Neither Nico Hülkenberg or his employer, the Sauber F1 team, is giving any hints over the German driver’s future with the team, despite rumours suggesting that the team’s lead driver has quit the team after finishing tenth at Sunday’s German Grand Prix.
The Swiss team’s finances are apparently in a parlous state, and it is understood that Hülkenberg’s management has sought to sever ties with the team, which apparently hasn’t been able to pay him for the last two months.
According to a report in the Sonntagszeitung newspaper, several of the team’s sponsors have injected an “emergency” sum of money to keep the team going.
“It is very difficult at the moment,” the team’s founder Peter Sauber said.
“Our resources are very limited and the situation is uncomfortable and embarrassing,” he added, admitting that payments to several of the team’s suppliers were past due.
“It is affecting not only the development of the car, but also the suppliers,” he continued.
“For the large part, we are being met with understanding, but it is very stressful for us and in many regards painful.”
The team is enduring a disastrous 2013 campaign after the highs of 2012, and Hülkenberg is known not to have been happy with his move to the team, particularly while his former team, Force India, is enjoying its best season.
“I cannot say anything about contractual matters,” he told Germany’s Sky channel, when asked about his apparent issues.
“Clearly, I must look after my future. We will see where it goes.”
The team was equally coy about its situation.
“We don’t comment on contractual issues,” a spokesperson for the team said.