Nico Hulkenberg hopeful news on his 2014 future now just a 'couple of weeks' away
German also admits McLaren move not an option
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 03/10/13 10:06am
Nico Hulkenberg: Switched to Sauber for 2013, with Adrian Sutil taking his Force India place
Nico Hulkenberg is optimistic he is now just a "couple of weeks" away from finalising his plans for the 2014 season.
The highly-rated 26-year-old has proved to be a central figure in this year's particularly unpredictable 'silly season' rumour mill, with the German linked persistently with a move away from underperforming Sauber come the end of the year.
Although his chances of a long-mooted move to Ferrari evaporated when the Scuderia opted to re-hire Kimi Raikkonen, Hulkenberg is a front-runner to replace the Finn at Lotus while a return to Force India, or even ultimately a second season with Sauber, have both been rumoured.
And asked by Sky Sports News in Korea on Thursday when he would have some news to give on his future, Hulkenberg replied: "I hope within the next couple of weeks."
Although overlooked for a McLaren seat this time last year as the Woking team opted to replace the departing Lewis Hamilton with Sergio Perez, the outfit's subsequent stalling over confirming the latter for 2014 has led some to put Hulkenberg's name back in the frame.
However, with Sky Sports F1 expert Mark Hughes having already suggested that the German's size and weight were likely to rule him out of any serious consideration by McLaren owing to next season's regulations, Hulkenberg himself has admitted a switch to Woking is not on the cards.
"McLaren is a great team and would be something interesting, but I don't think that is a realistic option at the moment," Hulkenberg added.
With McLaren's delay in confirming their 2014 line-up still nonetheless proving a talking point in the paddock as F1 reconvened in South Korea, Sky F1's Martin Brundle said it was clear the Woking team were assessing their options.
"I think he [Perez]'s got a chance but they're clearly looking around. It's difficult for them because that indicates that they're not happy with him," Brundle said.
"A team like McLaren wouldn't normally keep a driver they're not entirely happy with, but it's a question of who's on the market and who they're keen to have in the car.
"Next year's cars are going to be difficult to get under the weight limit, so tall drivers, or heavy drivers, are not very attractive in that respect to them. So it's really a question of, they didn't get Raikkonen, they obviously made a bit of a play for Alonso and now they've got to take a view on who they want."