Renault driver Nico Hulkenburg has said that working with the French team has reminded him of his time with the Porsche LMP1 squad back in 2015, the team that he won the Le Mans 24 hours with alongside Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber.
The German left Force India at the end of 2016 after a successful three year stint with the team. He finally has a factory drive that many feel he deserves. The German driver has described the differences between a small, independent team like Force India and a big factory outfit like Renault.
“It reminds me quite a bit of my year with Porsche in LMP. Being with a manufacturer is just a different game, you feel the power, the support, the recourses they have. You see the factory is two or three times the size. The amount of people, what they are building and constructing there. The commitment is definitely there, you see they are serious. This is the reason I came, and what I expect to see from them – that they push on”.
– Nico Hulkenberg
Hulkenburg had hoped to return to Le Mans in 2016 to defend his title there, but a clash with the Baku Grand Prix and the fact that Audi and Porsche chose not to run a third car that year meant there was no chance of him doing so. He has now ruled out an immediate return to the famous race but is more than willing to go back in a few years time. His current focus? To help Renault reach the front.
“This opportunity came at the perfect moment for me. To be with a manufacturer, one that has a great history in Formula 1 and has been so successful in previous years and wants to go back there. Obviously we’re not back there yet and there’s still a long way to go, but I think it’s great for me to face that challenge with the team, that we work on it together to bring Renault back to the top”.
– Nico Hulkenberg
Hulkenburg narrowly missed out on a points finish in Melbourne and along with teammate Jolyon Palmer, believes that Renault can have the fourth best car as the year goes on. Life has started reasonably well for the Hulk at Renault, but getting off the mark in 2017 would make life a little bit better.