Hulkenberg loses drive with Williams

LONDON - German rookie Nico Hulkenberg has been ditched by Williams for next season, the British-based Formula One team said on Monday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Wed 17 Nov 2010, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:52 AM

The 23-year-old enjoyed a promising debut season, finishing 14th in the drivers’ championship and claiming a stunning pole position in the penultimate round in Brazil.

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, 38, is retained for 2011 but Williams have still to name their second driver, although there is mounting speculation that Venezuela’s Pastor Maldonado will be given the slot.

“First, I would like to thank Nico for his hard work this year, and before that in preparing himself for Formula One,” said the team’s principal Frank Williams.

“We are very proud to have supported him as he secured the Formula 3 and GP2 titles and during his debut in Formula One,” he said in a statement.

“At Williams we have for many years tried to bring new talent into the sport, and we are convinced that Nico will go on to great things. We wish him well and hope that our paths will cross again in the future.”

Williams had told reporters only on Saturday at the season-ending Abu Dhabi race that the team was still some way off naming their 2011 lineup and was unlikely to do so this week.

Barrichello enjoyed a solid first season with Williams after switching from Brawn, finishing in the points 10 times. Next year will be his 19th season in Formula One.

“We recruited Rubens to Williams knowing that he would bring technical expertise, experience and passion,” Williams said.

“He has delivered everything we could have hoped for this season and we are delighted to confirm that he will drive for us again in 2011.”

Maldonado is due to drive for Williams, as well as newcomers HRT, in Abu Dhabi this week as all the teams test young up-and-coming drivers. Williams had been expected to wait until after the test before making any announcement.

The irony will not be lost on Hulkenberg, who is two years younger than the Venezuelan although lacking Maldonado’s financial clout.

Maldonado has long been backed by his country’s state oil company PDVSA.

Williams co-owner Patrick Head made clear last month that the team, who are losing several major sponsors including troubled bank RBS, would take commercial considerations into account in deciding their drivers.

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