Nico Hulkenberg joins Paul di Resta in Force India's 2012 Formula 1 driver line-up
|By Pablo Elizalde||Friday, December 16th 2011, 15:11 GMT|
Force India has confirmed Nico Hulkenberg will join Paul di Resta in its racing driver line-up for the 2012 season.
Hulkenberg was the team's reserve driver during the 2011 season and will return to racing next year, having made his grand prix debut with the Williams team in 2010.
He replaces Adrian Sutil, the German having been expected to leave Force India for some months.
"I'm obviously delighted to be staying with Sahara Force India and to be given the chance to race next year," said Hulkenberg. "It wasn't easy to watch from the sidelines this season, but I did my best to help the team and show what I was capable of.
"I'm extremely motivated for 2012 and would like to thank everyone for believing in me and giving me this chance. I'm keen to get down to work over the winter to develop our new car and help the team build on this year's achievements. The first test in Jerez can't come soon enough."
Di Resta, who enjoyed an impressive rookie season with the Silverstone-based squad this year, will compete with Force India for a second consecutive campaign.
"I'm really looking forward to my second season of Formula 1 and continuing to grow and develop with Sahara Force India," he said. "I've said all along that I love being part of this team: they are ambitious, hungry for success and we work well together.
"I'm really excited about 2012 and there is a real sense of belief that we can continue to push the top teams and take another step forward. I'd also like to thank the team for all their hard work this year and for all the support they've given me. I'll take some time out over the next few weeks to recharge my batteries and hopefully come back even stronger in 2012."
Team boss Vijay Mallya said both drivers had more than earned their opportunities with their performances in their 2011 roles.
"I think Paul caught the eye of everybody in the pitlane during his rookie season," said Mallya. "His speed, maturity and racecraft confirmed that we were right to believe in him and we look forward to working with him again next year.
"As for Nico, we identified him as a rising star at the end of 2010 and chose to evaluate him during the course of this season. Despite having only limited time in the car, he convinced us that he deserved a race seat for 2012."
Mallya also thanked the departing Sutil for his contribution. Sutil had been at the team since 2007, when it was still known as Spyker.
"Our new line-up means we say 'goodbye' to Adrian Sutil, who has been with the team since we entered the sport," said Mallya. "He has been an integral part of our success over the past four seasons and we wish him well for the future."