to lose a place in the constructors’ championship. And this definitely is not un-sportsmanship by Ferrari. Someone should have a little more respect for Ferrari, which is in F1 for so long.

  • ZombieJebus

    Sounds like typical Ferrari behavior to me!

  • TarasT

    “The first report was that Ferrari, who have signed Kimi Raikkonen for 2014, may have encouraged the Finn to arrange early back surgery and miss Austin and Brazil.”

    That’s what I said in another post. So, it must be true.

  • Iori

    Red Horizon, why should ferrari have more respect than any other team on the grid, I for one have much more respect for Marussia and Caterham than ferrari for what they are doing with a fraction of the privileged budget that ferrari has to go racing with.

  • Maserati123

    I do not see anything wrong with this,it is better than staging an accident like a team did in a race.I think Ferrari knows that Alonso is going to McLaren so the Hulk is the perfect candidate.

  • Red Horizon

    “why should ferrari have more respect than any other team on the grid”
    lori I didn’t say that you should have more respect for Ferrari than the other teams, I meant to say that someone must respect Ferrari just like the other teams because some people do nothing but throw mud and hate on Ferrari without any plausible reason.
    But this doesn’t surprise me because the position that Ferrari has gained over time in F1 bothers many. Let’s not forget that F1 is a sport / entertainment born in England and still this is the most important country for F1. Most of the teams are headquartered there and Ecclestone, who is the master of F1 (at least until now) is English. Also is wrong who think that Ferrari can somehow control the F1 or the FIA, what Ferrari does is simply lobby in their favor, and they can do so thanks to the position acquired over time and it’s something absolutely normal. Furthermore, the ratio of Ferrari in F1, from the beginning was marked by two factors: alliance and confrontation with the Federation with the objective to increase its influence. In addition, Ferrari doesn’t steal money to anybody, all economic agreements are established with the commercial rights holder. It is also shameful to think that it’s only Ferrari to do politics because, believe me, other historic teams and manufacturers in F1 (McLaren, Mercedes, Renault, Williams) have the same goal.

  • The Pessimist

    Lo and Behold! Ferrari have done it again, a team with a long history in F1 are also good in dirty politics. They sent Kimi to the surgeon and blocked Hulk’s move to Lotus, Reason to finish ahead of Lotus in the constructors championships, shows the level they can stoop….disgusting.

  • Red Horizon

    Third or fourth…a few million loss will not send Ferrari in ruins, that’s for sure …

  • thomasson

    @The Pessimist
    The only thing disgusting here is the gullible and stupid minds of the Ferrari haters who will believe every bullsh*t rumor as long as it’s about bashing Ferrari. If Ferrari is that powerful as this BS story suggests then why don’t they just buy off Red Bull and Vettel and Hamilton and Rosberg so that they could win everything? And do you really think that Raikkonen would let someone tell him that he should leave from F1 to have a “fake” back surgery? hahahaaa you people are just unbelievably dumb! Ferrari has finished in 4th place before as well, why didn’t they buy everyone off then to eliminate competition? These stories about the “all-mighty evil Ferrari team” are pure bullsh*t, made up by the haters for the other gullible haters! Maybe the Lotus team made this story up in order to get back at Ferrari for taking their precious Kimi away.