Nico Hulkenberg will race with the Force India team during the 2014 Formula 1 season after signing a multi-year deal, the squad announced on Tuesday.
Hulkenberg returns to the Silverstone-based team after just one season with Sauber, having driven for Force India in 2011 as a tester and as a race driver in 2012.
The German was the main candidate to land the second Lotus seat before the team announced Pastor Maldonado as Kimi Raikkonen’s replacement.
“I am happy to come back to Force India,” Hulkenberg said. “The team is aiming high for next year and I believe that the experience I have gained over the years will help us achieve those goals.
“I genuinely believe we can have a competitive package in 2014. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about the Mercedes engine as well, so I think there is a lot to be excited about for next year. I know this team and I can see their determination; it’s a great bunch of people and we all share the same hunger for success.”
Force India said it would announce its second driver in due course.
Team boss Vijay Mallya added: “I’m delighted to see Nico back with Force India. When he drove for us in 2012, it became clear Nico was an exceptional talent and he has continued to impress everyone in the paddock with his strong performances this season. Having Nico in our lineup is a real statement of intent and a huge boost for everyone associated with the team.
“We have high hopes and expectations for 2014 and by signing Nico we have put ourselves in the best position to achieve those objectives and enjoy what could be our most competitive season yet.”
2013 Force India drivers Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta are both expected to move on. Sutil is in the running for a Sauber seat, while di Resta’s chances of remaining in F1 appear slender.