Nico Hülkenberg has reflected on the past Formula 1 season, sharing insights into the challenges and highlights of his time with the team. The driver believes that his team couldn’t develop sufficiently in 2023 and expresses disappointment about it.
Hülkenberg Balances Joy and Disappointment in Challenging F1 Season
The season largely met Hülkenberg’s expectations in terms of enjoyment and competition. He emphasized, “Despite the challenging season in a sporting context, I still enjoy being a race car driver. The benefits still outweigh the drawbacks,” explained the German to Auto Motor und Sport.
However, the disappointment stemmed from the lagging development of the car. Initially, Haas performed reasonably well, but as the season progressed, the car’s development fell behind expectations. “At the beginning of the season, we were there. But then, we couldn’t find any improvements in lap time, especially on the aerodynamic side. And that was our downfall at the end of the season,” noted Hülkenberg.
Inconsistent Haas: Hülkenberg’s F1 Tire Challenge
The Haas F1 team driver also highlighted the inconsistency in performance on Saturdays and Sundays. The car seemed to perform better on Saturdays, especially with new tires, but on Sundays, significant tire overheating issues arose. According to Hülkenberg, this phenomenon was mainly due to aerodynamic factors and the lack of downforce compared to rival teams. “A sliding car puts too much strain on the tire,” he explained. “I think our car on Saturday can disproportionately perform well with new tires. On Sunday, it’s exactly the opposite. And I’m probably not bad in qualifying either,” he added with a smile.
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Regarding the changes in Formula 1, Hülkenberg expressed the need for a balance between motorsport, entertainment, and business. He acknowledged the necessity of tapping into new markets and attracting young fans by adding a bit of spectacle to the race weekend: “Formula 1 is not just motorsport; it’s also entertainment and business.”
The driver concluded the interview by looking ahead to his future. Rumors about a potential move to Audi in the future were discussed, but Hülkenberg emphasized that it was too early to make definitive statements. His current focus is on improving performance at Haas for the upcoming Formula 1 season. “Let’s first see how the season goes next year,” said the German driver.
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