Initial media reports linked the former GP2 champion with a seat with either Renault F1 Team or Force India Mercedes but, as time goes by, the doors at both the Enstone and Silverstone facilities seem to close quietly. While Vitaly Petrov is in pole position to retain his seat with Renault, the competition for a seat with Force India is getting fiercer by the day.
Under the circumstances, Weber started thinking of a reserve role for Hulkenberg next season, arguing that it would be better for the 23-year old to be “the third man in a top team than the first man with a backmarker” and that “you learn nothing and your career is going backwards” if you choose to drive for a struggling team in the series.
As far as we know, the only big team without a third/reserve driver (or even the prospect of naming one in the near future) is Mercedes GP. However, while praising the young German, Merc's motorsport boss Norbert Haug confirmed that no negotiations are currently taking place between the Stuttgart-based marque and Hulkenberg's manager.
“His car didn't drive itself to pole position in Brazil. A GP2 champion and someone on pole in formula one must of course be very capable,” said Haug, according to a report from the GMM news agency, while adding “there is currently no contact.”
Additionally, he disagreed publicly with Weber's take on Hulkenberg's future in Formula One, saying that the best way to carry your career forward in the Great Circus is to keep on driving, no matter the team you're in.
“If he wants to keep his career going in a straight line, he would be better off racing with a second or even third-rate team.”