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Nico Hülkenberg has explained why he is switching from Force India to Sauber for the 2013 F1 season. Whereas his current outfit has been unable to make the podium so far this campaign, the Hinwil-based team has been on the rostrum four times.
Hülkenberg replaces Sergio Pérez, who switches to McLaren, and is likely to be joined by Sauber reserve driver Esteban Gutiérrez as Kamui Kobayashi is struggling to find sponsorship. Jaime Alguersuari is expected to slot into Force India with Paul di Resta.
“First of it, it wasn’t an easy decision,” Hülkenberg acknowledged as F1 arrived in Abu Dhabi. “But over the last couple of years, and especially this one, Sauber have made some good progress; they’ve been very strong for podiums and missed a win by a very narrow margin, so that is why. I wouldn’t have made the decision if I didn’t think it was right.”
Since losing its BMW ownership at the end of 2009, Sauber has made continual progress. In Malaysia, Pérez finished second to Fernando Alonso before following up with third and second place finishes in Canada and Italy. Kobayashi then picked up a maiden podium finish as he held off Jenson Button in his home Japanese Grand Prix.
Hülkenberg also admitted that he had been in contact with Ferrari as the Maranello team decided whether or not to keep hold of Felipe Massa.
“There were some talks and contact,” he said, electing not to comment further.
Hülkenberg’s F1 career began in 2010 as reigning GP2 Champion, collecting pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix with Williams. He became Force India reserve driver in 2011 before stepping up to a race seat and replacing Adrian Sutil for this season.
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