Hulkenberg joins Renault

After a mixed second spell at Force India, Nico Hulkenberg joins Renault for 2017.

Hulkenberg joins Renault
Nico Hulkenberg leaves Force India. | Photo: Getty Images

Nico Hulkenberg has revealed that he will be a Renault driver for next season, after completing an initial two-year deal yesterday.

Hulkenberg's contract allows him an optional third year at the French team, who are expected to be much more competitive in comparison to their unconvincing first year back as a factory team.

Thus, the move ends the 29-year-old's three year second spell with Vijay Mallya's Force India outfit, despite talks of a contract extension earlier in the season.

Renault are confident of improvement. | Photo: Getty Images
Renault are confident of improvement. | Photo: Getty Images

In a statement delivered to the press this morning, Force India announced the deal: "Everybody at Sahara Force India wishes Nico well as he embarks upon a different path in Formula 1."

The German driver confirmed his departure in his own, quirky way via Twitter.

Without a Grand Prix win or podium in 111 starts, in a career that has spanned over seven seasons (one as a test driver), the move may be the 2009 GP2 champion's last chance of competitive machinery, with the affluent French side eager to succeed, regardless of financial cost.

Speculation as to who will be Hulkenberg's team mate next year is rife, with names such as Valtteri Bottas, Carlos Sainz, Esteban Ocon and Sergey Sirotkin all being bandied around. Whilst Williams have first option on keeping Bottas, and Sainz seemingly anchored to Toro Rosso, despite voicing his discomfort about his fading Red Bull chances, former Renault test driver Ocon looks to be the most likely choice.

Could Sainz join Hulkenberg at Renault? | Photo: Getty Images
Could Sainz join Hulkenberg at Renault? | Photo: Getty Images

Two driver changes would mean that both current drivers Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen would be searching for a seat over the next few months.

Force India meanwhile are also on the search to fill the vacant seat next to Sergio Perez, who has been confirmed for 2017. Magnussen may be an option, but Mercedes junior driver Pascal Wehrlein looks to be the main candidate.