Force India’s test driver Nico Hülkenberg has confirmed he has split with long-time manager Willi Weber, the man most famous for managing the career of Michael Schumacher until the seven-time World Champion temporarily quit the sport at the end of 2006.
Under the careful watch of 69-year-old Weber, Hülkenberg has rapidly risen through the junior formulae to make his F1 debut last year with Williams, only to lose the drive at the end of the year to the better-funded Pastor Maldonado.
Hülkenberg has since moved on to become Force India’s Friday driver, and he holds hopes of being promoted to a race seat in 2012.
A brief statement on his website confirms that he will now be managing his own affairs, with some assistance from his former PR man.
The announcement comes at a time when Force India is seemingly trying to position itself as a Mercedes GP feeder team, with rumours growing ever stronger that the team’s rookie driver, Paul di Resta, is first in line to replace Michael Schumacher when he decides to retire for good.
Di Resta has performed very well in his debut season, and as a protégé of the Mercedes-Benz since his Formula 3 days, before he was placed into DTM.
When Schumacher elects to quit, then di Resta is a logical replacement ahead of his more established team-mate Adrian Sutil, who has proven neither as quick or consistent as his rookie team-mate. Word on the street is that Sutil – who has recently become embroiled in what he claims was an accidental ‘glassing’ of Genii CEO Eric Lux in Shanghai – is falling out of favour with Force India, and that he could be shown the door in favour of Hülkenberg.
It is generally believed that Hülkenberg’s test-drive deal with Force India was – like Vitantonio Liuzzi’s before – to test with a guarantee of a race seat later on.
It could well be that Hülkenberg’s career might be well mapped out for a few years ahead at least, and there is little point in having a significant portion of his salary siphoned off to an omnipotent manager.
[Original image via WorldCarFans.com]
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