Hulkenberg turned down Virgin drive
Willi Weber, Nico Hulkenberg's manager has revealed to Auto Motor und Sport that his driver turned down an offer to race with Virgin in 2011 in order to pursue a Friday testing role with a bigger team. Weber said Hulkenberg was offered Jerome d'Ambrosio's seat at Virgin but turned it down as: "For someone like Nico, with a season already behind him, there is little to learn from a small team. There was an offer from Virgin which was very pleasing, but with another German in Timo Glock, who has been there for a while already, the risk was too great." Weber continued that he believed Hulkenberg would be better off with an established team, even if it is just as a Friday test driver. "We have been thinking: shall we pause for a year? But in today's world you are too quickly forgotten. So I think it is better for Nico to still have a presence with a good team where at least he can practice on the Fridays. That is the ideal alternative for him." Quickly adding though that: "Before anything is said officially, I can't say anything myself." Hulkenberg had an impressive first season in Formula One last year, which most noticeable included his impressive qualifying lap at the Brazilian Grand Prix in the wet, which gave the young German driver his first pole position in F1. Although, due to the current money-orientated driver market, Hulkenberg lost his seat at Williams at the end of 2010 to Pastor Maldonado. Since then the 23-year old driver has been struggling to find a drive for next season, and in recent months reports have suggested that he has been closely linked to a Friday test drive at Force India. However, nothing has been confirmed as Force India are still yet to announce their driver line-up for the new season. Weber also raised concern about F1's shift towards employing pay drivers: "F1 needs to be careful about creating a two-class society, with 14 real drivers and ten pay drivers." Adding "In that way, I refuse to pay for a cockpit for Nico. If you do it once, you will always be needing to bring money, and more and more. Very quickly, this becomes your image. Rather, I want to sell performance. This boy is too good to be paying to drive."