Nico Hulkenberg to stay at Force India Formula 1 team for 2016/17

Nico Hulkenberg has committed himself to Force India by signing a two-year contract extension with the Formula 1 team

Nico Hulkenberg to stay at Force India Formula 1 team for 2016/17

Hulkenberg had recently been linked with newcomer Haas, and was understood to be top of its 10-man wanted list ahead of the American firm's entry into F1 in 2016.

But the 28-year-old German, in his second spell with Force India, has opted to remain with the Silverstone-based outfit through to the end of 2017.

According to Force India, Le Mans 24 Hours winner Hulkenberg staying on provides the team with "valuable stability in the years ahead".

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

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

"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."

Team principal Vijay Mallya feels the re-signing of Hulkenberg represents a major coup.

Mallya said: "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."

Of his 86 starts in F1, Hulkenberg has made 48 of those with Force India.

It is anticipated Force India will also announce Sergio Perez has been retained at some point in the near future in what will be an unchanged line-up for 2016.

THE REMAINING SILLY SEASON QUESTIONS

At present only three teams have confirmed driver line-ups for next season - Mercedes (Lewis Hamilton/Nico Rosberg), Ferrari (Sebastian Vettel/Kimi Raikkonen) and Sauber (Felipe Nasr/Marcus Ericsson).

Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Williams appear poised to remain unaltered, and while Lotus duo Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado have contracts for 2016, much depends on what happens once Renault take over.

At McLaren, Fernando Alonso is contracted, but the second seat is up for grabs for although there is an option on Jenson Button, the team may yet choose either of its reserves in Kevin Magnussen or GP2 points leader Stoffel Vandoorne.

Force India now has Hulkenberg tied up, with Perez expected to follow suit, leaving just Manor and Haas as the only two teams where both seats are available.

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