Nico Hulkenberg will not be driving for Williams next season, it was confirmed on Monday. Hulkenberg said he had been unable to reach a satisfactory agreement regarding a contract extension with the team. Team mate Rubens Barrichello, however, has been retained for 2011.
“I heavily regret that, because I would have been happy to stay with Williams,” said Hulkenberg, who made his F1 debut at the beginning of this season. “I want to thank the team for a great time and I wish Williams all the best for the future.”
Paying tribute to the driver who recently brought his team their first pole position in five seasons, Frank Williams commented: “I would like to thank Nico for his hard work this year, and before that in preparing himself for Formula One. We are very proud to have supported him as he secured the Formula Three and GP2 titles and during his debut in Formula One.
“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.”
Hulkenberg landed his Williams race drive after spending two years as the British team’s test driver. His manager Willi Weber is now negotiating with other teams to secure the 23 year-old a job for next season. “Nico will have his seat in F1 in 2011,” said Weber.
Barrichello, meanwhile, is set to start an amazing 19th season of Formula One racing after signing for a second year with Williams, whom he joined from Brawn GP at the end of 2009. The Brazilian claimed 10 points-scoring finishes in 2010, helping the team to sixth place in the constructors’ championship.
“We recruited Rubens knowing that he would bring technical expertise, experience and passion,” said Williams. “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.”
Williams will confirm their second driver before the end of the year.