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Renault F1 team: Nico Hulkenberg is a leader and a motivator

Renault team principal Fred Vasseur has hailed Nico Hulkenberg's leadership and motivational skills as the primary reasons why he was signed by the Formula 1 team

Despite a year remaining on his deal with Force India, Hulkenberg was last week poached by Renault and agreed a multi-year contract.

Force India surprised by Hulkenberg's sudden exit

The move reunites Hulkenberg with Vasseur, the 29-year-old having won the 2008 Formula 3 Euro Series title and '09 GP2 crown with Vasseur's ART Grand Prix team.

Vasseur is convinced Hulkenberg can propel Renault forwards.

"Nico is one of the drivers that has really made his mark, with, in particular, a GP2 title in his first year in the series," he said.

"Only three drivers have done this so far - Nico, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.

"He has succeeded in everything in his career to date, including Le Mans.

AUTOSPORT PODCAST: How Hulkenberg has shaken up driver market

"He is also a real leader and able to motivate a team and take the troops with him.

"He has a lot of experience and is very fast; that is very important for us in this stage of our development.

"From a technical perspective, an experienced and conscientious driver can give precious feedback, as well as knowing exactly what they want from the car.

"This allows the team to work fast and efficiently. We are really happy to have him with us."

EDD STRAW: Renault is Hulkenberg's last chance

Managing director Cyril Abiteboul believes Hulkenberg's arrival comes at the right time in the team's plans as it looks to build on a tough first year back in F1 as a constructor.

"He's experienced, yet still hungry for success and should complement our plans perfectly," Abiteboul said.

"Certainly we're looking forward to working with him in 2017 and beyond. It's an exciting time for the team all round."

VASSEUR AND HULKENBERG FIRST TIME AROUND

Most of the pre-F1 successes that marked Hulkenberg out as a rising star of the late-2000s came under Vasseur's wing at the ASM/ART Grand Prix team.

Hulkenberg had already won the 2005 German Formula BMW title and was leading Team Germany towards a dominant championship in the second season of A1GP when he joined Romain Grosjean, Kamui Kobayashi and Tom Dillmann in the ASM Formula 3 Euro Series line-up for '07.

In his second season of F3 after a 2006 German national campaign, Hulkenberg couldn't infiltrate Grosjean and Mucke driver Sebastien Buemi's battle for the title but ended the year third in the championship and with four wins and a Masters victory under his belt.

There was no stopping him in 2008, when Hulkenberg claimed a dominant championship title ahead of Edoardo Mortara and Jules Bianchi - the German's rookie team-mate at what was now ART.

Graduating to the team's GP2 line-up for 2009, Hulkenberg took control of the series once he had found his feet - heading the championship even before pre-season favourite Grosjean left mid-season to replace Nelson Piquet Jr in the Renault F1 team.

After that, Hulkenberg cruised clear of Vitaly Petrov and Lucas di Grassi to become the only man other than Hamilton to win GP2 as a rookie so far (if Rosberg's title in the inaugural season is discounted on the grounds that the full field were technically rookies in the brand new series).

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