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Hulkenberg thankful to “come home,” retain spot on grid

Dec 9, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Race Getty Images

The outside world is lamenting Nico Hulkenberg’s being passed over, once again, for a top flight seat on the Formula One grid. Yet Hulkenberg is thankful to have any seat in an F1 world where commercial interests have played such a major role in seats of late.

“I believe I’m in a good place and just maintaining a drive in F1 is worth a lot these days,” he admitted, in an interview with the official F1 website. “I’m a Formula One driver with a team that is ambitious and aiming high for the future. Of course I want to be winning races, but I’m still young and 2014 will only be my fourth season as a race driver in Formula One.”

Hulkenberg returns to Force India for the first time since his two years there from 2011 to 2012. He stepped into a race seat for 2012, but moved on to Sauber after a single year.

“I’m excited to be back. It’s a team I know very well,” he said. “I’ve spent two years here before – in 2011 and 2012 – so indeed it’s a bit like coming home. There are still a lot of familiar faces that I know and have worked with before, so it will be a sort of happy reunion.”

Without giving anything away, Hulkenberg thought the identity of his teammate for 2014 is likely to be someone to “score points when the chance was there.” Most of the free agents on the market – Sergio Perez, Paul di Resta, Adrian Sutil – have shown an ability to do that.

Hulkenberg also said he felt bullish on Mercedes’ development of its new V6 engine. Mercedes will also supply three other teams (Mercedes, McLaren, Williams) in 2014.

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