Badger popped down to Sahara Force India this evening to hear what Nico Hulkenburg had to say about his 137 laps on his last day of testing in the VJM07 in Barcelona ahead of Melbourne.
On his days running:
“It was okay. Lots of laps done and the test programme was carried out. I think we are in a good direction, we are not quite there to be a massive surprise, but I feel that we are more or less where we finished the last season, which is a good position to start from.
Down the line, looking ahead to the next couple of months, there’s good potential in this car. It’s a very good platform that we have now to keep developing and building on, that’s our job and responsibility now to do that, but I feel optimistic.”
On development and reliability:
“If you look at the car it is fair to see that we didn’t reinvent the wheel (from last year), as we had something that worked for us at the back end of last year, so we are just trying to optimise it and to fine tune it.”
On who the team will be fighting against this year:
“I’d like to think that we could attack Williams, and be on their level. I think if we can manage that then we are pretty good, and from my feeling an impression of what I’ve seen so far there could also be a bit of a battle between us, Toro Rosso, and Red Bull.”
On the qualification changes:
“I’m not sure what the result will be now, obviously it is all a bit confusing to hear it three weeks before the start of the season and have the news like that, completely out of the blue.
I hadn’t heard any rumours – normally the is some leak somewhere and you hear rumours, but that really came out of nowhere. And then it’s not possible because of software reasons, I’m not sure where we end up now, so I’ll just keep tracking it.”
On the proposed Halo driver protection tested today:
“I’ve said it before; personally I’m not a big fan of it. I think safety and security in F1 and the standards are pretty high, and I would be happy to accept those risks and keep running as we are.
I don’t like the optics of it, and how it looks, and I think trying to eliminate every little bit of risk is moving in the wrong direction of making the sport a bit unattractive.”