Renault signs Nico Hulkenberg on multi-year deal


Renault has confirmed it has signed Nico Hulkenberg on a multi-year deal starting in 2017.

Speculation over Renault's driver line-up has been rumbling on for months, but on Friday the French manufacturer confirmed Hulkenberg would be one of its two drivers for 2017. The announcement came after Force India agreed to release Hulkenberg from his current contract following the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

"I'm very happy to join Renault Sport Formula One Team in 2017," Hulkenberg said. "Renault has always been a big player in the motorsport world that brings up incredible memories: in his stint with Renault, Michael Schumacher not only helped make Germany an F1 nation, he also sparked my enthusiasm and fire for racing. As a part of the Renault family, I want to develop the car and write new success stories.

"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%. I can't wait to become part of the family.

"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. "I am grateful that Force India has given me the chance to take up this new opportunity."

Renault is in the process of rebuilding its Enstone base after buying the Lotus team over the winter. The French manufacturer has outlined a five-year plan for returning to the top and Renault Sport chairman Jérôme Stoll expects Hulkenberg to play a big part in that.

"2017 will be the second season of Groupe Renault's return as a manufacturer entry in Formula 1 and the next step in our journey. This season has been about putting the foundations in place for future success. For our next step we required an experienced driver who is still hungry for podiums.

"Nico Hülkenberg fulfils this role perfectly and is an excellent complement to what we want to achieve. He is a highly talented, dedicated and motivated driver. Nico will enable us to harness all the hard work completed this season and translate it to improved results on track in 2017 and beyond. We look forward to seeing him in our new car for 2017."

The identity of Hulkenberg's teammate for 2017 remains unconfirmed, with Manor's Esteban Ocon linked to the role as well as current Renault drivers Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer.