Sauber has confirmed Nico Hulkenberg will drive for the Swiss squad during the 2013 Formula 1 season. The 25-year-old German has been driving for the Force India team this year, enjoying a strong season in which he has scored 49 points in 17 races.
Hulkenberg had been linked with Felipe Massa's seat at Ferrari, but was expected to move to Sauber after the Brazilian got a new contract. Sauber needed a replacement for McLaren-bound Sergio Perez, while its second seat also remains uncertain for next year.
"I'm really looking forward to working with the Sauber F1 team," said Hulkenberg. "It's a well-placed team and very competitive. Plus it's a team in which young drivers have repeatedly delivered exceptional performances.
"I would like to take up that baton. Sauber is currently going through a very positive development and I'm certain that together we can achieve a lot.
"Until that time I will remain fully focused on my job with Sahara Force India. I'd like to thank the management at Sahara Force India for giving me the chance to return to Formula 1 as a team driver."
Hulkenberg made his grand prix debut with the Williams team in 2010 after having clinched the GP2 title the previous season. That year he secured pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
"We've been observing Nico for some time now and his performances have been very persuasive," said Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn. "That was the case in GP2 and has continued into Formula 1. An obvious highlight was how he scored pole at Interlagos in 2010 despite the most challenging external conditions.
"He clearly showed that he can seize the chance if it arises. But high spots like that are one thing; systematic teamwork is another – and on that score I have confidence in Nico, too. I'm sure he will fit in very well with the team. We look forward to working together with him."
Sauber said it will announce its second driver for the 2013 season at a later date.