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Hulkenberg leaves Force India, to race for Renault in 2017

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

German driver will race for Renault next Formula 1 season after spending five years at Force

Force have agreed to release Hulkenberg from the contract with team boss Vijay Mallya today confirming Hulkenberg's departure.

Later in the day, Renault said Hulkenberg joins the team as part of a multi-year deal.

Mallya wished the German well for the future while Renault Sport Racing chairman Jerome Stroll welcomed him to the factory 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 Mallya in a statement.

The Enstone-based outfit might have fared below expectations with just eight points to show this year but Hulkenberg has made his decision believing in the long-term ability of the team.

"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%," said Hulkenberg.

He also thanked Force for releasing him.

"For the remaining races this year, I will give my best for Force to reach fourth place in the constructors' championship. This would be a great achievement for the whole Force team, the biggest success in its history and a great end to a fantastic time there.

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

Despite being highly rated and scoring bagful points for Force India, the 29-year-old was unable to stand on the podium whereas his teammate of last three years, Sergio Perez, stood on it four times.

He joined Force as a reserve in 2011 before securing a race seat the following year. In 2013, he moved to Sauber only to return to Force for the next three seasons.

Hulkenberg is currently ninth in the driver standings with 54 points, behind teammate Perez, who is lying in eighth spot with 80 points including a couple of podiums.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, October 14 2016. 17:57 IST