31.10.12

Sauber sign Hulkenberg

Swiss team seal Force India driver's signature but remain quiet on Kamui Kobayashi's future.

Sauber has announced that current Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg will fill one of its race seats for the 2013 season but the Swiss outfit remained tight-lipped as to whether Kamui Kobayashi will retain his drive at the team next year.

"It’s a team in which young drivers have repeatedly delivered exceptional performances. I would like to take up that baton."
Nico Hulkenberg

“We’ve been observing Nico for some time now and his performances have been very persuasive,” said Sauber Principal Monisha Kaltenborn of Hulkenberg’s signing. “That was the case in GP2 [where he was champion in 2009] and has continued into Formula One.

“An obvious highlight was how he scored pole at Interlagos in 2010 despite the most challenging external conditions,” she added. “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.”

Hulkenberg added: “I’m really looking forward to working with the Sauber F1 Team. 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.”

However, the Hinwil squad made no comment on who would fill its second seat. Current driver Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi is battling to hold on to the drive, but is under pressure from Mexican racer Esteban Gutierrez, the team’s third driver and a ready replacement for McLaren-bound compatriot Sergio Perez.