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Hulkenberg to leave Force India to join Renault next year

Nico Hulkenberg will leave Force India at the end of the season to join Renault next season in a multi-year deal, it was announced on Friday.

With new regulations set for next season, the German is hoping that he would "write new success stories" in what would be his first foray into a works squad.

"It has always been my dream to work for a manufacturer team," said the 29-year-old who has also raced for privateers Williams and Sauber. "In the years to come, Renault will play a challenger role, which fits my approach to racing 100 percent."

Hulkenberg has been with Force India for five seasons, including one as a test driver, but the team had no objections to allow him to "pursue other opportunities within Formula One."

"While it's true we will miss Nico, we respect his decision to explore fresh opportunities and it would be wrong to stand in his way," said Force India team principal Vijay Mallya.

Force India could fill Hulkenberg's vacant seat with Pascal Wehrlein, currently with Manor, to enhance its ties with engine supplier Mercedes, through which the rookie stepped into F1.

Renault's current drivers are Kevin Magnussen and rookie Jolyon Palmer and is believed that the team could likely drop both for next year. Esteban Ocon is being tipped to partner Hulkenberg at Enstone in 2017 although other options are still being rumoured.

"This season has been about putting the foundations in place for future success," Renault Sport racing chairman Jerome Stoll pointed out. "For our next step we required an experienced driver who is still hungry for podiums. Nico Hulkenberg fulfils this role perfectly and is an excellent complement to what we want to achieve."

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