OCTOBER 20, 2016

Hulkenberg to help Renault take giant leap

Renault has been tipped to take a "giant leap" ahead in 2017.

Renault has been tipped to take a giant leap ahead in 2017.

Marc Surer, a former F1 driver and pundit for the German broadcaster Sky, hailed Nico Hulkenberg's decision to accept an offer to join the French works team.

"As the opportunities with the other teams diminished, it was the best thing he could do," Surer said ahead of the US grand prix in Austin.

"Renault is a major and emerging team and he is experienced enough to lead them," he added.

Told that Renault might be regarded as a 'sleeping giant' that is ready to join the big teams at the top of F1, Surer agreed.

"I'm sure.

"We must not be fooled by this season, which was always a transition year for Renault. They have been fully focused on next season for some time.

"If they make another step forward with the engine, I am convinced they can take a giant leap. We know the team from Enstone well, and we must not forget that they made a winning car as Lotus with a small budget," he added.

Hulkenberg's departure leaves a vacancy at Force India, and Surer hopes Manor's Pascal Wehrlein is the one who is promoted.

"In any case, he is ready," he said.

"Even when he has tested for Mercedes, he has shown he can drive really fast times -- because at Manor, even when you drive fast you are still last.

"With (Sergio) Perez he would also have an experienced teammate to be measured against," Surer added.