Vita Nico Hülkenberg
DEKRA also adorns Hülkenberg's official Formula One driver's cap this season. This sees the 29-year-old follow in the footsteps of a certain Michael Schumacher, who made the cap with the DEKRA logo on it one of the most coveted fan items in Formula One between 1992 and 2000.
Schumacher was already dominating races in various single-seater cars when Hülkenberg was born on 19th August 1987 in Emmerich, Germany. Hülkenberg was crowned junior German Karting Champion at the age of 13 and won the senior title the following year. He was also hugely successful in the Formula BMW series, winning the championship at the first attempt in 2005. One year later, "Hülk" celebrated his first win in only his fourth race in the Formula 3 Cup. This earned him a nomination for the German A1GP team, which he led to the title, causing quite a stir in doing so.
The next step in his career came with a move to the Formula 3 Euro Series in 2007 - a test he passed with flying colours: Hülkenberg finished third overall and was rewarded at the end of the year with a chance to test with the Williams F1 Team. His performances with the iconic British racing outfit were so impressive that legendary Team Principal Frank Williams promptly offered him a contract as a test driver.
In 2008 Hülkenberg stormed to victory in the Formula 3 Euro Series. The subsequent switch to GP2, the ultimate talent factory for Formula One, was the logical next step - and once again he claimed the title at the first attempt. At the same time, Hülkenberg made such a good impression as test driver for Williams that the team promoted him to regular driver for the 2010 season.
Just as he had done in the various junior series, Hülkenberg soon caught the eye courtesy of fine performances in motorsport's elite class. The highlight of his debut season was the sensational pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix in São Paulo, when he out-qualified the entire field in treacherous weather conditions to clinch his first pole at only his 18th Grand Prix. In doing so, he even surpassed the achievement of his more illustrious predecessor Schumacher, who had taken 42 attempts to achieve the same feat.
In 2011 he switched to the Force India F1 Team. After a year as test driver, in which Hülkenberg played a big role in the development of the Force India VJM04, he returned to Formula One as a regular driver with the Sahara Force India F1 Team at the start of 2012. Constantly good performances and 11th place in the Driver's Championship made him a target for other teams. The Sauber F1 Team received the knock for the 2013 season and Hülkenberg managed to climb one place in the drivers’ standings with Sauber in 2013.
Hülkenberg took on a fresh challenge in early December 2013 when he signed for Anglo-Indian outfit, Force India. The 2014 deal represented something of a reunion: his upward trend continued with his new team of old, the Sahara Force India F1 Team. Nico finished 2014 the most successful year of his F1-career in ninth place in the Drivers' Championship.