Nico Hulkenberg says his decision to move to Sauber is unrelated to links to Ferrari
But German confirms had held talks with Ferrari prior to Sauber deal
By Mike Wise at Yas Marina Circuit. Last Updated: 02/11/12 5:45pm
Nico Hulkenberg has insisted that his move to Sauber next season is not linked with the possibility of an eventual drive at Ferrari.
The German, who will leave Force India at the end of the current season, said that he has joined Sauber on the strength of their improved performances in recent times.
At the moment, Sauber stand 23 points clear of Force India in sixth place in the constructors' standings with three races left to run.
Hulkenberg's current team have outscored his next outfit since the summer, yet the 25-year-old reckons the Swiss team's podium finishes this season demonstrate that they have more potential.
Speaking one day after the move was announced, Hulkenberg said: "It wasn't an easy decision, first of all. I think Sauber made good development over the last couple of years, especially this year. Obviously they have been very strong, with four podiums and they missed a win by a very narrow margin only.
"That's why. I wouldn't have made the decision if I thought it wasn't the right one."
Hulkenberg was less forthcoming about terms of the deal, its length or how quickly it was signed and sealed.
He issued a flat "no" when asked whether it contained formal links to Ferrari, who have longstanding ties to Sauber including an engine supply.
Hulkenberg admitted, however, that direct talks were held with the Scuderia about a drive next year but he added that they were never serious.
"There was some light contact, but that was all," Hulkenberg told Sky Sports News.
Of the 2013 season, Hulkenberg is naturally hopeful that Sauber can continue to progress.
"It's always difficult to tell. We're still towards the end of this season and it's difficult to look up front," he said.
"Sauber have a good car this year and I hope they have a similar car next year, when we can fight for good positions."
For now, though, Hulkenberg is concentrating on maintaining his current good form over the balance of the current season.
Having claimed points finishes in the last three races, Hulkenberg thinks he and Force India can continue the run in Abu Dhabi and beyond.
"I don't see a reason why it shouldn't carry on to be honest. This track as well, it's more low speed, more similar to Singapore and at Singapore we looked quite competitive," he added.
"I think we can have three very good races till the end of the year. I think every circuit will be all right and I think we can challenge for points."