Hulkenberg set to snub Lotus and Quantum for return to Force India

Nico Hulkenberg drove for Vijay Mallya's Force India team in 2012

Nico Hulkenberg drove for Vijay Mallya’s Force India team in 2012

Nico Hulkenberg has agreed a €1.9 million deal to return to Force India in 2014, according to the veteran Formula 1 correspondent Roger Benoit.

Mere hours ago, Lotus team boss Eric Boullier said the German driver remained Enstone’s top choice to replace Kimi Raikkonen full-time next season.

But while the long wait for the Quantum investment group’s cash injection continues to stretch out, the Frenchman acknowledged that Hulkenberg could not be blamed “if he signs somewhere else”.

“It would just mean the timing was not right for him or for us,” said Boullier.

According to Benoit, writing in Blick newspaper, Hulkenberg has indeed decided to return to Force India, who also rescued his career in late 2010 when he was dropped unceremoniously by Williams.

All the Silverstone based team has to do, according to Benoit, is pay Hulkenberg’s arrears from 2012 “and an advance” on his €1.9 million fee for 2014.

Nico Hulkenberg battles with Romain Grosjean in Korea

Nico Hulkenberg battles with Romain Grosjean in Korea

Hulkenberg raced for Force India in 2012, but for this year switched to Sauber, who have been suffering with financial problems throughout 2013.

Benoit quoted Hulkenberg as saying: “Don’t worry, I will have a seat next year.”

It is now widely believed that it is the PDVSA-sponsored Pastor Maldonado, and not Hulkenberg, who will be heading to Lotus in 2014.

Hulkenberg admitted that  he is sceptical about whether the Enstone based team’s necessary millions in ‘Quantum’ investment will ever actually arrive to pay his salary.

“[The Quantum deal] has been dragging on for so long to the point that it loses credibility,” the German admitted.

“When it is repeatedly put off and put off, you eventually lose hope,” added Hulkenberg. (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • MacStar

    Oh no! When will the Hulk have a worthy drive? Surely not at Force India!

  • NumeroUno

    Finally the Hulk has a drive with a team that actually recruits drivers with the best talent and not sponsorship. They’ve been improving consistently ever since they’ve debuted and I can see them challenging to be in the top 4-5 next season with the new regulations and Mercedes engines which are said to have 100HP more. Brilliant move!

  • captain tortuga

    Next year will be mostly about luck anyway,(i think) since reliability becomes a huge factor, engine-power itself becomes a factor, fuel-efficiency become a major factor, not to mention that there no decisions yet on what gums they will exactly run next year, and what the effects of 33sec ERS per lap will do with the tyres.

    force india might be up there if the rumours of the +100HP are true.
    But also , even if that might be true, how will that effect the fuel-efficiency of the MB-engine? the 100Kg limit will be a serious struggle i feel.
    Lets just hope that the Hulk gets to work on a 2015 contract a bit sooner, so he can go to Ferrari? (if the Alonso-rumours turn out to be true) or to McLaren? I really like Button, but he seems to get a bit ‘tired’ and a bit overdue. Maybe Lotus after all, after they realize that Crashtor costs more than he delivers?Even Merc in the unlikely scenario that Rosberg gets ousted at the end of 2014. Only RedBull seems like a hard bet.

  • Hugo

    Force India still owes him money from 2012?? What is wrong with these morons?

  • McLarenfan

    Well if this is true at least he has a drive in a team close to the front and Force India has made some serious investments last year in tech equipment. So who is out Sutil or Paul.
    Lets just hope who ever is ousted gets to block Crashdonado getting a seat.

  • No Way

    People are pulling this Mercedes has 100 more horse power then the other engine manufactures out of their own rear ends.

    There is no one who knows what each of the four manufactures is making for horse power outside of the people working on the engines themselves and they only know what their own engine is making.

    Also if and it is a huge if, i.e. very very very unlikely, but if Mercedes has a 100 horse power advantage there is no way they will be able to be fuel efficient enough to make it to the end of the races with the limited amount of fuel they will have to carry.

