This year’s Formula 1 cars will look vastly different thanks to a new set of rules created to bring about closer racing. But Aston Martin reserve and development driver Nico Hulkenberg thinks the new cars might fall short of this mission.
The new cars, which were initially set to debut in 2021 but were delayed a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, follow a different set of technical regulations and aerodynamic principles. The 2022 F1 cars have simplified wings and fins to clean up their wake, slow the cars down and make closer racing possible.
Now, F1 teams are putting their new designs through their paces in the simulator ahead of on-track testing next month.
But as F1 teams near the end of their development for the 2022 car, Hulkenberg warned that the new rules might not deliver on everything they promised.
Having tried his hand at the new car in Aston Martin’s simulator, Hulkenberg took to everyone’s favorite social media platform to share his thoughts on this year’s challenger.
In a post on LinkedIn, Hulkenberg said:
“They aimed to be a bit slower, more challenging to drive, to have more focus on drivers that can make a difference rather car performance and aerodynamics dominate. From my initial experience however, the new cars are pretty damn fast and not necessarily slower than the last generation.
“The driving experience hasn’t changed that much either, at least in the simulator.
“It will be very interesting to see whether 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 still given and it’s difficult for me to imagine that following another car comfortably at these speeds will be easy.”
That doesn’t sound too good. And Hulkenberg isn’t the first driver to voice concerns about the impending regulation change.
Last year, McLaren driver Lando Norris warned that the 2022 competitors were much different to drive, and in a way that he said was “not as nice.” And his compatriot in papaya, Daniel Ricciardo, even had to reassure people that he didn’t think the new car was shit after its unveiling at Silverstone.
We’ll call that a mixed bag of reviews so far then.
But don’t worry — with a few weeks to go until testing for he 2022 season gets underway, we’re still deep in the secretive stages of the season. It’s a time when teams won’t give away the slightest hint as to the performance of their car.
But such cautionary words from drivers might mean we need to temper our expectations for the impending season. And as that new season approaches, I’ll leave it to Hulkenberg to summarize how we’re all feeling about the first race: “Anyhow, I hope we will positively surprised.”
You and me both Nico, you and me both.