Williams starlet Nico Hulkenberg has said he is “confident” about his prospects for 2010, ahead of what will be the 23-year-old’s debut season.
The German is hotly tipped to follow in the footsteps of Lewis Hamilton, with whom he shares the honour of having won the GP2 series at first attempt, and namesake Nico Rosberg, who also made his name at Williams.
“I feel a lot more self confident and ready for F1,” said Hulkenberg, about his feelings for 2010. “Doing a year in GP2 helped me quite significantly and made me better in all aspects. I enjoyed that year and I definitely feel ready now for this big task.
“I had a great year in 2009 and I didn’t expect at all to be that competitive in GP2. I expected a very difficult year, but it turned out okay and the second half of the season was mega.”
His main priority, he said, would be to adapt to the environment of the sport. But he added that his experience in the lower formulae would stand him in good stead.
“If I can adapt as quickly as I did in GP2, then it will be very good. The testing amount is not huge before the first race, but I will do my best to get there as quickly as possible.”
Despite having tested for Williams for two years, Hulkenberg has acknowledged how big the jump to racing in F1 will be. But having veteran Rubens Barrichello alongside will help Hulkenberg learn the ropes, as well as providing a useful performance barometer.
“We are very happy to have Rubens. Sitting with him in the debrief, with his input and his experience, you can really hear it when you talk to him. It is really good to have him.”