Sky Sports F1 Exclusive: Nico Hulkenberg Q&A - The German discusses his future and missing out on the Ferrari seat
Johnny Herbert also puts your questions to the Sauber driver
By William Esler
Last Updated: 21/09/13 4:52pm
Johnny Herbert: There is a lot of talk about you at the moment - you are a popular boy! How do you feel about that?
Nico Hulkenberg: "Monza was a big success for us and also the highlight of the year for us so far. To be amongst the top three in qualifying was a great feeling. For us the year hasn't really gone to plan and the results have been disappointing in terms of competitiveness. I think everybody in the team was very happy by that (result)."
JH: Now that we know Kimi Raikkonen is going to Ferrari, how frustrating is that when you knew you were close?
NH: "For sure there is some disappointment involved if you have been linked to the drive and have had a bit of a touch and contact - I don't know how serious it was from Ferrari's side but I know how it was from my side."
JH: If it hadn't been Kimi, do you think it would have been you?
NH: "I don't know. I guess there was a realistic chance, but it is difficult to judge."
JH: Do you regret moving from Force India considering what has happened this year?
NH: "Well regret is a big word, but if you move teams you want to progress, you want to move forward and you want to get better and on paper we haven't got better - I have done worse in terms of results so from that point of view it is disappointing. The team is not doing it on purpose, they are pushing hard, they also want a competitive car. But this is life."
JH: What options do you think you have out there? Is Sauber an option?
NH: "Yeah, I wouldn't exclude my current team at the moment not at all. What I want basically is a competitive car, that is the most important thing so that I can show what I did at Monza regularly. But looking away from the top four teams there are a lot of question marks and bad rumours and so on. So it is not an easy situation."
Questions from the fans
If you sign for Lotus, are you prepared to not be paid to gain a competitive edge?
NH: "You look at the whole package. Everything needs to be right and the financial situation is important to make sure the team are able to keep the development of the car up. It is difficult because if you not inside the team it is hard to know and teams are not always going to tell you the truth in terms of the financial situation."
But as a driver would you be prepared to take a financial cut?
NH: "In exchange for a competitive good car? Absolutely I would be prepared to do that."
How hard is it switching teams? Does it make it harder to build consistency?
NH: "There is an element of that for sure. If you keep going from team to team - as I have done quite a bit now! - it takes some adapting time. All the work you do with your engineers, it is such a close relationship, that it takes time until all of that is smooth and 100% and it doesn't take much work to know that the other wants."
If you could pick any team-mate from the history of the sport, past or present, who would it be and why?
NH: "I'd pick James Hunt. Why? Because he was a great character and had a different way of living to nowadays, but it would be interesting to see again."