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Sauber can expect no favors from Hulkenberg

By Alan Baldwin

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Germany's Nico Hulkenberg has promised to do his best to help Force India beat Sauber in the Formula One constructors' championship even if it costs his future team millions of dollars.

Swiss-based Sauber announced on Wednesday, ahead of Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, that Hulkenberg would be racing for them next season.

Force India, whose other driver is Britain's Paul Di Resta, are seventh overall and 23 points behind sixth-placed Sauber with three races remaining.

"No qualms about that," Hulkenberg smiled when asked how he would feel if he delivered enough points to move Force India ahead of their rivals.

"I am fully committed to Force India, we have three more races to go. I look forward to the new challenge, the new contract, but also I look forward to doing the last few races here. I am fully motivated and will give everything."

The finishing order in the championship dictates how great a share of television revenues the teams receive and a single point can have a huge impact on the bank balance.

Force India's deputy team principal Bob Fernley said the difference between sixth and seventh was around $5 million.

"I know how we felt when we lost it to Williams by one point," he added in reference to the 2010 season.

"I genuinely have 110 percent confidence in Nico, in his integrity and his desire to support the team through to the end of his contract. It doesn't even cross my mind that there would be any of that going on," Fernley told Reuters.

"I just think the guy is so straight."

Sauber's Indian-born principal Monisha Kaltenborn expected no favors from her future employee either.

"I think it's very unfair to think that Nico also would be thinking this way. He's a very professional driver and I think he's committed to any team he is working for and he at the moment is a Force India driver and that's what we have to accept," she told Reuters.

Hulkenberg said the decision to move to Sauber, who have Mexican Sergio Perez switching to McLaren, had not been an easy one to make and refused to discuss details of the contract.

He also denied there were any formal links with Ferrari, who supply engines to Sauber.

Hulkenberg had been talked of earlier in the season as a replacement at Ferrari for under-performing Brazilian Felipe Massa and his move to Sauber has been seen by some as a possible prelude to him joining the Italian team in 2014.

Massa has signed a one-year extension to the end of 2013. He joined Ferrari from Sauber in 2006.

"There were talks and there was some contact," Hulkenberg said of Ferrari.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Josh Reich)

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