FIA red faced over 'Lotus' driver Hulkenberg blunder

Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg

The FIA appears to have got ahead of itself whilst organising the traditional drivers’ press conference schedule for this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Nico Hulkenberg is hotly in the running to fill the Ferrari-bound Kimi Raikkonen’s race seat for 2014, but the deal is far from done.

In its press release to inform journalists about the press conference lineup for Thursday in Singapore, however, Formula 1’s governing body listed German Hulkenberg as appearing for ‘Lotus’.

The error was quickly recognised and fixed.

Also under consideration for the Lotus race seat next year is the Ferrari refugee Felipe Massa.

When asked specifically about his contention to replace Raikkonen at Lotus, Hulkenberg told the Munich newspaper Abendzeitung: “The decision is not in my hands, but I am hoping for a fast car [for 2014].”

The 26-year-old has not definitively ruled out staying at Sauber, but the Swiss team has been uncompetitive in 2013 and also struggling for survival.

Hulkenberg, however, said chasing down Toro Rosso for seventh in the lucrative constructors’ championship could make a difference.

“We are closer to Toro Rosso and might even be able to pass them in the standings,” he said.

“That would be good for the team, because it would mean a bonus – and [we] need the cash!”

Until Kimi Raikkonen’s signing, Hulkenberg was considered the hot favourite to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari.

Former Ferrari driver Rene Arnoux thinks that Ferrari should have made a different choice.

“In the short term, the choice of Kimi was right,” he told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“But looking further ahead, a young guy would have been better. The problem is that Formula 1 is always in a hurry, incapable of seeing things even in the medium term,” added Arnoux. (GMM.)