New Delhi, Dec 4: German driver Nico Hulkenberg says returning to Force India for the 2014 Formula 1 season was the best he could have done under the circumstances.
Hulkenberg displayed exceptional talent behind the wheels during the last two seasons and was expected to get his first big break in F1 with Lotus. But the money the Enstone outfit needed to secure its future could not arrive in time and it eventually went for the more lucrative option in Pastor Maldonado than Hulkenberg.
“It is what it is. You have to be realistic. I was in touch with Lotus and other teams as well but it only worked out with Force India,” said Hulkenberg from Force India’s Silverstone base a day after it was announced that he will leave Sauber and join the outfit he was part of in 2011 and 2012.
Asked what he thought of Lotus not signing him for financial reasons, Hulkenberg said: “Money has always played a role in F1 and it continues to be the same. Probably, it is more now. I rather not spend my energy thinking what might or could have happened.
“I am optimistic about my chances for the next season. Like me, Force India are also aiming high for the future.”
The 2014 season marks the beginning of a new era in F1 with the 1.6 litre turbocharged engines replacing the V8s, making it nearly impossible to predict how teams will fare.
“You can’t set a reference point for 2014. You don’t how the cars will behave at the start of the season,” said Hulkenberg when asked about bettering his performance in 2013 season when he finished 10th with 51 points. He was 11th in 2012 with 63 points.
“I would want to believe that we have a good package with the help of our engine suppliers Mercedes,” he said of the German manufacturers which will supply the entire powertrain to Force India besides its own team.
Looking back at the one year he spent at Sauber, Hulkenberg said: “The atmosphere was totally different with Sauber being a Swiss team, also having a lot of Italians. However, most of the staff at Force India is British. But operationally there was not much of a difference as both are midfield teams.”