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Will Hulkenberg switch to Renault?

2016-10-11 13:20

TRUTH OR DARE: Nico Hulkenberg says he is surprised by rumours linking him to a possible team switch in 2017. Image: AP / Vincent Thian

France - Rumours are continuing to swirl about the potential look of Renault's 2017 driver lineup.

Multiple authoritative sources are reporting that Nico Hulkenberg looks set to escape his Force India contract and sign a three-year deal to lead the French works team from the cockpit.

New drivers for 2017

It is believed that Renault team boss Frederic Vasseur's favoured choice to be the German's team mate is Frenchman Esteban Ocon.

But there are signs of a power struggle at Renault, with Vasseur and Cyril Abiteboul apparently at loggerheads.

READ: Nico Hulkenberg 'surprised' about Renault switch

If Abiteboul wrestles control of the Enstone team, a 'handshake' deal between Vasseur and Toto Wolff over Ocon's Renault link could collapse.

The uncertainty would seem to explain why many drivers are still not confirmed at their respective teams now deep into October, including Williams' Finn Valtteri Bottas and Toro Rosso's Russian Daniil Kvyat.

Vasseur told the French broadcaster Canal Plus: "If all the drivers who are linked with us joined, we would be a football team rather than a Formula 1 team.

"Hulkenberg is one of two or three possibilities, but nothing is finished yet."

According to the paddock grapevine, Hulkenberg and Ocon is the most likely 2017 Renault lineup.

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Vasseur admitted: "A German and a Frenchman, that sounds fine. But a German with a Russian or a Finn would also be interesting.  There are many possible combinations."

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