Nico Hulkenberg admits he is pleased to have secured a role in F1 for the 2011 season after news that the German is to join Force India as test and reserve driver.
Despite securing pole for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, the German was dropped by Williams at the end of 2010 as the Grove-based squad elected to bring in Pastor Maldonado to partner Rubens Barrichello for the new campaign.
That left Hulkenberg with limited options for his second year in F1, and having reportedly turned down the chance to join Virgin [See separate story HERE
], has now agreed a long-term contract with Force India.
“I am happy I can stay in F1 in 2011,” he said. “I am looking forward to working with Force India and I am sure the team will continue improving in the future. I appreciate the team trusting me by signing a long-term contract. I will do my very best to live up to expectations.”
Hulkenberg fills the role vacated by Paul di Resta after the Scot was promoted into a race seat for 2011 and said his ultimate aim was to follow the new DTM champion in using a testing role to secure a place back on the grid.
“Of course I'd rather be a race driver, but the most important is that I stay within the F1 circus,” he said. “Every driver wants to compete in races - that is what we are all driving for. But my motivation is to convince the team of my skills in order to be back in a race cockpit in 2012.”
Although he only has a season of F1 behind him, Hulkenberg will be able to bring the experience he gained from working alongside Rubens Barrichello – the most experienced driver on the grid – to Force India for 2011 and the German said he was keen to help the team progress as much as possible.
“Last year was very important for me,” he said. “I could gain lots of experience and had a good team-mate. I learned a lot from him on how to help developing a car in the right direction. I'm bringing a high level of motivation and will give my very best to be helpful for the team.”