Force India confirms Hulkenberg

Sahara Force India has confirmed that Nico Hulkenberg will return to the team in 2014 after agreeing a multi-year deal. One presumes that Hulkenberg had a deal that pays him a part of his salary in advance because his previous stay with the team (in 2012) resulted in a rather lengthy payment process that went on long after he departed the team.

Force India has yet to announce his team-mate. Hulkenberg was holding out for a deal to join Lotus but that could only have happened if the Quantum investment in the team went ahead. Although talks about the deal are apparently ongoing it seems that Hulkenberg has given up waiting and decided that a return to Force India is his best option. It means that once again Hulkenberg is being kept out of the top teams because he does not have the funding to compete for a drive.

Force India may have finished sixth in the Constructors’ Championship but it buys in much of its technology from McLaren and needs to invest considerably if it is to move up to the next level in F1 in the future. Other teams, which have invested in their own infrastructure, should in theory be able to move ahead in the longer term, if they can maintain the running budgets that are required.

The announcement suggests that contrary to rumours the second Force India seat is not yet settled. Adrian Sutil and Sergio Perez are believed to be the two names in the frame, but other driver are known to have talked to the team. One presumes that this will depend on funding, although the team will probably deny this.

What is interesting is that in the last few weeks there has been a significant change in the shareholding structure of Orange India Holdings SARL, the Luxembourg-based parent company of the Force India F1 team. The shares in the holding company were owned by four companies linked to owners Roy Sahara, Vijay Mallya and Michiel Mol. Company filings in the UK indicated that Mallya and Sahara each owned 42.85 percent of the business, leaving the remaining 14.3 percent of the shares with Mol.

These shareholdings have now been altered as Orange India Holdings has agreed to issue an additional 966,636 shares to Sahara, which logically means that his shareholding rises from 42.85 percent to 52.38 percent, while the other two shareholder’s positioned are watered down: Mallya’s reducing to 35.7 percent percent and Mol’s goes down to just over 10 percent. This change appears to have been in exchange for a payment of around $33 million. This also suggests that on paper the team is valued at $353 million, which seems a rather high number. The details available are rather complicated and it is not clear whether the votes all have the save voting value, but they appear to.

For Roy Sahara, F1 is a small business, but his main empire is somewhat uncertain at the moment because the Supreme Court of India has barred him from leaving India and forbidden the Sahara group from selling any of it properties until it complies with an October 28 court order to hand over property title documents to the value of $3.2 billion to the Securities and Exchange Board of India as collateral for money that the group has to refund to its investors. One can only presume that the money that Sahara supplies to the team comes from companies that are not affected by the court order.

Whatever is going on in the background, one has to say that the small team from Silverstone has done a great job this year.

97 thoughts on “Force India confirms Hulkenberg

  1. Toss up between Sutil and Perez for second seat. I’m thinking Perez’s Mexican money may put him in pole position?

    1. Every contract does. The question is what options are available to the driver if the team meets or exceeds its performance clauses of the contract.

  2. I am really wondering where Paul DiResta is going to go. I have read about Indycar… What a shame that such a good driver is not staying. When I read last year that McLaren hired Perez, I was wondering why not DiResta was hired… Probably the money, and now, DiResta and Perez both may not have a drive…

    1. People always go on about Paul Di Resta but in the years he’s been in F1 I have never seen him do anything special that suggests he’s a stand out talent.

      He’s good yes but certainly not great and I don’t think he’s any better then even someone like Maldonado or some other midfield runners.

      He had his chance he wasn’t quite good enough and there’s no shame in that but if he wasn’t British no one would even be mentioning him.

      1. Sadly (or accurately depending on your view point) Di Resta has never come across very well and he seems like a complaining, moaning, fairly dull individual. I’m sure that’s not entirely fair and maybe he’s just bad on camera but I think you have to be fairly exceptional a driver to overcome the personality deficit (or come with titanic sponsorship). His years in F1 have been very much like Perez at McLaren, nothing special. Perez however had his Sauber period when he was using the easy on it’s tyres car to grab some headline podiums and points. Di Resta hasn’t really shown that spark. Maybe that’s just bad luck but there’s a lot of luck and short memories at work in F1…

        1. Could you imagine if Redbull had picked up PDR? The team and the driver would have been whining all day long about everything. The “emo” team..

