Cyril Abiteboul says new Renault recruit Nico Hulkenberg will provide the French manufacturer with the right blend of experience and hunger in its bid to recover to the sharp end of the Formula One field in 2017.
Renault announced last Friday that the German driver had agreed terms to join its works team on a multi-year deal from 2017. The constructor has generally struggled upon its return as a fully-fledged outfit but Abiteboul is confident the signing of Hulkenberg bodes well for the future.
“We are delighted to welcome Nico – he’s experienced, yet still hungry for success and should complement our plans perfectly,” the Renault Sport Racing managing director said. “Certainly we’re looking forward to working with him in 2017 and beyond. It’s an exciting time for the team all round.
The excitement around Hulkenberg, once a highly-rated prospect in the F1 paddock, has somehow waned in light of his recent performances compared to team-mate Sergio Perez.
Renault team principal Frederic Vasseur, who saw the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours winner claim the 2008 Formula 3 Euro Series and 2009 GP2 Series titles for his ART team, insists Hulkenberg remains a top-notch racer that can lead a team.
“Nico is one of the drivers that has really made his mark, with in particular a GP2 title in his first year in the series. Only three drivers have done this so far: Nico, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
“He has succeeded in everything in his career to date, including Le Mans. He is also a real leader and able to motivate a team and take the troops with him. He has a lot of experience and is very fast; that is very important for us in this stage of our development.
“From a technical perspective, an experienced and conscientious driver can give precious feedback as well as knowing exactly what they want from the car. This allows the team to work fast and efficiently. We are really happy to have him with us.”
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