Hulkenberg speaks on F1 return

2012-03-15 09:05

MELBOURNE, Australia - Nico Hulkenberg says it might take time to get used to Formula 1 racing after a year away so he's setting no target for where he wants to finish in the championship.

Hulkenberg told the German news agency DPA that although Force India was unlikely to be able to compete with the favourites through 2012 it wa capable of winning "if all the circumstances are right".


Hulkenberg, who will partner Paul di Resta, has been promoted from test/reserve driver to replace compatriot Adrian Sutil in what will be his second season in F1 after racing for Williams in 2010. Although he earned his first pole position for Williams in five years at the Brazilian GP, he was not retained for 2011.

Pre-season tests have shown Force India's cars have few stability problems, leaving Hulkenberg eager to see how the team will perform in this weekend's start to the season in Melbourne.

Hulkenberg said: "As far as balance is concerned, the car is very good. It gives you a good feeling on the fast turns. You can still make improvements in all areas."

Hulkenberg said he needed time to acclimatise back into racing and "generally get into the race weekend rhythm".

"Although I was there every day in 2011 year the tension is missing when you don't race. Also the competitive situation in a race, the kinetic energy recovery system, drag reduction system, tyres - they are all things I didn't have for 16 months."


Force India has improved steadily since its F1 debut in Australia in 2008 but has the team's progress given cause to believe a first victory won't be too far away?

Hulkenberg said: "If the circumstances are right and everything fits for us from the beginning to the end during a race then I could imagine it. Not by our own efforts, going by the tests, but if the opportunity is there we will, of course, try."

There were "other favourites" such as Sauber and Lotus to challenge the leading teams, while the "usual suspects" for the title would be Red Bull and McLaren.

"Lotus has looked very good and you can never lose sight of Ferrari with Fernando Alonso," he added.