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Vijay Mallya has thanked the departing Nico Hulkenberg for his efforts at Force India

Force India Team Principal parting on good terms with the German

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 31/10/12 11:35am

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Nico Hulkenberg is leaving Force India for Sauber

Nico Hulkenberg is leaving Force India for Sauber

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Force India Team Pricipal Vijay Mallya has thanked Nico Hulkenberg for his contributions to the team during his two years with the Silverstone-based squad.

The German driver joined Mallya's outfit as reserve driver at the end of the 2010 season having been dropped by Williams in favour of Pastor Maldonado.

After impressive performances during selected first practice sessions, he was promoted to a race seat in 2012, during which he was linked with moves to Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes.

On Wednesday it was announced the highly rated German would join Sauber, leading the team into 2013.

"It has been a pleasure to have Nico with us for the last couple of years," Mallya said.

"At the end of 2010 we identified him as a star of the future and it has been rewarding to watch him develop his racing skills. 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.

"We would like to thank him for all his hard work and wish him well for the future. With three races remaining this season, we know Nico will remain totally committed and continue to deliver his best performances for the team."

Ironically for Hulkenberg, Mallya is targeting overtaking Sauber in the Constructors' Championship and with it the extra prize money for sixth place before the season is out.

"We have 93 points in the bag, but we are still 23 short of Sauber," he added.

"It's a big task to catch them, but anything can happen. We've finished fourth twice and we were very close to a podium in both of those races. If we get a bit of luck in the last three races we might be able to make it up. 23 points is not uncatchable."

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