Hulkenberg: New line-up not a handicap

Wednesday 16-January-2013 07:55

Sauber will start the 2013 season with two new drivers, but Nico Hulkenberg is confident it won't be a stumbling block for the team.

Former Force India man Hulkenberg has replaced Sergio Perez, who left for McLaren, while the more experienced Kamui Kobayashi made way for rookie Esteban Gutierrez at the Hinwil squad.

With everything "new" at Sauber this year, there have been suggestions that it could take them a while to get going again, however, Hulkenberg feels it won't be a handicap.

"I don't see any deficit to be honest," he told the official Formula One website.

"Indeed I am new in the team, but not new in F1, and Esteban has gained experience as a test driver with Sauber so he is not new to them. I would say there is no deficit, but rather the chance to make good acquaintances."

Although this will only be his third full season in Formula One, the 25-year-old will be the senior partner at Sauber.

"The fact that people are regarding me as the team leader doesn't change much," he said.

"At the Sauber F1 team both drivers get the same equipment and treatment. I will just work harder together with Esteban to bring the team forward."

Sauber finished an impressive sixth in the Constructors' Championship last season with four podiums and will no doubt be eager to kick on this season.

"I want to build on the good basis they had last year and keep working hard from there," Hulkenberg said.

"Of course I am looking for good results - in that sense the team and I are already looking for the same thing. It's a new season so we have to wait and see how things pan out and how strong our package is on the track."

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