Hulkenberg: 2011 was a wasted year

By on Thursday, January 5, 2012

© Sahara Force India

Nico Hulkenberg was dropped by Williams at the end of the 2010 season for Pastor Maldonado because the Venezuelan driver brought substantial sponsorship from companies in his home country to the cash-strapped team. Hulkenberg then moved to Force India as a reserve driver in 2011, driving for the team during Friday practice sessions.

“It was a wasted year. I should have been racing and not watching," said Hulkenberg to Autosport magazine, referring to the year he spent on the sidelines as a Force India reserve driver. Fortunately however, he impressed enough during the practice sessions and earned a race seat for 2012, replacing Adrian Sutil.

"But even though I wasn’t [racing], I still learned. I’m a very different driver now than I was at the beginning of 2010, and I gained experience last year even though there was little driving. It wasn’t what I was hoping for, but I had to deal with it and, in hindsight, it was the right call because now I’m back.”

Even though Williams one of its worst ever seasons on record last year, Hulkenberg is adamant that he would rather have driven last year's Williams than sit on the sidelines.

"Every driver wants to race, and having to watch the races from the pitwall or the garage is not pleasant. Even though the car was difficult, I’d still have preferred to be racing it than being a third driver," said the German driver.

It was also revealed that Hulkenberg signed the contract to replace Adrian Sutil in October 2011, after the Korean Grand Prix. However, Force India team principal Vijay Mallya waited till December 16, the day after the team's Christmas party to announce Paul di Resta and Hulkenberg as their drivers for 2012.


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