Tag Archives: Nico Hulkenberg

Formula 1

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Bahrain Test Two - Day 3 - Sakhir, Bahrain
Vijay’s Vision
Team Principal, Dr Vijay Mallya, looks ahead to the start of the 2014 season with anticipation.
Dr Mallya, it’s been a very busy winter – how have things gone for Sahara Force India?
It’s been a massive challenge, especially for a smaller team like ours. That was why we put so many plans in place early last year to be ready for what has become a very different Formula One. All the hard work has paid off, but it has been a very steep learning curve and a huge undertaking to get where we are today.
As you say it’s a different Formula One. A new direction for the sport…
It’s the first time for many years that Formula One has been properly aligned with the automotive industry. The prospect of Formula One driving forward technical advances for road cars is a very exciting one.
You attended the final test in Bahrain. Were you encouraged by what you saw?
It was certainly a good week in terms of mileage because we completed the second highest number of laps of all the teams. So we can be satisfied with the amount and quality of the work we were able to carry out. We’ve learned a lot of things – by no means everything – and I think we can feel quietly confident.
What can we expect in Melbourne?
It’s never easy to make predictions and this year there are so many more unknowns than usual. I think we can arrive in Melbourne feeling happy about the work we’ve done over the winter. How that will translate to a race weekend is hard to say, but I think it’s important that an element of unpredictability has returned. There is plenty of interest around Formula One at the moment and that’s a good thing.
Driver’s View: Nico Hulkenberg
Nico Hulkenberg reflects on a busy pre-season and looks forward to Melbourne.
Nico, how satisfied are you with the work completed over the winter?
I think we’re pretty satisfied. In the final week in Bahrain we averaged 100 laps per day and made good progress. You would always like more time to test, but we’ve done as much as we could.
2014 brings new procedures and a new way of driving – do you feel comfortable already?
I feel comfortable, but I think this feeling will grow stronger during the season. The cars are different compared to last year: the corner speeds are lower because there is less downforce and the engine behaviour is quite different. So it’s a new challenge and it’s difficult to tell just from testing how it will feel during a race weekend.
How much has the car improved since the first test in Jerez?
The car has come a long way since Jerez. We made steps at each test and I think we made very good use of the time we had available. We signed off a lot of things during testing and I don’t think we’re in bad shape. There is always more you can do, but we’re pretty well prepared.
Have you set any expectations for this weekend?
It’s not easy to say. Testing only tells you so much, but I think we still have some performance in our pocket. I just hope we are competitive and can race for good points.
You’ve always been unlucky on race day in Melbourne. Surely you are due a change of luck…
It’s been three races in Melbourne and I’ve still not completed a racing lap! They say bad luck comes in groups of three so hopefully attempt number four will work out better!
Driver’s View: Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez gears up for the start of the season.
Sergio, the start of the season is here. Are you looking forward to racing in Melbourne?
It’s the first race of the year so I’ve been looking forward to this moment for a long time. I hope we can have a great start of the season.
How have you found the new generation of Formula One cars to drive?
The new rules are interesting and the cars are quite challenging. There is less downforce now, but there is a lot of torque from the engine so it’s quite a different feeling. You also have to think about managing the fuel load and we know that Melbourne is a circuit with high fuel consumption.
Do you feel busier in the car this year?
Yes, there are more things to do in terms of managing the systems on the car so it’s more complicated than last year. The pre-season testing has given us enough time to get to know the new systems so I don’t foresee any issue come the first race.
How would you sum up the pre-season so far?
I think we are feeling well prepared going into Melbourne. Testing has had its ups and downs, as always, but we ended the second Bahrain test in a good position. There are still areas we need to improve, but I think we have made a good start and we can build on that.
How are you feeling about your first race weekend with Sahara Force India?
It’s always a good feeling to start with a new team. I had a full winter to get to know everyone and I’m feeling ready now. The team is very hungry and I hope we can achieve some great things this year.

