Hulkenberg has not lost Williams seat yet – Weber

Mon, 25 October 2010, 02:01

Oct.25 (GMM) Nico Hulkenberg’s manager has played down suggestions the young German will definitely lose his race seat at Williams at the end of the season.

The British team on Monday seemed to confirm speculation it is considering replacing the 2009 GP2 champion with the feeder series’ new title winner, Pastor Maldonado.

Venezuelan Maldonado, 25, is heavily backed by the state owned petroleum company PDVSA, and Williams co-owner Patrick Head in Korea admitted that economic factors would influence the board’s driver decision for 2011.

In a media statement, the Oxfordshire based team announced that Maldonado will test the FW32 in the post-season Abu Dhabi ‘young driver’ session next month.

And he is not in contention for merely the team’s 2011 test seat, because Finn Valtteri Bottas “will remain” in that post next year, Williams said.

Maldonado said last month that he hoped to secure a deal for his 2011 debut “before the race in Abu Dhabi, so I can participate in the tests there after the GP with my new team”.

But Hulkenberg’s manager Willi Weber insists his rookie charge is still in the reckoning at Williams.

“Nico is not ‘out’ already, as has been speculated,” he told the German news agency DPA.

“The talks with Williams are continuing, but there are obviously alternatives,” added Weber.

“Williams is the first choice and we would love to stay, but it is extremely important that Nico has a race cockpit in formula one for 2011,” he said.

Interestingly, Weber seemed to acknowledge the legitimacy of Williams’ apparent reconsideration of Hulkenberg’s place at the team.

“(Chairman) Adam Parr has a great responsibility to hundreds of employees and as the highest priority he must consider the welfare of the team,” he said.

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