After much speculation surrounding Nico Hulkenberg’s place at the Force India F1 Team, it has been announced that the German driver will move to Renault for the 2017 Formula 1 Season.
Nico Hulkenberg to go to Renault for 2017
Hulkenberg, who has been part of the Force India team since 2011 (excluding the 2013 season when he drove for Sauber), is set to move to the Renault F1 Team for 2017. It is understood that Hulkenberg has a two year deal with the team, leaving him in contract with them until the end of the 2018 Formula 1 Season. Hulkenberg also has the option to extend the deal into 2019 if he wishes.
Now that Hulkenberg has been confirmed at Renault for 2017, only two questions remain. Who will partner Hulkenberg at Renault? And who will partner Sergio Perez at Force India?
With there being one seat left at the Renault F1 Team for 2017, many drivers have been linked to appearing at the team. Names include Renault’s current drivers: Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer; Manor driver and 2015 GP3 Champion, Esteban Ocon, and Williams driver, Valtteri Bottas.
With Ocon being a Mercedes junior driver, he is in good stead to replace Hulkenberg at Force India in 2017, with the Silverstone outfit being supplied with Mercedes power units.
Ocon joined the Formula 1 grid after this season’s summer break, with the French driver replacing Rio Haryanto at Manor and making his debut at the Belgian Grand Prix.
In the position of Bottas, it is understood that the Finnish driver is using Renault as a back up plan in the event of Williams failing to meet his contract demands, meaning very well that Bottas could appear in the final Renault next year.
It is understood that both Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer are in a straight battle with each other to stay on at Renault for 2017. In the Drivers’ Standings, Magnussen currently leads Palmer, with seven points to one. However, in recent races, Palmer has been more competitive, out qualifying and out racing his senior team mate who once drove for McLaren.
It will be interesting how the rest of the Formula 1 grid shapes up for the 2017 season, with this team change opening the driver market up completely, leaving a space available at Force India, and exposing vulnerabilities in the current Williams driver lineup.