Nico Hulkenberg signs new Force India contract to cap Le Mans success with two-year extension after missing out on Ferrari drive

Ferrari's decision to retain Kimi Raikkonen next season looks to have convinced Hulkenberg to remain with Force India until 2017

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The Independent Online

Nico Hulkenberg has agreed a two-year deal to stay at Force India.

The highly-rated German, who became the first active Formula One driver to win at Le Mans in over two decades earlier this year, will remain with the team until the end of the 2017 campaign.

Hulkenberg had been mooted as a replacement for Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari and a contender for the American outfit Haas which will take up their slot on the grid next season.

But after seeing Raikkonen confirmed at Ferrari for 2016, the 28-year-old, in his third full season at Force India, has chosen to extend his stay with the British-based team.

"I'm very pleased to finalise and announce my plans for the future," said Hulkenberg.

"I know this team inside out and I feel at home here so it made perfect sense to make a long-term commitment.

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Nico Hulkenberg in action during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix

"The progress the team has shown over the last two years has really impressed me and gives me confidence for the future.

"It's a great group of people who are hungry for success and want to keep improving year-on-year.

"I think we have the important things in place going forward and I want to continue growing with this team as we move even further up the grid."

 

Force India team principal Vijay Mallya added: "I make no secret of being one of Nico's biggest fans and so it's fantastic to confirm him as our driver for the next couple of seasons.

"He has spent almost four years with us already and in that time we've seen him develop into one of the best racing drivers in the world.

"Nico has the speed, the technical knowledge and the maturity to help us achieve some great results in the years ahead. We will do everything we can to continue delivering a car to match his talent."

It is expected that Hulkenberg's team-mate Sergio Perez will also be retained by Force India for the 2016 campaign.

Hulkenberg made his Formula One debut with Williams in 2010 and after two spells at Force India and one season with Sauber has competed in 86 grands prix.

He is 12th in this year's drivers' standings with a best finish of sixth at the Austrian Grand Prix.

PA

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