        2. Joe said in another thread that he is regarded around the paddock as a grumpy grumbling Scotsman, a bit like Kimi but Kimi can get away with it because he has that extra half second he can bring to a team, Di Resta does not.

      2. Just as a note, I am French, but living in the USA… Jules Bianchi also should be at a better position, but that may come a little later or even maybe never, who knows ?

      3. have to agree with you 100% on this. every time he has been interviewed he seemed to be blaming the team and put his hand up when to take credit when he does well a la qualy in belgium. only recently has he seemed to eat humble pie and admit his mistakes. rightly or wrongly, this is the impression i get from the tv coverage and i am sure i am not the only one who feels that this is the perception of him.

      4. Well, di Resta has beaten his team-mate handily (48 pts to 29) this year and that is one of the few objective ways to measure a driver. Yet somehow Sutil seems likely to still have a seat next year.

        1. I have explained before in the comments what the problem is. Paul is not very good at communicating with teams and his results, while pretty good are not good enough to overcome the inability to create team spirit, motivation etc etc. And he does not have money behind him.

        2. Well done for stating the obvious.
          Just because he does not present well on TV does not mean he is not good enough, a few times his team let him down with wrong calls for pits and tyres is thats Pauls fault, and to motivate a team and all around them, come on what tosh.
          As a recent interview stated if you want corporate branding and white shiny teeth give Daniel a call.
          Paul got in because of talent and not because of money from rich backers. I wish I had a rich dad who would pay for me to drive in F1 so I could drive around at the back of grid all year.
          Or a lovely splash of petro dollars from a 3rd world country.
          Paul has pulled of some lovely drives this season with a car that is mid field, we can all speculate what might have been if the Tyres had not been changed mid season.
          As I have said before, money needs to be invested in the sport. How many other top sports do you need to take your own money to compete. I for one being biased hope that Paul is in F1 next year.

          1. Sorry to rain on your parade, but other teams that don’t need money could have taken him and did not. Hulkenberg is not taking money to Force India. I’m pretty sure too that your fellow countryman got the seat because of a deal over Merc engines.

            1. indeed – forgot to mention in my post below, merc engines (when a mclaren partner) got him to force in the first place (mallya even risked a crb hearing for that), but once he lost flavour of the month status, other things took precedence.

              if merc were still his solid backers, he would still be in f1. as a defacto face of mercedes, the importance of all that pr-stuff cannot be overstated. add to that that there is a signed-up german presence in place to save face, and mclaren too has other priorities to top it all off. one can feel a perez deal plus perhaps even a reserve/ third driver for the other young mclaren stud whilst he learns the ropes in GP2 (cant recall his name, finn though right? mclaren always got to have a finn lol).

              then in 2015 honda engines to go with the mclaren tech and then we have the mclaren honda junior team.

              note – love joe’s site and its outlet for amateur crystal-ball gazing and speculation!!!

        3. agree he has outperformed his teammate, however it is the singular moments that define public perception. too many of them and that is all that one recalls.

          of course, would expect scouts to be relatively immune to this, but i am sure it still matters to team principals. whilst i remember the excuses fronted by diresta, when i think of sutil i think of course of the champagne glass, but also his nonchalant taking of eau rouge this year one-handed.

          shallow i know, but that is the f1 fan, and sponsors are ultimately fans, and most team principals have to consider the perception in addition to data and results.

          shame to see him go as i had huge respect for a guy that could come from tin-tops to f1 and do so well against sutil, in his debut year, and keep up with a fired-up hulk the next. I resented him at first since he displaced a contracted liuzzi, but he immediately grabbed his chance by the scruff of the neck, as f1 drivers should. he is clearly up to it and can handle the track. however he has had his chances, and although deserves to be in f1 due to his range of experiences, no money = no drivey.

    2. Joe – I would love to see a blog post from yourself about why Di Resta is not favoured by the Tier-1 team principals? His name is never mentioned in the context of those seats.

  3. Damn shame for Nico. Isn’t he still owed money by Force India from his last stint with them? And Sauber?

    The state of F1 teams at the moment is shocking.

  4. Better than no drive, I guess…

    McLaren should dump Button, and sign Hulkenberg for a song. He needs a shot I with a top team.

