Date: 18th October 2016 at 8:03am
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Musical chairs season in Formula One is set to continue in Austin during the US Grand Prix weekend.

Nico Hulkenberg has now officially announced his departure from Force India to join French manufacturer Renault in a long-term deal starting in 2017.

It may well look right now to be a questionable decision considering how far ahead Force India are of Renault in 2016, but as a long-term project it appears to be a smart move for the German.

It’s unlikely to prove as successful as when Lewis Hamilton opted to leave McLaren for Mercedes, but equally it’s unlikely to prove as bad a decision as Fernando Alonso quitting Ferrari for McLaren. It will probably fall somewhere in between.

It does however open up a new race seat at Force India alongside Sergio Perez, who after a period of uncertainty has now committed to the team.

There is also a race seat open at Williams with Felipe Massa’s impending retirement.

There could also be a seat open at the Formula One newbies Haas, as the American team are yet to commit to their current driver line-up.

Romain Grosjean will remain as the team leader as he has a contract for 2017, but Mexican Esteban Gutierrez’s future is undecided.

‘As far as drivers, we alluded that Grosjean, because of his contract, will be back next year. Formula 1 team boss Gene Haas told

‘With Esteban, he’s a great driver, but we haven’t really announced anything yet because there’s no real reason to. We’ll just kind of see how things go forward and what happens.

‘At the moment we feel good with our current drivers. Like I say, we haven’t definitively said whether Esteban is the driver for next year or not. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t be either.’