Motor racing: Hulkenberg to leave Force India at end of season, set for Renault

German Formula One driver Nico Hulkenberg of the Sahara Force India F1 Team waves at fans during an autograph signing session in Suzuka on Oct 6, 2016.
German Formula One driver Nico Hulkenberg of the Sahara Force India F1 Team waves at fans during an autograph signing session in Suzuka on Oct 6, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

LONDON (REUTERS) - German driver Nico Hulkenberg is set to race for Renault next season, after his Force India team said on Friday he would be leaving at the end of the season "to pursue other opportunities within Formula One".

The 2015 Le Mans winner has been strongly linked to the French team and Force India sources confirmed he was heading to that team. There was no immediate confirmation from Renault, however.

"Everybody at Sahara Force India wishes Nico well as he embarks upon a different path in Formula One," said Force India team principal Vijay Mallya in a statement.

"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."

Hulkenberg is ninth in the drivers' standings with 54 points, behind eighth-placed team-mate Sergio Perez (80 points).

Renault's current line-up are Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer.