Nico Hulkenberg returns to Force India, for the 2014 Formula 1 world championship season, a team he knows well and in the aftermath of a very positive preseason testing campaign the German looks ahead to the season on the eve of the season opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
How satisfied are you with the work completed over the winter?
Hulkenberg: I think we’re pretty satisfied. In the final week in Bahrain we averaged 100 laps per day and made good progress. You would always like more time to test, but we’ve done as much as we could.
2014 brings new procedures and a new way of driving – do you feel comfortable already?
Hulkenberg: I feel comfortable, but I think this feeling will grow stronger during the season. The cars are different compared to last year: the corner speeds are lower because there is less downforce and the engine behaviour is quite different. So it’s a new challenge and it’s difficult to tell just from testing how it will feel during a race weekend.
How much has the car improved since the first test in Jerez?
Hulkenberg: The car has come a long way since Jerez. We made steps at each test and I think we made very good use of the time we had available. We signed off a lot of things during testing and I don’t think we’re in bad shape. There is always more you can do, but we’re pretty well prepared.
Have you set any expectations for this weekend?
Hulkenberg: It’s not easy to say. Testing only tells you so much, but I think we still have some performance in our pocket. I just hope we are competitive and can race for good points.
You’ve always been unlucky on race day in Melbourne. Surely you are due a change of luck…
Hulkenberg: It’s been three races in Melbourne and I’ve still not completed a racing lap! They say bad luck comes in groups of three so hopefully attempt number four will work out better! (Force India)