Force India has finally confirmed that its reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg will replace team stalwart Adrian Sutil for the 2012 Formula One season.
Hulkenberg, the 2009 GP2 Champion, enjoyed a single season in Grand Prix racing with Williams in 2010 before being replaced by Pastor Maldonado.
It is believed that Hulkenberg, who is highly rated by Force India technical partner Mercedes, signed an agreement at the beginning of this season that guaranteed the now 24-year-old German a race drive for 2012.
The news means that Hulkenberg will line-up alongside Scot Paul di Resta, who returns to the team for a second season.
“I’m obviously delighted to be staying with Sahara Force India and to be given the chance to race next year,” said Hulkenberg in a team statement.
“It wasn’t easy to watch from the sidelines this season, but I did my best to help the team and show what I was capable of.
“I’m extremely motivated for 2012 and would like to thank everyone for believing in me and giving me this chance.
“I’m keen to get down to work over the winter to develop our new car and help the team build on this year’s achievements. The first test in Jerez can’t come soon enough.”
With his five-year stint at the Silverstone-based team having come to a close, Sutil now appears set to fight the likes of Rubens Barrichello, Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna for the second Williams seat alongside Maldonado.
Sutil outscored his rookie team-mate di Resta 42 points to 27 over the course of the 2011 season.