Nico Hulkenberg content with day one at the office with Sauber at Jerez test
New signing says high-speed performance tallied with expectations
By James Galloway at Jerez. Last Updated: 05/02/13 7:37pm
Nico Hulkenberg admits the 2013 Sauber's ability in high-speed corners has already made an impression on him after he drove his new team's car for the first time at Jerez on Tuesday.
The highly-regarded German driver has swapped Force India for their perennial midfield rivals this year and so the opening day of winter testing gave him his first true chance to compare how his new employer's latest car stacked up against his old one's 2012 version.
Testing on Sky Sports
From dawn to dusk, Sky Sports Online will be providing live interactive commentary from trackside at both Jerez and Barcelona on every day of testing this winter, while Sky Sports News will be providing regular live updates from the tests, starting with Jerez on February 5-8.
A round-up show featuring the day's interviews from Jerez will go out at 9pm each evening of the test on Sky Sports F1, followed by Ted Kravitz's Testing Notebook.
And Hulkenberg, whose lap count of 79 represented the third highest tally in the 11-car field, says the C32 matched his expectations in the circuit's faster turns.
Asked what the main differences were between his 2012 and 2013 cars, Hulkenberg replied: "Just roughly what I have seen when I raced [against] Sauber last year: their car looked pretty good in high speed [corners] and that's what I think again today I've felt happy with.
"It's still a different car though. First you have to get used to the look outside the cockpit, new steering wheel, new feeling, but it's going well."
Hulkenberg says his acclimisation to his new team has generally been a positive experience so far.
"[It has been] pretty good," the German explained.
"They've been pretty open and welcomed me warmly. I've been in Hinwil many times to get to know the people and to bed myself in to do as much as I could in theory. And it's been good."
Although refusing to outline a specific target for his first season at Sauber, the 25-year-old added that, although he had changed teams over the winter, his focus was on ensuring he quickly rediscovers the groove that saw him finish in the points in five of his final six races at Force India.
"Personally I just want to continue where I left 2012 in terms of the feeling I had in the car, how comfortable I was with the tyres and that side of things," Hulkenberg added.
"That's where I would like to start. How competitive we are we will see in the future."