    1. Dumping your better points scorer with a proven record like Button is not sensible. I know some people have this irrational hatred of JB, but teams generally look at points and podiums and (if they have the luxury) personality. Ditching JB when he’s now your principal points scorer is just ignoring a reality. Hulkenberg MAY be the next great talent but it’s still an unknown until he gets in the car and puts a season together. Why would McLaren ditch a world champion and their lead driver for a punt on Hulk? I think they are realising now they should have gone for him instead of Perez. Hulk and Button would still have struggled in this 2013 dog of a car, but I think he would have had a chance to show he should be kept on for 2014.

      1. It’s not an irrational hatred of JB it’s quite reasonable. I’m a big JB fan and I think he’s a great guy but he’s not in the top tier of drivers. On his day he can be super fast but unfortunately those days don’t come round often enough. He really did luck into his championship win with the rocketship Brawn that was so much faster then everything else for the first half of the season. He was in the right place at the right time and maximised what he had and fair play to him but he’s not a great. He never seems to out perform a car and put it somewhere it really shouldn’t be.

        Hulkenberg has done it a few times now. In the Williams he took a pole position, in Force India he was challenging for the race win until he crashed into Hamilton and who knows how it would have finished but the two of them would most likely have been 1-2 and he has also now done it in the Sauber. I don’t know what more he can do in a midfield car to show that he deserves a shot at the big time.

        Like I said I like JB but I really want to see the best drivers in the best cars racing hard this is meant to be a sport not a popularity contest or biggest wallet competition.

        1. Like I said we agree it’s a sport. If McLaren rely on data they will see JB has scored the most points for them. It’s a simple equation – you don’t tend to fire your best scoring driver unless he’s giving very poor feedback or loses sponsorship or demands too much pay etc. As we both say Hulkenberg is ‘likely’ a great talent but he hasn’t won in a poor car (as JB has) and his pole was equally about timing and luck as JB’s Brawn season. The difference is JB is a known quantity. McLaren will have some access to Hulkenbergs previous data via force India and believe it or not the teams are not sentimental – if they thought Hulk was a guaranteed win situation to replace JB they would have done it. However it’s just irrational. The only driver currently who McL would ditch JB for is Alonso (or a miracle return for Lewis). According to their data JB is not in the top 3 driver tier which is currently Lewis, Alonso and Vettel but he’s top of the next tier and outperforms even the top tier on occasion in mixed conditions especially. They have his data against Lewis. They know where he’s weaker. Hulkenberg deserves a chance but this nonsense about ditching JB for Hulk is neither scientific or rational. It’s just another personality contest set by fans who’ve decided Hulk will blossom into a race winner who can build a season. I think he can but he should have gotten Lewis’ seat instead of Perez and then we’d know.

        2. Ah but that’s exactly what it is and always has been, a biggest wallet competition! The fun and incentive is to beat the teams with the bigger wallet!

    1. Yes I heard a rumour like that too. Surely Hulkenberg would destroy Giedo in the unlikely case they become team mates next year.

  5. Being kept out of *one* of the ‘top teams’ because he doesn’t have money.

    Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes have all replaced drivers in the last two years – four times altogether – and Hulk didn’t get any of those drives. Money presumably wasn’t a factor.

    1. that is a tad harsh kc – ferrari: wdc kimi for massa; merc: wdc lewis for schuey; and perez for lewis.

      so given that these teams go for the best available drivers at the time, mclaren were left with little choice. talent over proven ability, and perez was certainly impressing the paddock at the time so could have arguably be seen to be an each-way bet with the hulk. only that perez brought money and south american business connections as well. it was then a pure mathematical decision for mclaren imo.

      in hindsight it looks like they messed up by passing on the hulk, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. their only snafu at the time was not snapping up kimi (assuming he was available).

  6. You’d have thought a driver who beat Vettel in GP2 would get his pick of F1 seats unless of course it’s felt it’s the car making the champion for RB. I predict Paul will end up in America where he will do very well and more importantly enjoy life.

    1. Or Paul will end up like his cousin and countless others with a broken back, concussions and flight time due to inept series management that specs out crappy and potentially unsafe cars which also look like steaming piles…

    2. Vettel never raced GP2 so its a bit tricky for Hulkenberg to beat him.
      Lets just hope that Mercedes power train is up to speed next year and we can hope for an interesting season

      1. Sorry, I meant F3, Vettel also raced in Renault 3.5 where Maldonado beat him although Pastor was then disqualified on a technicality.

