F1 will introduce new technical regulations for this year, with an overhaul of the aerodynamic regulations that could upset the hierarchy.
The aim of the new regulations is to make the field more competitive and allow drivers to run more wheel to wheel without losing as much downforce due to the dirty air coming from the cars ahead.
The cars were expected to be several seconds slower than the 2021 models, although much of that lap time has since been recouped.
The 2022 cars will first hit the track during pre-season testing at the end of February, but the drivers have struggled to familiarize themselves with the models in the simulators, getting a first glimpse of what to expect this year. .
Hulkenberg last raced full-time in F1 until 2019 with Renault, but made three appearances for Racing Point in 2020, replacing the drivers with COVID-19. Last year he worked with Aston Martin as a reserve and development driver.
Writing on his LinkedIn page, Hulkenberg explained how his first findings with the 2022 car in his simulator running suggested that they wouldn’t be much slower or different to drive, and that he wasn’t sure the problem was. dirty air would be solved.
“They aimed to [make the cars] a little slower, more difficult to drive, to focus more on the drivers who can tell the difference instead [than] the car’s performance and aerodynamics dominate, ”said Hulkenberg.
“In my initial experience, however, the new cars are pretty darn fast and not necessarily slower than the last generation. The driving experience hasn’t changed much either, at least in the simulator.
Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point RP20, in the car’s cockpit
Photo By: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
“It will be very interesting to see if these cars can really follow the car in front better. In the simulator the cornering speeds are extremely high so the risk of dirty air is always present and it is hard for me to imagine that following another car comfortably at these speeds will be easy.
“Anyway, I hope we will [be] positively surprised. Once pre-season testing begins, drivers and teams will find out how the cars really behave on the track. “
Hulkenberg believed the new regulations would be a “huge learning curve for everyone involved,” and although he felt it was “too early for predictions,” he expected teams of the past few years are again in the lead.
Hulkenberg revealed in September that his hopes of returning to F1 full-time in 2022 were over. The German driver performed tests for McLaren’s IndyCar team, but ruled out a move to the series for personal reasons.