Sauber sign Hulkenberg for 2013

by David Bean

Sauber have today announced that Nico Hülkenbergas part of their 2013 driver line-up.

The 25-year-old, who won the GP2 series in 2009, is currently driving for Force India. He began his Formula 1 career at Williams in 2010, taking an unexpected pole position at Interlagos during his debut season. Despite this, Hülkenberg then spent a year on the sidelines as Force India test driver before moving up to a race seat for 2012.

“We’ve been observing Nico for some time now and his performances have been very persuasive,” said Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn. “That was the case in GP2 and has continued into Formula One.

“An obvious highlight was how he scored pole at Interlagos in 2010 despite the most challenging external conditions. He clearly showed that he can seize the chance if it arises. But high spots like that are one thing; systematic teamwork is another – and on that score I have confidence in Nico too.

“I’m sure he will fit in very well with the Sauber F1 Team. We look forward to working together with him.”

Sauber have been impressive this year – they have scored four podium finishes and sit sixth in the constructors’ championship, 23 points ahead of the team that Hülkenberg is leaving.

“I’m really looking forward to working with the Sauber F1 Team,” said the German, whose best result this season is the fourth place he scored in Belgium. “It’s a well-placed team and very competitive. Plus it’s a team in which young drivers have repeatedly delivered exceptional performances. I would like to take up that baton.

“The Sauber F1 Team is currently going through a very positive development and I’m certain that together we can achieve a lot. Until that time I will remain fully focused on my job with the Sahara Force India Team. I’d like to thank the management at Sahara Force India for giving me the chance to return to Formula One as a team driver.”

The team have not yet named who will partner Hülkenberg next season. Kamui Kobayashi is said to be hunting around for sponsorship to help convince the team to retain his services, but many expect Esteban Guttierrez, the team’s reserve driver, to get the nod. Sauber have today said that they will announce their second driver ‘at a later date’.

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