F1 Testing Bahrain day 1

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Bahrain Test One - Day 1 - Sakhir, Bahrain


Bahrain Test Report, 19 February 2014
Sahara Force India and Nico Hulkenberg finished at the top of the timesheets after the first day of testing at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Day One Statistics:
Chassis: VJM07-01
Laps: 79 laps
Mileage: 428 km
Fastest lap: 1:36.880
Classification: P1
Nico Hulkenberg: “A very positive and satisfying day. We had a busy programme and we learned a lot. Time in the car is very valuable at the moment and so it feels good to cover so many laps and even complete two long runs at the end of the day. That gave me a chance to see how the car behaves and to start getting a feel for it, which was not something I was able to do in Jerez. It’s great that we’ve already done some set-up work and started to improve the drivability of the car. But it’s still very early stages; we are learning with every lap and we face a very steep learning curve in the coming days. ”
Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer:
“Our Bahrain test has got off to a positive start. 79 laps is a good effort and it’s just what we need at this early stage of the VJM07’s development. The aero work this morning ran smoothly with the constant speed runs giving us some aero data we required. In the afternoon we started evaluating the soft and medium tyres, and running through different set-up options – changing ride heights and rebalancing the car. We ended the day with a couple of longer runs on the soft tyres.”  
Test driving schedule
Nico Hulkenberg will be back in the VJM07 tomorrow. Sergio Perez will drive on Friday and Saturday.
Driver: Sebastian Vettel
Car: RB10
Laps: 14
Best time: 1:40.224
Circuit length: 5.412km
Fastest Lap: N Hulkenberg (1:36.880)
Infiniti Red Bull Racing today continued its pre-season preparations in Bahrain where Sebastian Vettel put in 14 laps. After a long build this morning, the champion made it out on track, but his progress was ended late in the afternoon by a mechanical issue.
“Obviously we’re not happy with where we are now and we have a long way ahead of us. The first gut feeling from the car is OK, but we need more running,” he said. “It’s not easy to find a quick fix, but I think we understand the problems. We sorted out the issues from Jerez and we were able to do some laps today. However, very often you fix one problem and another pops up, which is what happened. That’s testing. We all knew this year was a massive challenge and we knew it would be difficult. We obviously didn’t want this, but it is what it is and we are working flat out to solve the problems.”
Race Engineering Co-ordinator Andy Damerum added: “It’s been a very long two weeks for everyone back at the factory and I have to say that while it might not appear so on the surface there has been a big improvement since Jerez. We are obviously playing catch-up and for us this was very much like a first test, so we were sending the car out to do one lap, then two and trying to build from there. In that regard the laps completed were good. However, we were sidelined by a mechanical gremlin but one unrelated to the issues in Jerez. That’s the way of testing. All these problems have to be ironed out and only reveal themselves as you progress. We’ll look at solving that issue now and we’re itching to get out on track again tomorrow.”
Lap times

1. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) 1:36.8

2. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 1:37.8

3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:37.9

4. Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) 1:38.2

5. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1:40.2

6. Adrian Sutil (Sauber) 1:40.4

7. Robin Frijns (Caterham) 1:42.5

8. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) 1:44.3

9. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) 1:44.8

10. Felipe Massa (Williams); Jules Bianchi (Marussia) no time

F1Weekly podcast # 647

VJM07 Side

Clark and Nasir review the 2013 season and…

Sahara Force India revealed its dynamic new look today, offering fans and media a first impression of how the VJM07 will look when it is officially presented at next week’s Jerez test session.
The new livery brings a fresh trackside image for the team with the introduction of black alongside the traditional colours of saffron, white and green.
“The VJM07 looks stunning and the new livery reflects the way Sahara Force India is evolving,” says Vijay Mallya. “I’ve always believed our cars have been the most eye-catching, but adding black as a main colour gives us a fierce new look.”
Key to the new look is the introduction of several commercial partners. The logo of telecommunications brand, Claro, appears on the engine cover and signals the start of a multi-year deal with the famous Mexican brand. There will be prominent Claro branding on the drivers’ suits and team kit.
The rear wing end plate now includes branding from Roshfrans, the lubricant oils specialists, following last week’s announcement of a multi-year partnership with the team.
The new livery also sees branding from Astana, a foundation that supports sporting initiatives by promoting the capital city of Kazakhstan. The Astana logo is positioned on the side of the VJM07’s nose.
 “It’s been a busy winter for us on the technical and commercial front,” explains Vijay. “When I founded the team my first ambition was to launch the first Indian team on the grid, but the next stage in our evolution is to develop a global brand. I think that ambition is reflected in the partners we are working with and our world class driver line-up. It certainly feels as though there is the potential for 2014 to be our strongest season yet.”
As well as new colours, the changes beneath the skin of the VJM07 are even more extensive due to the new technical regulations. “The new rules have presented us with a huge challenge, but I’m very proud of the approach we have taken and the direction of the technical team,” says Vijay. “It will be fascinating to see how different teams have interpreted the rules and at this stage it’s impossible to predict who has done the best job.”
Technical Director, Andrew Green, is quick to emphasise just how different the VJM07 is compared to its predecessor: “Almost every single part is a new design, from the front wing right back to the diffuser. The genetics of the VJM07 still lie in the 2013 car, but we’ve had to achieve the same results in a slightly different way.”
Andrew says accommodating the power unit was the biggest challenge: “It’s been a massive job to accommodate all the changes to the power unit – it’s the biggest change I’ve witnessed in the sport since I started in 1990. Cooling has been the biggest challenge with most of last summer taken up trying to understand the cooling requirements of the power unit, and how best to optimise it in the chassis.”