      1. Vettel and Hulkenberg did a lot of Karting races together
        Here one link from 2000 in Kerpen Germany

        At the end of the video the ceremony.
        Hulkenberg was 2nd and the winner was Vettel

          1. Joe,
            Was just a response to Leigh O Gorman post that Vettel and Huelkenberg never raced against prior F1 what is clearly wrong.
            No career assessment of 11 year old,only mentioned it because video is in
            German and some reading your blog might not understand it or even recognize the drivers.But podium steps should be clear.
            BOTH Vettel and Huelkenberg are GREAT drivers

    3. …unless you’re referring to di Resta, but that was in Formula 3 and – to be honest – most of a decade ago.

  7. I am glad the Sahara is buying more shares in FI. Sahara recently pulled out of IPL and was talking about investing the money(around 40 million per year) in other diciplines. Add to that the multi million sponsorship Sahara was giving to the Indian Cricket team every year, we are indeed looking at quite a large sum. Hopefully, F1 might just be one of these.
    There may be a number of arguments against Sahara and Subathra Roy, but the general population of India considers him as a loyal citizen and he hasn’t failed them yet.
    Force india’s financial situation looks fairly good, atleast for the next few years.

      1. I reached that conclusion because Sahara has a reputation of promoting their brand via sporting events that have an international fanbase. Cricket used to be the major one. But now, since they pulled out of cricket, Sahara will be looking elsewhere. Increasing his stakes in FI helps to presume that F1 would be the targeted sporting event.
        As for the argument that Sahara would have to shut doors if they have to pay money to “SEBI”, it is not that simple or easy to topple Sahara. Simply put, a multi-billion dollar company is not run by a group of monkeys with pens.

        With Sahara’s support, FI probably has the most secure financial situation after the top 5 teams.

        Should have been an obvious conclusion.

          1. Sahara does business in finance, infrastructure & housing, media & entertainment, consumer merchandise retail venture, manufacturing and information technology.
            The money comes from there.. Of if one wants to dwell deeper, it could be said that the money comes from the mint where it is printed and call it a day..

            1. Really? So as an expert in these matters, could you explain the problems he is having with the financial regulators and Supreme Court of India, because your views do not seem to tie up with all the reporting that has been going on.

  8. Joe, why do you think teams like McLaren and Ferrari, and even Red Bull, have passed on Hulkenberg? Is he not as good a driver as we seem to think, based on his results? Is he difficult to deal with? Does he have a bad manager? These teams don’t hire drivers with budgets, so the fact that they don’t want him is puzzling to me. From a spectator point of view, he seems better than Ricciardo at least, and Magnussen could benefit from a year at another team before joining McLaren – just because Marussia (presumably) reneged on their word doesn’t mean Magnussen couldn’t spend a year at Force India (who have ties with McLaren) or even Caterham (who need a talented driver who can get at least one 12th or 13th finish through the year). I know Whitmarsh said he would have kept Perez if it wasn’t for the fear of losing Magnussen, but who honestly thinks Perez is better than Hulkenberg?
    It all seems puzzling to me. Like in the old days in the mid/late 70s when Jean Pierre Jarier was a super fast driver, but the top teams didn’t want him…

    1. hi chris – there has been a fair bit of discussion on this to date in this blog. from what i gather, ferrari had a piece of paper with the hulk’s name on the letterhead and at the bottom next to stefano’s or luca’s for signage, however it remained unsigned due to the kimi machinations. so ferrari wanted him, but went instead with their last wdc. tough one, but he was almost across the line and not unwanted.

      macca – well, they took perez i guess for economic reasons given at the time perez showed similar promise to the hulk, with the added bonus of having the slim family and Mexico behind him, in a year prior to their major sponsor pulling out.

      red bull – well, apart from horner’s ambitions to sign kimi, the marko-led young driver program required a timely validation as to its relevance, so marko won out the day, and kudos to ricciardo for eking out jev. do not think they were ever seriously considering hulk, just their development drivers and proven winners, if not world champs, were in contention for that seat

      no idea who hulks manager is, good question! but a good manager can only do so much! my impression is that it is their job to get their driver on the shortlist, and then if confirmed, negotiate the terms (which must be amongst the more complex contracts in all of modern sport). no influence as to the actual decision.

      also – i thought it was force india that reneged on whitmarsh? interesting, are you sure it was marussia? in my mind it makes sense that it was force india team boss, presumably overruled by major shareholders justifying the about-face. if perez gets a seat it would confirm my view. interesting if it was marussia. makes me wonder who will appear next to bianchi next year.

