Williams’s German test driver Nico Hulkenberg believes he will still have a chance of breaking onto the 2010 Formula 1 grid despite the testing restrictions imposed for this year.
The 21-year-old protégé of Michael Schumacher’s manager Willi Weber faces the same problem as many young testers trying to earn a promotion to an F1 race seat with chances to impress now reduced following the introduction of an in-season testing ban and a 15,000km cap on overall mileage during the year.
But while Hulkenberg concedes the cost-cutting regulations are hardly ideal for rising stars such as himself, he says they will have to adapt to the new arrangements.
“The testing ban makes it very hard for drivers wanting to break into Formula 1 because we cannot get enough experience with the car or the team,” he told the official F1 website.
“It’s a fact of life though now, so we just have to deal with it.
“It’s not an impossible situation.”
Indeed Hulkenberg, currently lying third in the winter GP2 Asia Series standings ahead of his debut in the main championship with Lewis Hamilton’s old ART team in May, says his plan remains to graduate to a Williams race seat in 2010.
“I do want to stay with Williams in 2010 and race for them,” he added.
The Emmerich-born youngster has enjoyed a successful progression through the motorsport ranks so far, with his German nationality and Weber connections unsurprisingly seeing him tagged as the ‘next Schumacher’.
Since winning an impressive nine races driving for his country in A1GP in 2006, he won the Formula 3 Euroseries at the second attempt last year with ART.
Hulkenberg has been a Williams test driver since December 2007 and gave the team’s latest FW31 its track debut in Portugal last month.