Nico Hulkenberg will stay on with Force India until at least the end of the 2017 season, the British-based Formula One team announced on Tuesday.

“Sahara Force India is delighted to announce the signing of a two-year contract extension with Nico Hulkenberg,” a statement on the team’s website read.

The highly-rated German, who became the first active Formula One driver to win at Le Mans in over two decades earlier this year, had been linked with Ferrari to replace Kimi Raikkonen next season and was also touted as a possible driver for new American outfit Haas.

Instead he has decided to stay on at Force India, who are currently sixth in the Grand Prix constructors’ standings with 49 points. Hulkenberg is 12th in the drivers’ championship with 24 points. 

“I’m very pleased to finalise and announce my plans for the future,” said the 28-year-old Hulkenberg, who has yet to make it onto a Grand Prix podium after 86 races.

“I know this team inside out and I feel at home here so it made perfect sense to make a long-term commitment. The progress the team has shown over the last two years has really impressed me and gives me confidence for the future.”

Force India chief Vijay Mallya said that he was one of Hulkenberg’s biggest fans.

“He has spent almost four years with us already and in that time we’ve seen him develop into one of the best racing drivers in the world,” he said.

“Nico has the speed, the technical knowledge and the maturity to help us achieve some great results in the years ahead. We will do everything we can to continue delivering a car to match his talent.” – Agence France-Presse

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