  9. I still don’t understand McLaren picking Perez over Hulk. Or Ferrari signing Kimi over Hulk, as excellent as Kimi is. Hulk will get a top drive eventually, but he’s starting to feel like Justin Wilson in Indycar- a top driver who never sniffs the best drives. OTOH, the weight requirements might really be a hindrance, the minute difference that keeps him midfield for his career.

    1. Whitmarsh has said that Jensons height and weight does impact on their development costs due to packaging and it’s going to be even tougher in 2014 and so I think they must have taken some account of Hulks size sadly. I don’t know if that was the main concern or just a tipping factor but even Newey is now calling for the weight limit to be increased next year or it will penalize the heavier drivers specifically mentioning JB and Hulk.

      1. Yes, I got the impression that the only reason Hulk didn’t get the drive this year was his height. Apparently it’s pretty marginal as it is with JB, and Hulkenberg’s 2cm taller again (1m84 v. 1m82). Compare Vettel (1m76), Hamilton (1m74) and Alonso (1m71).

  10. Joe,
    Thanks for the insight about Force India’s infrastructure and where their technology comes from. It really helps to understand the considerations that drivers, Hulkenberg in this case, have to account for if they are in a position to choose their seat.

    Sauber, I presume, has better infrastructure and seems to have a history of innovative design that should be something they could build on. The team’s financial status and guesses about which engine was going to be the strongest next year must have helped sway Hulkenberg in Force India’s direction.

    It would be interesting to hear if the multi-year deal was Hulkenberg or Force India’s idea.

  11. Glad that Hulkenberg is still in the field – it would have been a travesty if he’d had to sit out another year. I hope Perez gets the nod alongside him – all in all, a pretty good driver line-up, I’d say. It’s a pity for di Resta, but he’s had a good innings and while I’m not sure he deserves to be dropped, he also hasn’t made himself indispensable in the way Hulkenberg has. Perhaps at the top of motorsport these things shouldn’t matter, but I can’t help thinking his dour image and slightly moany personality hasn’t won him many supporters. If old Dario can put in a good word, perhaps he’ll move onto something good in the USA. The same applies to Sutil – good solid driver, but who has probably achieved all he ever will in F1.

  12. There’s always discussion about how some drivers have sponsorship and backing while others (like Hulkenberg) do not.

    This may be a dumb question – it wouldn’t be my first – but why don’t drivers “who don’t have sponsorship or backing” go out and find some?

    I know some drivers are special cases – e.g. Maldonado, who’s being sponsored by government money, but others have some corporate sponsorship.

    Couldn’t Hulkenberg find some sponsorship, especially German sponsorship – it’s not like there’s any shortage of wealthy companies in Germany.

    I know it’s a complicated question but one I haven’t seen explored in much detail – why some drivers attract money and others do no.

    1. Having helped a friend look for sponsorships in a national championship series (far from F1!), I can perhaps comment on my experience. Getting money from companies in the current environment is very difficult. You need to have a very clear cost/benefit proposal for senior management of the target sponsor. You are effectively competing with every other form of advertising (eg google adwords, tv, radio, print, etc) for the same pot of money. The sponsorship of motorsport frequently has the perception of being an extravagance (especially the associated corporate entertainment needed to leverage a sponsorship) or anti-sustainability (which is the new corporate C-suite buzzword). Notwithstanding the viewership of F1 (if you believe Karen’s numbers), there are “safer” choices for management to make in terms of where they spend their marketing budget.

      1. Your last sentence, Adrian – hits the spot accurately, I think.

        We could also add the alleged shady reputation of people at the top of the F1 tree.


      2. Thank you for your informative comments. However, it still begs the question.

        Economic challenges make it difficult to garner sponsorship if you’re a driver. However, some nevertheless obtain sponsorship, while others seem unable to do so.

        Someone like Adrian Sutil seems to have some sponsorship from Medion and Capri-Sun. Sutil is a mid-field driver – good, experienced but most people would agree nothing special beyond, say, the DiRestas, of the grid. Yet one driver has sponsorship and other one not.

        What is that attributable to? “Legacy sponsorship” for Sutil – where he was able to find sponsorship in better economic times that’s carried over to today? All this in spite of an incident that resulted in very bad publicity and his losing his seat for a year?

        Blaming a poor economic climate is a bit like blaming a bad race or qualifying on bad weather conditions. Drivers/teams know they can’t excuse a bad result because “it’s the same for everyone.” Isn’t blaming “poor economic conditions” the same thing?

