Nico Hulkenberg says his sights are firmly set on returning to Formula 1 racing in 2012, after becoming Force India's reserve driver.
The German made his grand prix debut with the Williams team in 2010, but was replaced by Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado for the upcoming season. With no racing seats available, Hulkenberg decided to join Force India as third driver. But the young German admits his goal is to return to racing as early as possible.
"Well, of course, I'd rather be a race driver, but the most important is that I stay within the F1 circus," said Hulkenberg. "Every driver wants to compete in races – that is what we are all driving for. But my motivation is to convince the team of my skills in order to be back in a race cockpit in 2012."
He added: "Last year was very important for me. I could gain lots of experience and had a good teammate. I learned a lot from him on how to help developing a car in the right direction. I'm bringing a high level of motivation and will give my very best to be helpful for the team."
Force India said Hulkenberg has signed a long-term partnership, and team boss Vijay Mallya admitted hiring the German was too good a chance to miss it.
"With Nico, signing him was too good an opportunity to let by," he said. "He showed a good racing head and talent and I was amazed by his control in Brazil last year. Together I think they are a formidable partnership and will help take us to the next level of performance."