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Q&A: Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India

Nico Hulkenberg: I think the car doesn't look too different to last year, expect maybe at the front of the nose, where there is a bit of a change. Apart from that, there isn't much obvious, although the exhaust position is different.
Sahara Force India's Nico Hulkenberg looks ahead to the 2012 F1 season after today's launch of the squad's new car, the VJM05.


Q:
Nico, did you have a chance to relax this winter and how have you been preparing for this season?

Nico Hulkenberg:
After Brazil I took some time out and just chilled a little bit and did some training. I went on a little holiday to New York after Christmas and since the beginning of January I've been pretty much flat out. It's not like I've been sitting at home, there's been plenty to do and think about!

Q:
What are your initial thoughts on the VJM05?

Nico Hulkenberg:
I think the car doesn't look too different to last year, expect maybe at the front of the nose, where there is a bit of a change. Apart from that, there isn't much obvious, although the exhaust position is different. Aero-wise, it's in the details again. I saw the car in the wind tunnel and it looked good, but you never know where you are until you are out there and you compete against the others, so let's wait and see.

Q:
All the teams have lost downforce with the exhaust rules. Are you confident that the team has been able to claw enough back?

Nico Hulkenberg:
Everyone is positive. Losing the blown floor was a setback, but at the same time the aero guys and engineers are moving on and trying to develop other areas to try and gain what you lose. Nowadays you need a strong aero package, a good aerodynamic car, but also mechanically you cannot afford to have poor suspension. It all goes together as a package and you have to have harmony in the car.

Q:
How would you describe the team's philosophy with the new car?

Nico Hulkenberg:
I think very clearly the philosophy is to build a competitive and very quick car! With 20 races this year you need a car which is very good on every circuit, not just high-speed tracks like Monza, or tight street circuits like Monaco. I think if you want to compete against the others, and it's pretty tough in the midfield, you need to be competitive everywhere. We're just trying to develop and make the car stronger in every aspect.

Q:
How hungry are you to get started after not racing last year?

Nico Hulkenberg:
Very! Preparations have been full-on with simulator sessions, the seat fitting, and my training regime has gone up a little bit in volume and intensity. So I'm getting myself back into shape again. It's exciting times and I'm looking forward to it.

Q:
Will it take you a couple of weekends to get back into the rhythm of qualifying and racing?

Nico Hulkenberg:
It's difficult to know. Obviously I went through that process in 2010, and I still have memories of it. However, it's not a situation like the beginning of 2010 when I was a complete rookie and completely new to everything. I've gone through it before and I know what to expect and what is coming up. It's not a bad situation, but not having been on the grid for a year means it might take some time and some adjustments before I'm fully up there and back in my race rhythm.

Q:
You learned about the Pirellis in your Friday testing last year, but you don't know about how they develop over the weekend into qualifying and the race. Is that the major thing you have to learn?

Nico Hulkenberg:
Track evolution from P3 to qualifying, what you've got to do with your set-up to re-adjust it, how the soft tyres behave in the race – I only know about that from the Bridgestone days, and I didn't really run a soft Pirelli compound last year in free practice. So there's a lot to learn and there are only a few tests before Melbourne. We've got a lot on our schedule, but it's a good challenge!

Q:
Apart from learning more about the tyres, what are your goals in testing?

Nico Hulkenberg:



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Paul di Resta (GBR) and Nico Hulkenberg (GER) - Sahara Force India Formula One Team VJM05 Launch
03.02.2012 Silverstone, England,  Nico Hulkenberg (GER) and Paul di Resta (GBR) - Sahara Force India Formula One Team VJM05 Launch
Jules Bianchi (FRA) with Nico Hulkenberg (GER) and Paul di Resta (GBR) - Sahara Force India Formula One Team VJM05 Launch
03.02.2012 Silverstone, England,  Jules Bianchi (FRA) with Nico Hulkenberg (GER) and Paul di Resta (GBR) - Sahara Force India Formula One Team VJM05 Launch
Jules Bianchi (FRA) with Nico Hulkenberg (GER) and Paul di Resta (GBR) - Sahara Force India Formula One Team VJM05 Launch
Nico Hulkenberg (GER) and Paul di Resta (GBR) - Sahara Force India Formula One Team VJM05 Launch

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