But financial uncertainties and the failure of Lotus to conclude a deal with investors Quantum Motorsports in time meant Hulkenberg opted for Force India instead.
This year, Lotus' debut of its new E22 was delayed, and the team also lost team principal Eric Boullier to McLaren.
But Hulkenberg says that it remains possible Lotus could still deliver a strong season that would make him rue his call.
When asked if he had a sense of relief at not being at Lotus judging by its current situation, he said: "It is difficult to say.
"There is a bit of uncertainty and it is quite an unclear situation at the moment [for Lotus].
"But I don't know whether that affects their performance at the moment. That is still to be seen. We will see how it develops for them."
Although Hulkenberg admits that F1's formbook is still unclear after the first test, he has been encouraged by what he has found so far on his return to Force India.
"I think the team has grown," he said. "You can see when I came back to the factory first, the infrastructure has changed.
"There are more people as well and the team is growing, so it is a good signal."