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Hulkenberg loses Williams seat

ESPNF1 Staff
November 15, 2010 « Petrov says he was right to defend his position | »
Nico Hulkenberg is now relying on Willi Weber to find his a seat in 2011 © Getty Images

Nico Hulkenberg has confirmed he will not be driving for Williams next season but is confident he will land a race seat somewhere else.

Hulkenberg, who took his maiden pole in Brazil one week ago, has been in negotiations with the team for some time, but on Monday revealed he will be replaced in 2010.

"I heavily regret that," Hulkenberg said in a statement. "I would have been happy to stay with Williams. I want to thank the team for a great time and I wish Williams all the best for the future."

However, his manager Willi Weber is confident Hulkenberg will not be left on the sidelines in 2011. "I am negotiating with other teams," Weber said. "Nico will have his seat in F1 in 2011."

Over the weekend Weber admitted that he suspects 2010 GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado, who has significant financial backing from the state-owned Venezuelan oil company PDVSA, has already been signed as a replacement.

"Nico will leave Williams," Weber told Express. "They're not negotiating any longer. They have probably already done a deal with Pastor Maldonado."

Team boss Frank Williams thanked Hulkenberg for his services after the team confirmed that Hulkenberg was leaving and Rubens Barrichello was staying in 2011. "'First, I would like to thank Nico for his hard work this year, and before that in preparing himself for Formula One," Williams said. "We are very proud to have supported him as he secured the Formula 3 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."

He added that Barrichello, who has scored the lion's share of the team's points this season, had lived up to expectations. "We recruited Rubens to Williams knowing that he would bring technical expertise, experience and passion," Williams added. "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."