Hulkenberg delivered an impressive performance throughout the Austrian Grand Prix weekend to give Force India its first top six finish of the season, helping move the team up to fifth in the constructors’ championship. With the result coming a week after Hulkenberg’s success at Le Mans, Fernley told F1i his driver has gained more confidence in his own talent.
“I don’t think we ever had any doubts about Nico’s ability,” Fernley said. “What Le Mans did was only endorse what we’ve always believed he’s capable of. So there’s no surprises for us for Nico.
“I think what it’s done is given him confidence, which is when you go for a period of time perhaps without getting the recognition you should do, or maybe the moves that you would like to get, then you start to question yourself. Le Mans probably helped him more than it did in terms of questioning our own belief in him.”
And Fernley says it is now down to Force India to capitalise on Hulkenberg’s form by providing him with machinery to exploit his potential.
“There was a bounce in his step. I think it would be wrong to say there wasn’t a bounce in his step. I think that’s wonderful to have and hopefully we can reward him with a car that he can really use from Silverstone onwards.”
Click here for the gallery of Raikkonen and Alonso's crash at the Austrian Grand Prix