Two years after his debut with Williams, Nico Hulkenberg returned to F1 with Force India in 2012, having spent 2011 as the team's reserve driver.
Hulkenberg started his career in karting and by 2005, he graduated to the Formula BMW series, beating Sebastian Buemi to the title.
By 2006, under the management of Willi Weber - the man who discovered Michael Schumacher - Hulkenberg made his mark in A1GP, earning the title for Germany.
In 2007, he moved to Euro F3 with ASM, effectively stepping into the seat occupied by Paul Di Resta the previous season. In his first year, he finished third, behind teammate Romain Grosjean and Buemi. He also experienced his first F1 mileage when he tested for Williams in December and continued to log the miles the following year.
In 2009, the German took the GP2 Series title in his rookie year - a feat matched only by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. He continued to impress Williams in testing and duly earned a full-time seat for 2010.
On only his third outing in Malaysia Hulkenberg qualified fifth and scored his first point with tenth place. However, the undoubted highlight was a stunning pole position on a drying track in Brazil.
Unfortunately, Williams could not offer Hulkenberg a seat for 2011, and instead he switched to Force India to take up the role of reserve driver. He subsequently took part in 14 Friday practice sessions.
Hulkenberg impressed the team with his speed, feedback and approach, and in December 2011, he was confirmed as a race driver for 2012.