Nico Hülkenberg has given an early vote of confidence to Williams' F1 2010 engine-supplier Cosworth, by describing the powerplant that will sit in the back of this year's FW32 as 'better' and 'stronger' than the Toyota that it has replaced.
Cosworth is returning to the top flight in 2010 for the first time since 2006, and aside from Williams will provide all four of the season's newcomers – Lotus F1, Virgin Racing, Campos Meta 1 and USF1 – with engines over the forthcoming campaign.
There have been some concerns expressed regarding the viability of the independent British company's V8 unit proving both competitive and reliable – but reigning runaway GP2 Series Champion Hülkenberg has sought to assuage any such fears following the initial rounds of pre-season testing.
“It is good – I'm positively surprised about it,” the 22-year-old reflected, before responding to a question about how the Cosworth measured up against the 2009 Toyota powerplant by assuring: “It feels better; it feels stronger.”
A hydraulic leak and driveshaft woes scuppered Williams' Jerez preparations last week, and after winding up inside the top four on both of his days inside the cockpit around the southern Spanish circuit, Hülkenberg insisted that it remains far too early to accurately gauge respective teams' performance levels, particularly with the new refuelling ban mixing up the order substantially as cars now hold up to 160kg of fuel at a time, when before the upper limit was only about half that figure.
“Everyone carries out their own programme,” the 22-year-old German explained to Auto Moto und Sport
. “If [Fernando] Alonso puts in 50 laps around the track and [Sébastien] Buemi does a quick run, I don't know whether he has 25, 50 or 70 kilos of fuel in the tank.
“You worry about your own problems [and] try to fix them, so that your car reacts as you want it to. You may have a rough idea where you stand, but we'll only know for sure in Bahrain.”