The German has emerged as one of Renault’s key targets to lead its outfit in 2017 as it continues to ramp up the Enstone-based operation following its takeover last winter.
Other targets that Renault had been interested in – like Stoffel Vandoorne, Carlos Sainz and Valtteri Bottas – all became unavailable, but the Hulkenberg situation has become more solid in recent days.
Although Hulkenberg had previously committed to a Force India contract, it is understood there has long been scope for him to get out of the deal.
That scenario left Renault convinced that efforts to push for the German could be successful, as it targeted a driver that it could get on board for the next few seasons.
Sources have suggested that Hulkenberg’s talks with Renault are at a very advanced stage with at outline agreement having been put in place. However, it is believed that a final contract has not been completed at this stage.
Should the Hulkenberg deal get over the line, then it is highly likely that the German will be partnered by Frenchman Esteban Ocon, who has impressed after getting quickly up to speed at Manor this season.
It is unclear who Force India would take to replace Hulkenberg, but Mercedes young driver Pascal Wehrlein would be an obvious choice to help please its engine partner.