Nico Hulkenberg got his first taste of on-track F1 action since last November’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in Barcelona today as he completed 36 laps of running behind the wheel of the old Force India car.
The team opted to skip the first test in Jerez and is well behind schedule with its new car, the VJM08. However, the team plans to introduce it at next week’s test in Barcelona ahead of the first race of the year in Australia on March 15.
Hulkenberg’s day was cut short due to an issue with the power unit, but the German driver was still pleased to be back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car on Sunday.
“It was a very nice sensation to be back in a Formula 1 car and getting the feeling of being in the cockpit again,” Hulkenberg said. “It was exciting and I really enjoyed my time driving the car and working with the engineers after the winter break.
“Unfortunately our day was shortened by an issue with the power unit, something we will look into once the car is back at the factory. This, together with the very windy and cold conditions, made our work harder but every lap is valuable in pre-season.
“I am really looking forward to the final test next week and to try the new car. I am especially looking forward to Melbourne and starting racing again.”
Force India is yet to confirm on what day the VJM08 will debut in Barcelona next week, but it is crucial that the team does manage to get it out ahead of the Australian Grand Prix so that any major issues can be ironed out accordingly.