    It takes fuel to make horse power and it will take an awful lot of fuel to make up 100 horse power over everyone else.

  • Matt

    So Eddie Jordan was right again, then? He predicted this ages ago, even though the guys at Sky pooh-poohed it.

  • The Pessimist

    The only good thing about Force India is their consistency,they’ve stayed firmly where they were i.e. top of the mid field pack unlike teams like Sauber, Toro Rosso and Williams who had mixed results year after year.

    They should sign Sergio Perez for the Second seat and get the talented Robin Frijns as their reserve and develop him to into a world class driver.

  • Boycottthebull

    Really sad news. If Hulkenbergs fee is just 1.9 million Euro surely Lotus could have come up with that without the Quantum investment? People have been dumping on Lotus for non payments when in fact Force India and Sauber have been far worse as the amounts havent been anywhere near as high. Its not like Lotus had to come up with Kimis high price tag. I cant see why Genii couldnt have come to the party on this they would have made their investment back ten fold in prize money and constructors money.

  • Emaaduddin

    I agree with @NumeroUno

  • Daniel Ordaz C

    This news means that if Lotus gets the funds from Quantum they could hire Checo Perez and not have to accept Maldonado and his petrodollars.

  • Dr. Azlan

    Hopefully Hulkenberg will be paid at Force India. Nowadays drivers asking for advance payment before they start driving.

    Not paying drivers and not paying utility bills are just amazing events in F1.

  • Eevel

    @Daniel Ordaz C
    The Quantam deal is not going to happen.
    That Monsoor fellow is a know con artist and all round shady character and the only thing Lotus will get out of their association with him is a worsening of their reputation and a loss of credibility.

  • Red Bull Cheats

    @Boycottthebull, Lotus have to pay Hulk maybe $2m where Pastor brings in maybe $40m. So the difference is huge.

  • Empee

    @Red Bull Cheats

    In counterpoint, where did that ~$40 million get Williams these last three seasons? Even if you don’t attribute the acceleration of their backwards slide to Maldonado’s presence, he emphatically demonstrated last weekend that he lacks the character to help a team past adversity. Hell, asking him to take responsibility for his own failures and misjudgements on the track is asking too much.

    Several teams learned the hard way this season that there are some things money can’t buy or fix. Assuming Lotus opts to sign Maldonado, they’ll likely learn the same lesson unless Pastor takes it upon himself to grow as a person.

  • Kimi4WDC


    I believe the type of drivers you referring to are Gutierez and Chilton.

    No matter how much you dislike Maldonado’s character, he is a very fast driver.

    My main concern is Lotus, and where they will end up next year or if they going to make the grid at all.
    It is no secret Lopez would like to sell. But with Kimi gone and their value taking a hit due to miss-management of various situations, I don’t see how Lopez can justify his ambitions of generating more value compare to what they had no so long ago.

  • rvsp

    force India will get a boost next season if they sign hulk and perez….. perez is excellent in first 10 races and hulk exceptional in second half of the season even in an average car…
    perez scored 47 points in first 10 and only 19 in remaining races in 2012…
    hulk 19 scored in first 10 and 44 in remaining races in 2012.

  • Red Bull Cheats

    @ Empee, Yeah right, so Lotus should go BANKRUPT instead of having Maldonado in the team? If you have a spare $40m to have Hulkenburg there you pay it. And Botas is super quick, so that means Maldonado is not slow. Williams without the $40m from Maldonado would be Williams closing the shop and sacking everyone. So that is where it got them. Still being in business.

  • Red Bull Cheats

    @rvsp, Sauber didn’t develop their car for the first 6 months of this season as they had no money. Once the Russians came with their money the situation changed. It was not Hulkenberg suddenly getting better. F1 is 80% about the car. The Sauber changed as a car, not the driver.

  • PB

    Hulk – go where your heart tells you that you will be looked after and paid. My opinion says that Quantum deal will fail like most things that Ijaz is involved with. If they are for real then a deposit of some sort would have already been made. Ijaz to me is one of these people who likes to swan around the paddock.