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Hülkenberg ready for frontrunner switch

Nico Hülkenberg has admitted he’s actively engaging with other teams for a switch away from Force India.

The German, who received a significant boost to his stocks after winning Le Mans with Porsche last month, said his future would become clearer in the next few months during the Austrian Grand Prix weekend.

At Silverstone he admitted that the foundations for a potential switch were being laid.

“Of course you check the options, you check the market and what is available or what could become available. It would be silly not to do so.”

With a revitalised reputation, however, he added that a move would not be unconditional.

“It depends on what’s on offer,” he said. “I’m focussed on the current situation.”

While once Hülkenberg’s future lay between a number of rocks and hard places in the midfield, the tide has slowly turned to a point at which he is now one of the paddock’s most sought-after drivers.

Since speculation over Kimi Räikkönen’s future with Ferrari has now reached boiling point Hülkenberg’s name has been jostling for top spot on the list of replacements. The man himself, however, spoke nonchalantly of a potential switch to the Scuderia.

“You do two good races and that’s what happens,” he joked. “I’ve had that before, it doesn’t say much at the moment. It doesn’t appeal very much, to be honest.”

Hülkenberg’s name has bounced around the corridors of a number of the sport’s biggest teams since his debut in 2010, but has been knocked back by each of the big hitters for various reasons.

Ferrari was poised to pick him up before it made the snap decision to sign Kimi Räikkönen in fear that Fernando Alonso would leave it without a championship-winning driver.

McLaren was similarly interested in the German’s talent, but decided against him because he was assessed as being too tall and therefore carrying extra weight.

Lotus was set to sign to him before Pastor Maldonado waved his oil sponsorship money before the faces of management at the precipice of the team’s darkest financial time.

Hülkenberg, with a wisdom gained through a career of being knocked around, is keeping a level head about his future.

“It’s not all fully in my hands. There are other factors and other things that play into that as well,” he conceded.

“The most important for me is to keep performing to reach my 100 per cent, my maximum, each weekend. The other things will fall into place.

“It’s still early days, and I am happy and comfortable where I am. I’ll just keep fighting and working away.”

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