Nico Hulkenberg has decided to leave Force India in favor of joining Renault for the 2017 season by signing a 'multi-year' deal with the French manufacturer.
“It has always been my dream to work for a manufacturer team. F1's new regulations will change the game and give our team a good opportunity. In the years to come, Renault will play a challenger role, which fits my approach to racing 100-percent. I can't wait to become part of the family,” said Hulkenberg.
For the last five years, Hulkenberg worked with Force India and was supposed to stay until the end of the 2017. However, due to the switch, he will only continue to race under Force India until the final Grand Prix in 2016's Abu Dhabi season finale before joining Renault for the 2017 season.
“For the remaining races this year, I will give my best for Force India to reach fourth place in the constructors' championship. This would be a great achievement for the whole Force India team, the biggest success in its history and a great end to a fantastic time there,” said Hulkenberg.
Force India originally had an option to keep Hulkenberg until 2017 but said that they would not hinder him from joining a manufacturer team.
"Having spent five years with us, Nico has become a great friend and contributed a huge amount to the team’s success. He’s an outstanding driver, who has scored more points for this team than anybody else. While it’s true we will miss Nico, we respect his decision to explore fresh opportunities and it would be wrong to stand in his way,” said Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal and managing director.
With Hulkenberg's move, a position becomes vacant at Force India alongside Sergio Perez. At Renault, on the other hand, the likes of Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer are still debating for the position of Hulkenberg's new partner.