Nico Hulkenberg could be set to make a return to Force India after just one season away, according to reports from portions of the German media in Brazil this weekend.
The German driver has been one of the most talked about people in Formula One this season, having been linked with moves away from Sauber to four or five teams due to the fragile nature of the driver market for next season. He came agonizingly close to joining Ferrari, but the team opted to withdraw its contract offer at the last minute in favor of signing Kimi Raikkonen from Lotus.
Hulkenberg is known to be chasing the seat at Lotus to be the Finn’s replacement, and team principal Eric Boullier has admitted that the German driver is his preferred choice. However, with the team’s unstable financial status being cause for concern and the ‘deal or no deal’ saga with Quantum Motorsport ongoing, it appears that Hulkenberg has decided to move back to Force India to be sure of a seat next season.
According to Michael Schmidt of Auto Motor und Sport: “The deal could be announced in the next few days, maybe even right after the Brazilian GP.”
Should this materialize, it would most probably leave Paul di Resta without a seat for 2014, and the Scottish driver has said that he is open to a move to IndyCar should he fail to find a spot with an F1 team.
However, deputy team principal Bob Fernley told the BBC that there would have to be a “jolly good reason” for the team to make any changes to its line-up for 2014.
Having missed out on all of the available seats with the front running teams, Hulkenberg’s return to Force India will be seen as a coup for the midfield outfit, although keeping hold of him for more than one year could prove to be more of a challenge.
What is truly baffling is that despite four of the five front-running teams making at least one change to their driver line-up in 2014, Hulkenberg – possibly the most underrated driver on the grid – hasn’t been snapped up by any of them.