It’s never too late to rejoin your former team, be it any sport. On Tuesday, 26-year-old Formula One driver Nico Hulkenberg left Sauber to return to Force India, with whom he spent two seasons, 2011 and 2012.
“I am happy and excited to be back. It’s a team I know very well. I have fond memories that went a long way in making my decision to come back here even easier. It really feels nice coming back to the people who you’ve worked with in the past,” Hulkenberg said in a teleconference.
With Force India finishing sixth in the drivers’ standings in the recently-concluded season, Hulkenberg saw a lot of scope for improvement. “We need to get off to a good start, need to adapt well to the racing conditions and the change in rules with every passing season. The first race might start in March (March 16, 2014 with Australian GP) but our groundwork and research for the season has already begun. Coming back after a year, I’ve seen the technical aspect of Force India go up a notch. You can’t afford to sit back and be happy with what you’ve achieved last season,” said Hulkenberg, who finished 10th with Sauber this year.
“Vijay (Mallya) and I had this talk in the paddock during the Malaysian GP. It was a normal conversation where he’d asked me if I’d like to make a return next season. I never lost contact with Force India and when the time came where I had to make a decision on my racing future, Force India was able to answer most of them,” he said.
The Indian GP that won’t be part of the 2014 calendar was something Hulkenberg was looking forward to. “That is something that I will really miss having come back to Force India. The one thing that I won’t miss is the Delhi traffic,” he joked.
Career: Finished 14th with Williams in the 2010 season; Was a test driver with Force India in 2011; Finished 11th in the 2012 season; Scored 51 points to finish 10th with Sauber in 2013