Force India

Sahara Force India F1 Team

  • Standing 5th
  • Points 98

Force India Links

Johnny Herbert reckons Nico Hulkenberg is making a 'sideways' move in joining Sauber

Sky F1 pundit doubts switch linked to Ferrari future too

Last Updated: 17/01/13 10:20am

  • Share:

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Sky Sports F1's Johnny Herbert believes Nico Hulkenberg is taking a clear "step sideways" by moving from Force India to Sauber for next season.

Sauber put an end to weeks of speculation on Wednesday by confirming that Hulkenberg would be driving one of their cars in 2013 after the impressing the team since first making his F1 debut with Williams two years ago.

However, rather than being a big jump up the grid, as things stand, Sauber are set to finish only one place higher in the Constructors' Championship than Force India with the latter having scored 11 more points than their rival since the summer break.

And Herbert, who drove for Sauber for three seasons in the late 1990s, is struggling to see the logic behind Hulkenberg's move.

"I think it's a step sideways," he told Sky Sports News in Abu Dhabi.

"I don't see it's a real step forward because they're battling over a similar position in the Constructors'. They're battling for similar placings during the race weekends. So it's not a big step forward.

"We've seen three very good performances from Sauber and Sergio Perez, and that one from [Kamui] Kobayashi in Japan, but that's been about it. The consistent ones since the summer break actually have been Force India. They're always there. Nico has always been getting some good points finishes."

One potential mooted motive behind Hulkenberg's decision to sign for Sauber is the Hinwil team's long-time links to Ferrari, the Maranello outfit having for many years supplied engines to Peter Sauber's outfit.

Hulkenberg was thought to have been considered for a Ferrari drive next season before the team ultimately opted to retain Felipe Massa and could still be in the running for a future move to partner Fernando Alonso.

Herbert, however, doesn't subscribe to that particular theory.

"There's a lot of talk it's a move closer to Ferrari because he's been rumoured to be going there because Sauber have the Ferrari engine," Johnny added.

"I don't personally believe that really is the case."

  • Share:

Related

F1 Transfer Gossip

Raikkonen coy on future plans

Kimi Raikkonen has cast fresh doubt on his future by refusing to clarify when he believes his stint at Ferrari will end.

Caterham confirm staff exits

Caterham have confirmed their new-look post-takeover management structure and the departure of a "number of employees".

Jules Bianchi with Nico Rosberg

Who's signed up until when?

A look at which teams already have their drivers signed up - and who might have vacancies - heading towards 2015.

Poll

Most Popular

Features

Market trading

Market trading

Which teams already have drivers under lock and key - and which ones could have vacancies - for 2015?

Team-mate battles

Team-mate battles

Jenson v Kevin? Kamui v Marcus? Which drivers seized the initiative during the opening seven races.

Feel the force

Feel the force

Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez hoping to take advantage of early season opportunities in 2014.