Williams outcast Nico Hülkenberg has admitted that he is pinning his hopes on joining the Force India team for the 2011 season.
The outgoing GP2 champion achieved seven point-scoring finishes and pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix, but was dumped by Williams in favour of his GP2 successor, Pastor Maldonado, who comes armed with significant backing from the Venezuelan government.
The German’s famous manager, Willi Weber, recently hinted that his young charge was in the frame at Force India for 2011, with the Vijay Mallya owned squad so far having not confirmed its driver line-up for next year.
But in spite of the 23-year-old hoping that a deal could be inked “before Christmas”, he’ll need to get in line, with the incumbents Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi seemingly competing with the team’s test driver, Paul di Resta, as well as Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan (if the latest rumours are to be believed) for just two race seats.
Hülkenberg was Maldonado’s GP2 team-mate during his record-breaking 2009 title charge, comprehensively thrashing the South American as he rapidly ascended the motorsport ladder to Formula 1, and he is one of many victims of “money … becoming more important than talent for good F1 seats,” as he was quoted in a recent interview with the official Formula 1 website.
“Force India is our best shot, but it is also no secret that quite a few drivers are trying to land a seat there,” he added. “We are talking to them and let’s wait and see what develops.”
He admitted that he held out hopes that his outstanding pole position would prove a decisive factor in having his contract extended with Williams, but admitted that “there had been signs before that there was something brewing, because the team repeatedly delayed contract talks, putting it off to ‘Mañana’.”
Here’s hoping his negotiations bear fruit somewhere…