  13. re. the valuation at 350$m i agree that would be too high. It comes only from linearly extrapolating the share change of 9.5% with price of 33m$.
    the important part of the deal however is, that Sahara has gained the control of the company by increase share over 50%.
    The control itself has a value, which is obviously difficult to judge, but just for example, if Sahara did value the control at let’s say 14m$, that would bring down the valuation estimate to around 200m$.

    1. The control premium is a valid point.

      Aside from that, this could have been a debt for equity swap at the end of the season if Sahara had been funding the short term cash shortfall. Or it could be a way of increasing the perceived value of the asset (much like CVC has done with F1) where the principals balance sheets are in trouble.

  14. One has to believe that Dario is really putting the pressure on Ganassi to hire cousin Paul. The fact that Dario says he wants to be involved with the Target Ganassi team next year somehow indicates to me that he would love to coach and mentor Paul in his first year in Indycar……very valuable given Dario’s prowess on the ovals.

  15. Err…….have I been asleep for the past few days ? As far as I’m aware Pastor Maldanardo was signed up 3 days ago ………………. Or was that just a nasty dream ?

  16. A curious statement: “Hulkenberg is being kept out of the top teams because he does not have the funding to compete for a drive”. So, which of the “top” teams require funding? McLaren? Perez had “backing”, but would Macca reject a driver over pay? MB doesn’t require “funding”, nor does Ferrari. That leaves Lotus and, on a good day, Sauber or Williams. The Hulk couldn’t wait for Lotus, and Williams had already once shown Hulk the door. So I’m wondering, which “top” teams require “funding”?

      1. If the Quantum deal finally fizzles, are there any other white knights conveniently positioned to gallop over the horizon and rescue the Enstone team?

        Like many others I always sort of assumed that Renault would reinvest when memories of the Flavian dynasty had been eroded by the effluxion of time — or perhaps there’s something in the Caterham-Enstone merger talk? but if anything’s going to happen it needs to happen quickly. The days when a successful racing team can be built from a telephone box and a resourceful spouse with an uncanny knack for juggling creditors are long gone…

        1. Funny when you look at history properly you don’t see Renault FULLY pulling out of Lotus after the Flavio affair much more like paid Lopez comes in to take over for a while – – Personally, I think, It’s only a matter of time before Renault come back as Carlos Ghosn has his flagstaff Company Logo (Nissan) all over RBR for brand awareness, (and if they leave) and Renault have terrible publicity, but Carlos is a great believer in selling more of the little cars than the flash ones and therefore ……….. Winning to him is the years balance book therefore F1 is not really important but if you are in the game you are not loosing.
          – F1 has some shrinking to do very soon, perhaps not in numbers of teams but budgets, personell , expenditure, (some better aero restrictions would help this pointless outpouring of money)
          – So it’s a possible …. that Renault return – but when ???

  17. “It means that once again Hulkenberg is being kept out of the top teams because he does not have the funding to compete for a drive.”

    Top Teams:
    Red Bull – Vettel / Ricciardo (Both not pay drivers)
    Mercedes – Hamilton / Rosberg (Both not pay drivers)
    Ferrari – Alonso / Raikkonen (Both not pay drivers)
    Lotus – Grosjean / Maldonado (RG brings some cash, PM brings more cash. BUT both are GP2 champs, RG kept Iceman honest and PM won a GP)
    McLaren – Button / Magnussen (Both not pay drivers)

    Ultimately, the above statement is not quite true. Only Lotus can be accused, of all top teams, to have chosen money over talent. But even in that event, only Maldonado would be considered a genuinely lesser prospect than Hulkenberg. And also, Maldonado is not a driver in the Diniz sense of the word as he has won GP2 series and won in F1 also. He has the capacity for speed and results.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d much prefer the Hulk have a lotus seat. But I am just pointing out that the above quote is not really an accurate description of Hulkenberg not getting a top drive. He’s only out priced by one person in 10 top seats. If anything, Raikkonen was the biggest damaging move to Hulkenberg moving up to the ‘top teams’.

