Hulkenberg targets 2012 race seat

Nico Hulkenberg has made no secret of his ambition to land a 2012 race seat with Force India, having signed up as third driver for 2011.

He won’t be the first driver to do a rookie season, take a year off, and bounce back, the likes of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso having done so in the past – although they had a busy year of testing.

“Well, of course I’d rather be a race driver, but the most important thing is that I stay within the F1 circus,” said the German. “Every driver wants to compete in races – that is what we are all driving for. But my motivation is to convince the team of my skills in order to be back in a race cockpit in 2012.

“I feel excited about my new home in F1. I am looking forward to working here and of course I am especially looking forward to driving the car for the first time. The team have made a huge leap forward within the last years and I want to be a part of the next step.

“Last year was very important for me. I could gain lots of experience and had a good team-mate. I learned a lot from him on how to help developing a car in the right direction. I’m bringing a high level of motivation and will give my very best to be helpful for the team.”

Meanwhile team principal Vijay Mallya is happy with his line-up, although he made no mention of the departing Tonio Liuzzi in the team’s official statement.

“I am genuinely excited by the drivers we will be fielding in 2011. I believe that the combination of talent we’ve assembled gives us one of the strongest line-ups on the grid: Adrian has matured into one of F1’s most consistent and highly-rated young drivers, while Paul is, I believe, a real star of the future. He has won in every category in his career and this base speed was in evidence when he got in the car on Fridays last year.

“With Nico, signing him was too good an opportunity to let by. He showed a good racing head and talent and I was amazed by his control in Brazil last year. Together I think they are a formidable partnership and will help take us to the next level of performance.”

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