Hulkenberg thankful to “come home,” retain spot on grid

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The outside world is lamenting Nico Hulkenberg’s being passed over, once again, for a top flight seat on the Formula One grid. Yet Hulkenberg is thankful to have any seat in an F1 world where commercial interests have played such a major role in seats of late.

“I believe I’m in a good place and just maintaining a drive in F1 is worth a lot these days,” he admitted, in an interview with the official F1 website. “I’m a Formula One driver with a team that is ambitious and aiming high for the future. Of course I want to be winning races, but I’m still young and 2014 will only be my fourth season as a race driver in Formula One.”

Hulkenberg returns to Force India for the first time since his two years there from 2011 to 2012. He stepped into a race seat for 2012, but moved on to Sauber after a single year.

“I’m excited to be back. It’s a team I know very well,” he said. “I’ve spent two years here before – in 2011 and 2012 – so indeed it’s a bit like coming home. There are still a lot of familiar faces that I know and have worked with before, so it will be a sort of happy reunion.”

Without giving anything away, Hulkenberg thought the identity of his teammate for 2014 is likely to be someone to “score points when the chance was there.” Most of the free agents on the market – Sergio Perez, Paul di Resta, Adrian Sutil – have shown an ability to do that.

Hulkenberg also said he felt bullish on Mercedes’ development of its new V6 engine. Mercedes will also supply three other teams (Mercedes, McLaren, Williams) in 2014.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”