      1. That’s true Joe and I just acquiesced that very point in relation to Maldonado already. My point was simply that the statement of Hulk being kept out of top teams due to funding is in the main inaccurate or at best overstating and oversimplifying it. As I show above, he only has a ‘talent over money claim’ to 1 of 10 top seats. 90% of the other top seats he was not outpriced or had lack of funding being the issue. That’s hardly substantial enough to say funding is why he’s not in the top teams. For 90% of the seats, he was simply not good enough compared to the options that took those other 9 seats. For 10%, it’s funding. Therefore the reason Hulk isn’t in a top drive is because he is not a better prospect (short or long term) than 9 of 10 other top drivers on the grid.

        1. I’d say in Ferrari and Mercedes he lost out to ‘known quantities’ – while everyone thinks he’s a great talent and could be superstar he’s not proven it yet (a vicious circle as if he doesn’t get a great car he probably never will!) so those went for proven winners in their seats. RBR is an anomaly case as there is a political struggle over their young drivers programme which has been jammed up by Webber keeping his cards close to his chest until this year. Only McLaren seemed to have the option to sign Hulk reasonably as a replacement for Lewis – was Perez chosen for his age (to develop over several years?) his possible sponsorship links? Or just through more starry headline catching moments in 2012? Or was Hulk rejected as he was deemed too tall and heavy for the future of F1 at the time?

          I think McLaren probably regret it now but they have their rookie now. I just hope Hulk gets a shot before he peaks, or he might forever be the great never quite made it.


        2. ScudMac – I think you need to rework your analysis taking into consideration the number of drives available – i.e. many of those seats in your table are filled with drivers who have a contract for next year and maybe longer. I think you need to look at the available seats only as the others are irrelevant to your argument – difficult to make a case why someone didn’t get a seat that wasn’t actually available …

          1. Good point. I’ll take that on board.

            Having a quick think about the top seats that were available for Hulk throughout the year for a 2014 drive,

            Red Bull – 1 seat
            Mercedes – 0 seats
            Ferrari – 1 seat
            McLaren – 2 seats
            Lotus – 2 seats

            It’s essentially a similar outcome. Out of 6 top seats, he was out funded only by Maldonado (1seat). The vast majority simply didn’t see him as a better prospect, short or long term, than their ultimate choices whom are hardly pay drivers.

            Looks a bit better, but the statement I picked up on remains inaccurate and blaming only 1 driver with money when the issue is he’s not attractive enough compared to other talent. Incidentally, that pay driver has a GP win, a GP2 title and great performances at places like Monaco in various categories. He isn’t exactly I talented.

            Let’s call a spade a spade. The reason Hulk is not a top team driver is not due to being out spent.

            1. Meant to say, “he isn’t exactly untalented”.

              Yes he’s (Crashdonato) money backed big time, but he’s not a totally useless driver on money alone. I agree money has helped him get seats above his talent grade maybe… But Hulk has little to complain about. It’ll be interesting to see how Maldonado goes with a lotus that is well balanced.

              Disclaimer: I disdain Maldonado. I prefer Hulk. But money is not Hulk ultimate issue making the jump.

        3. You yourself are oversimplifying the issue while accusing Joe of doing so.

          Merc- He lost out to a former WDC.
          Ferrari- Same as Merc
          Mclaren- Bad decision by Mclaren in hindsight. But it was touch and go at the time.
          RB- Can’t compare to the others. Kimi himself lost out on that seat. Would you say Kimi is unwanted?

          So really, just 1 potential seat which he lost out on which Mclaren have accepted and promoted a younger driver with an eye on the future.

  18. Joe,

    going off on a mild tangent, do you know if anything ever came of Sauber’s Russian ties? Clearly, there hasn’t been enough money coming in for Mr Sirotkin to be confirmed for 2014 (yet?), but is there any?

  19. Ji Joe,
    For the sake of argument lets say you a team principle of one of the top 4 teams in F1. What is that you look beyond talent?
    I am trying to know your perspective of things.

    I read you feed from last 4 years and I have to say this most informative blog I have ever come across. thanks for sharing your views

    1. If I am a Formula 1 team principal of one of the top four teams, I would hope to have a solid budget and so I would be looking for speed and consistency. That’s it. That is what wins. That is all that matters.

      1. I think your point was proven this year. At the end of Raikkonen’s last race, F1’s best drivers (fast and consistent) occupied the four top places, in the standings, with four different cars.

  20. It’s a shame that Nico has missed out in this round of driver changes. If the ‘chatter’ about Alonso and McLaren is accurate, with Alonso making the move in 2015, then lets hope Ferrari doesn’t pass up on the opportunity to hire Nico.

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