Nico Hulkenberg: Renault switch like a new girlfriend after long marriage

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Nico Hulkenberg has joked that his switch from Force India to Renault is like getting a new girlfriend after a long marriage.

Hulkenberg ended his affiliation with Force India last season to join the French manufacturer, after two stints at the team totalling five years (one as a test driver). The German driver hopes to be part of Renault's rise back to the front of the grid and he feels he had achieved all he could at Force India, especially after its fourth-place finish in last year's championship.

Asked by the official F1 website if the move would help him avoid getting into a routine of being in one place, he replied: "Exactly -- after my long 'marriage' with Force India I felt I needed a new girlfriend! Jokes aside, I am deeply grateful to Force India and left on an absolute high note.

"We had the most successful year in the history of Force India: P4 in the constructors' championship. That almost felt like dreaming the impossible dream -- and the dream came true! Nevertheless, I am convinced that switching to a works team is the right step for me to achieve new successes. Both Renault and myself are challengers with good potential."

Renault struggled on its return as a factory outfit last year, but was hampered by the delayed takeover of Lotus at the end of 2015 and has since admitted to turning its attention to future campaigns at an early stage. Hulkenberg is fully aware of how expectations differ at Renault to Force India, especially given the fact it returned to the grid to rekindle the glory days of old.

"At Force India we were 'best of the rest' behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. But then again, we didn't have the prerequisites and sheer power of manufacturers, who enter the competition under completely different conditions.

"At Force India we turned a little into a lot. At Renault the next few years will be about turning a participant into a real contender -- one that makes use of the advantages of a manufacturer in the best way possible to achieve the racing success of the past. And believe me, we will!"