Nico Hulkenberg believes Force India stands to be better prepared than its rivals at the start of the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship due to a reduction in pre-season testing.
On the back of Force India's best ever performance in F1 after cracking the top five in the constructors' standings for the first time, Hulkenberg believes the team is well placed to build on the momentum it developed during the second-half of the season.
Indeed, pre-season was a trying time for Force India in 2015 after numerous delays meant it could only get its VJM08 machine out for barely two of the 12 allocated test days, while the vastly improved B-specification car didn't make its bow until round nine at Silverstone.
Ahead of 2016, Force India appears better prepared for the pre-season tests, which will this year be run over two four-day stints around the Circuit de Catalunya. Indeed, Hulkenberg believes this stands Force India in good stead to capitalise during the early rounds.
“Less testing could mean better opportunities during the first couple of races if we're better prepared than others - and have kept the momentum [of 2015],” he told F1.com. “At the end of the day [eight days] is all everybody has and we all have to work with this time.”
With Force India making impressive strides in the closing stages of the 2015 season, Hulkenberg still believes there are big gains to be made coming into 2016.
“It's always difficult to judge what others will do and where you will pan out for the first race,” he said. “But from what I have seen of what the team is doing and developing, I think we can challenge for good results - probably even better than in 2015.”