BARCELONA (Reuters) - Nico Hulkenberg looked for the positives after finally getting his hands on Force India’s new Formula One car with barely any time left to test it before next month’s Australian season-opener.
The tall German propped up the timesheets with the slowest lap on Friday but at least there were 77 of them against his name.
”It’s alright, it’s a start, it’s a baseline,“ he told reporters at the Circuit de Catalunya. ”But I think we have a lot of work ahead of us.
”I can feel some areas where it’s a bit better but some areas are quite similar.
“I think we have a good crew together and usually we learn quite quickly,” added Hulkenberg. “In this case we have to learn quickly and then see where we can push ourselves in Melbourne.”
The season starts on March 15, with testing wrapping up this Sunday before the cars and freight are flown to Australia at the end of the week.
Force India finished sixth overall last year, a season marked by calls from them and other financially-troubled teams for a bigger share of the revenues to help them survive, and have struggled to get their car ready in time.
They missed the first four-day test in Jerez and brought the 2014 car to the second four-day session in Barcelona. Friday was the first running of the new one.
“Just from a pure running point of view I think it was very good,” said Hulkenberg whose team mate is Mexican Sergio Perez.
”Straight out of the box there was no issue, not one. Powertrain-wise and car-wise everything was good.
”We did 77 laps pretty much only in an afternoon, I think that’s quite remarkable. The boys have done a good job there, pushing really hard over the last couple of weeks.
“Obviously we are playing catch up at the moment, doing the checks that everyone has done weeks ago. But as far as I can see it was a positive day.”
Editing by Tony Jimenez