Formula 1

Dr Vijay Mallya and Nico Hulkenberg 2

Sahara Force India is delighted to confirm that Nico Hulkenberg will return to Sahara Force India in 2014 after agreeing a multi-year deal.
The 26-year-old German is no stranger to Sahara Force India having spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons with the team. The already strong working relationship will ensure a smooth transition as the team moves into the new era of Formula One™.
Sahara Force India’s full 2014 driver line-up will be announced in due course.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: “I’m delighted to see Nico back with Sahara Force India. When he drove for us in 2012, it became clear Nico was an exceptional talent and he has continued to impress everyone in the paddock with his strong performances this season. Having Nico in our line-up is a real statement of intent and a huge boost for everyone associated with the team. We have high hopes and expectations for 2014 and by signing Nico we have put ourselves in the best position to achieve those objectives and enjoy what could be our most competitive season yet.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “I am happy to come back to Sahara Force India. The team is aiming high for next year and I believe that the experience I have gained over the years will help us achieve those goals. I genuinely believe we can have a competitive package in 2014. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about the Mercedes engine as well, so I think there is a lot to be excited about for next year. I know this team and I can see their determination; it’s a great bunch of people and we all share the same hunger for success.”

Motorsports Mondial

The Kaufmann Collage

Our friends in the small German town of Wolsfeld had another big season in Formula Renault Euro Cup this year. We look at their success story over the years.

Creaming the competition. On the Russian front, Lars Kaufmann prepares for another battle in the Formula Renault Euro Cup at the Moscow Raceway. Enthusiastic and ever smiling on race weekends, “Larsi” has guided many a young talent to bigger and better things.

Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez both won Formula BMW titles with his team in dominating fashion. They may both drive for the same Formula 1 team in 2013!

Well done, Vandoorne. The 20-year old Belgian won the 2012 Formula Renault Euro Cup after a season long duel with Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat. Vandoorne was on the podium in 11 of the 14 races, winning four times and had the same number of pole positions.

Kaufmann team also participated in selected Formula Renault 2.0 NEC events. Stoffel stole the show with five wins from seven races, and appeared on the podium in all but one race.

The future is bright for this young racer from Rumbeke. He is an ex-Belgian karting champion and we may very well see him in World Series by Renault in 2013.

P1. Yesterday and today. Robin Frijns. The Flying Dutchman. The young man from Maastricht started his single-seater career with Kaufmann Racing in the 2009 Formula BMW Europe Championship, scoring a last lap victory at Silverstone.

The following season Frijns and the Kaufmann boys fought a season long battle against Jack Harvey. Trailing the English driver from season opener in Barcelona, where Frijns was taken out on the opening lap, championship lead changed hands at Monza in the season finale.

In 2011, with the demise of Formula BMW Europe series, driver and team moved up to the ultra-competitive Formula Renault Euro Cup where fields of 30-plus cars are common. Frijns fought an intense battle with young Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr. and was able to secure his second championship in as many years.

Frijns joined the British Fortec team for his rookie season in Formula Renault  3.5, aka World Series by Renault. After an impressive season which started with victory in his debut race at Montmelo, Frijns was man of the moment all season long.

The championship came down to the final round, also staged in Barcelona, with French driver Jules Bianchi holding a slim lead over the Dutch driver. Frijns regained his championship lead with second place finish in race one.

