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Hulkenberg joins Renault from Force India

14 Oct 2016

Nico Hulkenberg will switch from Force India to Renault in 2017 after signing a 'multi-year' deal with the French manufacturer.

Hulkenberg has spent four of the last five years with Force India, but will contest his final Grand Prix with the team in 2016's Abu Dhabi season finale. Force India had an option to keep the German on for 2017, but confirmed they would not stand in his way of joining a factory team.

"I’m very happy to join Renault Sport Formula One Team in 2017," Hulkenberg said. "Renault has always been a big player in the motorsport world that brings up incredible memories: in his stint with Renault [in their former guise as Benetton], Michael Schumacher not only helped make Germany an F1 nation, he also sparked my enthusiasm and fire for racing. As a part of the Renault family, I want to develop the car and write new success stories.

"It has always been my dream to work for a manufacturer team. F1’s new regulations will change the game and give our team a good opportunity. In the years to come, Renault will play a challenger role, which fits my approach to racing 100 percent. I can’t wait to become part of the family.

"For the remaining races this year, I will give my best for Force India to reach fourth place in the constructors' championship. This would be a great achievement for the whole Force India team, the biggest success in its history and a great end to a fantastic time there.

“I am grateful that Force India has given me the chance to take up this new opportunity.”

Renault Sport Racing chairman Jerome Stoll said Hulkenberg would help drive the team on to the next level.

"2017 will be the second season of Groupe Renault’s return as a manufacturer entry in Formula 1 and the next step in our journey," Stoll commented. "This season has been about putting the foundations in place for future success.

"For our next step we required an experienced driver who is still hungry for podiums. Nico Hülkenberg fulfils this role perfectly and is an excellent complement to what we want to achieve. He is a highly talented, dedicated and motivated driver. Nico will enable us to harness all the hard work completed this season and translate it to improved results on track in 2017 and beyond. We look forward to seeing him in our new car for 2017."

Force India team principal and managing director Vijay Mallya said the team would miss a driver of Hulkenberg's calibre, adding: "Everybody at Sahara Force India wishes Nico well as he embarks upon a different path in Formula One.

"Having spent five years with us, Nico has become a great friend and contributed a huge amount to the team’s success. He’s an outstanding driver, who has scored more points for this team than anybody else. While it’s true we will miss Nico, we respect his decision to explore fresh opportunities and it would be wrong to stand in his way.”

Having first broken into F1 with Williams in 2010, Hulkenberg is now one of the most experienced drivers on the grid - indeed only five drivers will have started more Grands Prix than him when the 2017 season gets underway.

He has finished in the points in more than half of the 111 races he has contested, and has also claimed one pole and led three races - although his wait for a first Grand Prix podium continues, with fourth - achieved on three different occasions - his best result.

Last year he won the Le Mans 24 Hours at his first attempt with Porsche.

Hulkenberg's move opens up a seat at Force India alongside Sergio Perez - with Manor's Pascal Wehrlein among those linked to the newly-available drive. At Renault, meanwhile, the likes of Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer are believed to be in contention to partner Hulkenberg.