Formula 1: Sauber sign Nico Hulkenberg for 2013 season


Sauber have named German Nico Hulkenberg as one of their two drivers for the next Formula 1 season. The 25-year-old driver, who made his debut in 2010, currently competes for Force India and is 12th in the championship with 49 points. "We've been observing Nico for some time now and his performances have been very persuasive," said new Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn. Hulkenberg added: "It's a well-placed team and very competitive."

The favourite for the second seat at Sauber in 2013 is their Mexican reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez, who has been given a run in first practice at the Indian Grand Prix last weekend. The team have Mexican sponsors, who were brought in by Sergio Perez last season, and since Perez is moving to McLaren for 2013 the sponsors will probably stay if Gutierrez is given the second seat. However, Japan's Kamui Kobayashi still has hopes of retaining his drive and is looking for sponsorship in attempt to boost his chances.

Another potential candidate is former Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari, who is recommended by his strong season in 2011. Alguersuari is also a candidate to replace Hulkenberg at Force India,and he would be valuable to the team since he would bring with him knowledge of next year's Pirelli tyres as he has been the tyre company's official test driver this season. But the leading candidate to replace Hulkenberg at Force India is German Adrian Sutil, who raced for the team for six years but was dropped at the end of 2011. Sutil had a setback last February as he was convicted of assault over an incident in a Shanghai nightclub following last year's Chinese Grand Prix. But team owner and principal Vijay Mallya said that Sutil could well make a return in 2013. Alguersuari's former team-mate Sebastien Buemi is also a candidate at Force India.

Mallya wished Hulkenberg well and labelled him as a "star of the future". "Together with Paul Di Resta he has done a brilliant job for us, helping the team score more points than ever before and giving 100% commitment every weekend," said Mallya. "It has been a pleasure to have Nico with us for the last couple of years and we would like to thank him for all his hard work and wish him well for the future."

The next Formula 1 race is the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend, here are the outright odds for the race from Bet365:

Sebastian Vettel - 10/13
Fernando Alonso - 5/1
Mark Webber - 5/1
Lewis Hamilton - 6/1
Jenson Button - 12/1

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