Many expected a repeat of last year’s final race of the championship. The combatants then, Robert Wickens and Jean-Eric Vergne, made contact and only Wickens was able to continue on his way to championship glory.

Boys will be boys. This year history repeated itself. With less than 10 laps to go Bianchi passed Frijns going into turn one. The Dutchman immediately came under pressure from Dane, Kevin Magnussen, and made a bold move to block Jan’s kid and at the same time re-take lost position from Bianchi. The two made contact and Bianchi was beached in the gravel pit.

Frijns went on to finish the race and claim his third championship in as many years. But won’t be expecting any French champagne over Christmas holidays from Bianchi.


Esteban. Amigo from Mexico. Esteban Gutierrez is one of the hottest young talents in motor racing today. The man from Monterrey started his singe-seater career in the 2007 US iteration of Formula BMW. For the first two races he was on pole, and at the end of the season was Rookie of the Year.

In 2008, Gutierrez joined the Kaufmann team for the European version of the same series. Seven wins, six of them in a row, won him the championship and marked him as a driver destined for a very successful career.

His entry into F1 orbit is expected to be announced before the F1 season is over.

Suvanto. Success in America. Karting sensation from Nurmo, Petri Suvanto sampled his first taste of single seater racing in the 2010 Formula BMW Europe Championship. The Finnish driver then crossed the pond and won the USF2000 series in his rookie season.

Suvanto was fifth this year in the Star Mazda series. Enjoying living and racing in the United States, the Finn hopes to be the first driver from his country to win the Indy 500.

The Hulk. Another mega talent from Deutschland, Nico Hulkenberg is heading for a successful career in Formula 1. His double “mega” pass on Romain Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton in the recent Korean Grand Prix will be one of the highlights of the 2012 season.

The journey for the Emmerich racer started with Kaufmann team and the 2005 Formula BMW Germany, where he became the first rookie driver to win the overall championship. Hulkenberg had a more impressive rookie season in this series than his fellow German who now appears to be headed for his third straight F1 championship.

Other championship success for Hulkenberg include F3 Euro series and GP2.


The Kaufmann Division. Dr Mario Theissen is flanked by Kaufmann team principal and manager. Der Vater, Josef Kaufmann, raced himself and established his own racing team in 1982. He finished fourth in that year’s German F3 Championship, just behind his driver and teammate, a young Austrian who would go on win F1 races for Ferrari and McLaren; Gerhard Berger.

The team also ran Arie Luyendijk, now running an art gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona but better known for two wins at the Brickyard.

In 1985, Volker Weidler gave the team their first championship success by winning  the German F3 series.

Other drivers to pass through the Kaufmann academy include Frank Biela, Sebastien Buemi, Nico Hulkenberg, Adrien Tambay, now in DTM with Audi and Marco Wittmann, now a works BMW driver



The Lars philosophy……………..


                – Nasir Hameed

Formula 1

Nico Hülkenberg has been confirmed as one of the two team drivers for the Sauber F1 Team in season 2013. The 25-year-old German won the GP2 Series in 2009, made his Formula One debut in 2010 with the WilliamsF1 Team and managed to capture a pole position in his maiden year. He is currently driving for Sahara Force India and ranks 12th in the Drivers’ World Championship with 49 points after 17 out of 20 races. Hülkenberg’s best Formula One race result this season was at the Belgian Grand Prix, where he finished fourth on the challenging Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn commented: “We’ve been observing Nico for some time now and his performances have been very persuasive. That was the case in GP2 and has continued into Formula One. An obvious highlight was how he scored pole at Interlagos in 2010 despite the most challenging external conditions. He clearly showed that he can seize the chance if it arises. But high spots like that are one thing; systematic teamwork is another – and on that score I have confidence in Nico too. I’m sure he will fit in very well with the Sauber F1 Team. We look forward to working together with him.”

Nico Hülkenberg’s reaction: “I’m really looking forward to working with the Sauber F1 Team. It’s a well-placed team and very competitive. Plus it’s a team in which young drivers have repeatedly delivered exceptional performances. I would like to take up that baton. The Sauber F1 Team is currently going through a very positive development and I’m certain that together we can achieve a lot. Until that time I will remain fully focused on my job with the Sahara Force India Team. I’d like to thank the management at Sahara Force India for giving me the chance to return to Formula One as a team driver.”

The Sauber F1 Team will announce its second driver for the 2013 season at a later date.