Formula One rookie Nico Hulkenberg has revealed that the Williams team is still pressing on with the introduction of new parts right up to the eve of the Bahrain Grand Prix in an effort to ensure good reliability for the opening race of the season.
The German, who debuts alongside experienced team-mate Rubens Barrichello at the Grove-based team after spending two years as test and reserve driver, ended day one at Sakhir in sixth place, but is well aware that he and the Brazilian suffered more than most from technical gremlins during the pre-season testing period.
"The day was okay," he reported, "We were able to go through our programme and be able to get comfortable in the car on the track. It ran smoothly without any technical or other problems.
"Williams has pushed very hard and, everyday, there is still a new guy coming from the UK bringing new parts - and not only performance parts, but reliability parts - to get our car better. I have to say a big thank you to the guys in the factory as, without them, we would not be where we are. Cosworth have also done a good and remarkable job. We did not have any problems [with the engine] during winter testing and, again here, the engine is running fine. Performance wise it is not too bad at all."
The only real 'problem' that could have threatened to derail Hulkenberg's day was a potential brake issue, but he insisted that it was nothing to be concerned about.
"It shouldn't be a problem, but Bahrain is always quite heavy on brakes," he noted, "I'm sure every team is aware of that, and we'll take it into consideration, but it's just brake dust. If you have big braking from 300kph down to 60kph, there's just a lot of smoke but, right now, I'm not too worried."
Hulkenberg admitted that it was nice to finally be a full-time member of the F1 fraternity, but accepted that he was unlikely to follow in the footsteps of namesake Nico Rosberg, who marked his debut with Williams with fastest lap in the 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix.
"It is nice and great to finally be here, but I am sure every driver who has come here worked very hard and long for it, same for me," the newcomer commented, I'm just happy to be here and looking forward, hopefully, to a long career. Of course, I don't expect the same [start as Rosberg]. I'm hoping for a good points finish but, as has been mentioned, we are still a bit in the dark as to who is where, even today. There are big differences in lap times, and obviously big differences in fuel loads, so we will have to wait and see where we end up."