RS18 launch : Interview with Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Driver
The Hulk is ready to rumble !
How are you looking forward to the season ahead?
It seems like a very long time since I sat in a car and raced and that is very much what I want to be doing. Certainly, when I have visited Enstone and seen everything going on with the development of the Renault R.S.18 I’m very enthused about the season ahead. Add that to the news from Viry about the development of the power unit and everything looks and sounds good; it’s all positive and there are exciting times ahead.
How well primed is The Hulk?
I’m ready to rumble. I’m feeling positive and optimistic in myself. We’re in a good position.
What could be possible in the season ahead?
We know what we want to achieve, but it’s a competitive sport and we know there are other teams out there with the same aspirations. We won’t know how good a job we’ve done with our car as everyone else has also been working hard on their car over the winter. This is what makes testing so interesting, and it’s when we’re on track that we’ll see how much progress has been made in the off-season.
How will your second season with the team be different from your first?
You want every season you contest to be better than the one before. 2017 was my first with the team, and there’s an element of learning different processes and personnel, but ultimately the goals are the same. For this year we want to build on the good position we built last season. 2017 was about bedding in, now I want to get ready to go. I get a good feeling, we have put a lot of work in over the winter and hard work usually pays off. I’m eager to get out there. Put me in the car.
How different is the team relative to where it was a year ago?
It’s bigger and there are more buildings in Enstone. The team is growing and it’s a rewarding experience to be part of this growth. The factory facilities are being improved and modernised. Everything is heading in a healthy direction and at healthy speed.
On track what differences do you expect to see?
Hopefully we’ll be battling for positions a bit further up the order. The cars will look quite similar apart from smaller shark fins and the addition of the halo. I like the look of the R.S.18 and I know everyone at Enstone and Viry has been dedicated to improving all areas of the package.
When we race, we’ll have new tyres and I’m looking forward to some softer allocations for Grands Prix. This should mean more opportunities for multi-stop races, which should make things more interesting.
How do you rate the Renault Sport Formula One Team driver line-up?
It’s strong. There’s a young, hungry and good driver who’s on the other side of the garage and he’ll keep me on my toes! Hopefully I can show him a few tricks too.