Nico Hulkenberg didn’t consider Mercedes F1 switch for 2017

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Nico Hulkenberg did not consider joining Mercedes for the 2017 Formula 1 season following Nico Rosberg’s shock departure, saying he remained committed to new team Renault.

Hulkenberg announced in October that he would be leaving Force India after three full seasons to join Renault, replacing the Haas-bound Kevin Magnussen.

The German was linked with a move to Mercedes following Rosberg’s decision to quit just five days after clinching his maiden F1 title in Abu Dhabi.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Hulkenberg said that he did not consider backing out of his Renault deal, even when Mercedes came calling.

“Given the situation as it was at that very moment, there was no thought of a switch in any way or form,” Hulkenberg said.

“I was already in love with my new ‘girlfriend’ Renault.

“For sure it is a pity that Nico will not be back to defend his title. But I am also sure he knew what he was doing.

“For me – always the pragmatic person that I am – it will mean no more lifts to grands prix in his plane: that really sucks…”

Renault returned to F1 as a constructor in 2016 after six years away, but struggled to make much of an impression, scoring just three top-10 finishes through the season.

Hulkenberg is confident that the team can fare better in 2017, with the revision of the technical regulations offering it an opportunity to move up the grid.

“This year I believe the cards will be reshuffled a little due to the regulation changes, so it could be a good opportunity for us,” Hulkenberg said.

“We at Renault are working hard to catch up so we can put ourselves in a position where we can score some points.

“Of course people are excited about my move to Renault – so am I. In fact I am very excited and super motivated to start to work with my new team.

“But at the same time we have to be careful not to expect too much right away: we have to work hard – harder and better to catch the train back up.”