Nico Hulkenberg states that the time preparing for his full-time Formula 1 return consisted of “intense” gym sessions.
Hulkenberg has been signed to race for Haas for the 2023 campaign, replacing compatriot Mick Schumacher who was dropped by the squad at the end of last year.
2019 was the last year that Hulkenberg raced full-time in the sport, having had a handful of substitute outings for the Racing Point/Aston Martin team since 2020.
Outside of those races, Hulkenberg has not raced competitively and has had to re-ignite his fitness level ahead of his comeback.
The 35-year-old had his on-track debut with Haas at last year’s post-season test from Abu Dhabi.
He has also gathered some experience behind the wheel of the 2023 VF-23 challenger at a Silverstone shakedown earlier this month.
Speaking about his preparations for his return, Hulkenberg said: “The off-season was a mix of things.
“There was a lot of gym, to be honest, it was an intense two months that I used pretty well to build up the physical strength again.
“Obviously there was Christmas-time with family and friends. All and all it was an enjoyable time, but I’m sharp, fresh and ready to go now.”
Hulkenberg’s F1 return was only announced at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, however the German says that he started conversations “around the summer-time”, insisting that he had to be “patient” through the process.
Hulkenberg will partner Kevin Magnussen at the team, who is entering his sixth season with the Haas F1 squad.
With Haas possessing one of the most experienced driver line-ups on the grid, Hulkenberg has backed himself and Magnussen to push the team forward.
“We [Hulkenberg and Magnussen] are only getting to know each other now, really,” he commented. “It’s difficult to judge a driver’s driving style if you haven’t done a few races together.
“You really need to see data to see and be able to compare. That will take some time before we can answer that but working relationship-wise, I have no concerns whatsoever.
“I think he’s very professional, very experienced too. We’ll push each other to push the team forward.”