As the team-mates with the longest surnames in Formula One, Nico Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello stand to keep Williams' livery department busy next year, but the young German insists that he could not have landed a better partner to learn from in his rookie season.

Speaking following confirmation that the Grove team would field an all-new line-up in 2010, following the departure of Nico Rosberg and Toyota-supported Kazuki Nakajima, GP2 Series champion Hulkenberg admitted that he could only benefit from the presence of Barrichello, who transfers from Brawn GP after running team-mate Jenson Button close for the title.

The Brazilian is already the most experienced driver in F1 history, having racked up 284 race starts since his debut in 1992 with Jordan, and brings knowledge of working with front-running teams such as Brawn and Ferrari as well as midfielders such as Stewart. As a result, Hulkenberg knows that there is much that he can pick up ahead of his debut campaign.

"It's completely positive from my perspective," the 22-year old claimed, "As a rookie in F1, you couldn't ask for a better person to be your team-mate. It's a good combination. I just want the best team-mate I can get. Someone who is quick, experienced and a good driver, and that's what I see in him."

Asked whether he felt that he could get the better of Barrichello in his rookie season, Hulkenberg showed respect for his experienced cohort - even admitting that he would be prepared to ask the Brazilian for guidance.

"I would be stupid not to!" he grinned, "I think I can learn a lot from him and his experience, particularly by seeing how he works over a race weekend.

"It's difficult to judge at this stage [whether I can get the better of him]. As there is a limited amount of testing before the season starts, it will be difficult to get much track time in to prepare, but I hope to be on his pace from the beginning. From there, I hope I will be able to match his speed and results - and maybe even beat him at some point - but I just want to deliver consistently and do a good job for the team. I'd like to have some good races and score points."

It isn't just Barrichello that Hulkenberg feels that he can learn from as he prepares to take the jump into the top flight. Having been involved with the Williams team since 2007, he is already familiar with the people and surroundings at Grove - even learning trades other than driving - but knows that the team's history can stand him in good stead.

"I'm pretty excited to be racing for Williams," he confessed, "They're real racers. I like the people and the atmosphere within the factory is really good.

"I've been with the team as a test driver for two years now, so I know everyone well, and I've also been working in the factory itself this year - with stints in composites, the wind tunnel and sub-assembly - but now I'm now in a race seat and I'm really looking forward to next year. Of course, they are expecting something, otherwise they wouldn't have put me in the car, but I think their expectations are realistic."

Not due to test the team's new FW32 until testing starts in February, Hulkenberg will benefit from being eligible for two of the young driver tests scheduled for Jerez in December, but admits that he is expecting to find the transition to F1 a tough one - initially, at least.

"I can't ensure anything - all I can do is work hard over the winter," he conceded, "I'll take all of the tests that I get, and will use the simulator at Grove as much as I can. I'll prepare well with my engineers and then hit the track and go racing and see where we are in Bahrain.

"I'm in the factory a lot, so I see how hard the guys work, but you never really know how quickly and effectively the other teams' development programmes are going until you get to the track. It's only then that we will be able to tell. The hope is always there. I know that Williams can be successful."


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment