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GP Week : Issue 193
F1 >>> nEWs sauber driver Nico Hulkenberg’s future remains very much up in the air with the German still in talks with “a couple of teams” about securing a drive for next year, even as a deadline he has set Lotus regarding his prospects of driving for the team fast approaches. Hulkenberg has put in some impressive drives this season in a car that was uncompetitive for much of the early season, and Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has publicly identified the 26-year-old as the leading candidate to fill Ferrari-bound Kimi Raikkonen’s shoes. But the team – which struggled to pay Raikkonen’s wages, prompting the Finn to jump ship – is reluctant to commit to a driver until a long-delayed investment deal with a consortium of investors that will put the Enstone-based squad on a more solid financial footing is finalised. “There is still no news, still no decision in terms of my future,” Hulkenberg said in an interview to be published in next week’s issue of GPWEEK. “We’re still having contacts and negotiations with a couple of teams, so we’re still in a process of sorting it out and hoping to select the right one,” although he declined to name those teams. For his part, Hulkenberg – also reportedly in talks with Force India about a return to the Silverstone-based team – has told Lotus that he would like a clarification about his chances of getting the drive by the end of this month. “Everybody wants to have security rather sooner than later but sometimes you know things take a bit longer and don’t happen overnight and you’ve got to be patient,” Hulkenberg said. “That’s the game in Formula One. We’re talking obviously and there’s always updates and situations but I can’t really talk about too much detail there.” Boullier (right) said that the team had not yet come to a decision regarding next year’s driver line up but said he was confident he would get back to Hulkenberg by the end of the month. “End of the month? I still have a few days,” Boullier said in an interview to be published in the next issue of GPWEEK. “If we have the investment money in place and the long term plan in place maybe we go for Nico because we want to build the next generation of drivers.” THE LOTUS POSITION 8 GPWEEK.com // 8 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: