Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber, 2012

Weight no issue for picking 2014 driver – Boullier

2014 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber, 2012Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says weight will not influence their choice of driver for 2014.

The new 2014 engine regulations are expected to place driver weight at a premium as some teams are struggling to reach the revised minimum weight limit.

Nico Hulkenberg has admitted that his higher weight, due to him having an above-average height for a racing driver, is a problem for F1 car designers.

However Boullier indicated Lotus would be willing to take a heavier driver next year as they search for a replacement for Kimi Raikkonen.

“We?re more interested in the talent and potential of a driver rather than the difference of a few kilos,” he said.

“We have confidence in our development team to be able to produce a car for the 2014 regulations which should be competitive in the hands of any driver we consider for next year.”

2013 Korean Grand Prix

Browse all 2013 Korean Grand Prix articles

Image ?? Sauber

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

74 comments on “Weight no issue for picking 2014 driver – Boullier”

  1. Has he dropped a hint?

    1. or pressuring those with funding to bring more fund LOL

        1. someone said after his first lap stint in Korea: “Massa will need even more backing now!”

    2. That’s what I thought!

      He could well be telling us that Hulkenberg is on his way!!

    3. It’s pretty obvious that’s the implication, hence the article picture ;)

      1. Especially now they know their LWB car is competitive.

  2. So just give that seat to Hulkenburg. It’s not rocket science.

    1. How long will they wait?
      Maybe they’ll announce it only in the USA as they got sponsors there, but the earlier they’ll sign their new driver, the better it is for him to adapt the team

      1. They have already said that they need to secure their funding before they decide on a driver.

        1. I guess its partly tied too. Some backers might be more interested if they have influence over driver choices, others might be showing more thoughts towards taking the best that can be had to come on board.

          1. And the driver may want to see some financial guaranties before jumping from the frying pan.

    2. What about McLaren? Instead of going after Alonso who’s staying at Ferrari, they should just get Hulk.

      1. Even thinking about the possibility of him going to Mclaren makes me tingle. His ability to wrestle performance out of a car is what they’re missing at the moment.

  3. Nice. Now sign Hulkenberg without blinking =)

  4. What’s going on here, only a decade ago we had cars that were consistently and considerably underweight for the then 600 kg minimum, but now 690 kgs is somehow hard to attain even though the (almost) fixed COG means there’s no point for increasing free ballast beyond a certain point?

    1. KERS batteries are heavy. Very heavy ;)

    2. I guess the cars will be much lighter by the end of 2014, as the power-unit components are developed and lightened by Renault and whoever makes the batteries (maybe the Duracell bunnies). Might be sensible to go for reliability early on.

      1. Duracell bunnies


    3. The COG is fixed fore to aft, not in height. You want to lower discretionary mass in the car, no mater what. Driver mass will always be an issue in driver choice, unless the driver who is heavier somehow concentrates all of his added mass in his bottom. Which would be weird.

      1. Or female.

        I know; firing squad at dawn.

  5. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    8th October 2013, 9:19

    Please please please give Hulkenberg the seat! He’s done more than enough this year to deserve it.

    1. @tophercheese21 – What guarantee is there that Lotus will be competitive? James Allison is off to Ferrari, and the team has serious questions hanging over its finances.

      Hulkenberg has already moved from one team to another under the belief that the new team would be competitive – only to find out that it really wasn’t.

      1. maarten.f1 (@)
        8th October 2013, 12:24

        @prisoner-monkeys I think it’s the same if he stays at Sauber. You’ll never have that certainty whether a car will be successful next year. Look at McLaren, who would’ve expected that?

        Maybe on hindsight he should’ve stayed at Force India, but hindsight is always perfect, isn’t it?

      2. @prisoner-monkeys
        Equally there is no guarantee that Sauber will become competitive.
        And Sauber is also in deep financial problems.
        So I don’t see what the advantage of staying with Sauber would be.

      3. Actually you make a very good point, apart from Mercedes and Red Bull which teams are we “certain” are going to be competitive next year?

        Ferrari might fight for the constructors thanks to their super consistent drivers but they’ve shown in recent years they don’t have what it takes to develop a car through the season.
        Mclaren are in the same position, we saw this year that they have serious flaws somewhere in the process of designing a new car, plus who knows how quick their drivers will be.

        As for the rest of the teams, they simply don’t have the budget to compete, even if they come up with a quick car at the beginning.

      4. It really is a gamble to speculate which teams are the best bet for next season with all the changes. Staying at Sauber might not be the worst idea for Hulkenberg. Their developments are getting better, their finances should be more stable now, staying would provide some continuity for Hulkenberg and Sauber.

        Moving to Lotus could be a bigger gamble, but they have managed to continue their competitive ways through the season so far. Next season is anybody’s guess at this point. For all teams.

  6. they just want kubica back and he was always more heavy than others

    1. Kubica is being lined up for a joint WRC-WTCC campaign with Citroen.

    2. I promise you nobody there wants Kubica back.

      1. Is there a particular reason for that?

        1. The main reason would be that Kubica simply lacks the mobility in his arms to be able to drive an F1 car for an extended period of time. Not only that, I think that he cannot meet the FIA’s requirement for a driver to be able to get out of a car without assistance within the maximum allotted time and would therefore fail the FIA’s medical tests.

          If you look at the footage from the WRC events he has competed in, his wrist is almost locked in position – the lack of dexterity, coupled with a restricted training regime that would probably have seen his overall physical fitness decline, puts him at a significant disadvantage. Add to that the fact that he hasn’t driven an F1 car in five years, and overall the odds of Kubica ever returning to F1 are pretty minuscule.

        2. not being able to move you arm enough to drive the car is kind of a deal breaker.

          1. He’s doing superbly well to be on course to win WRC-2 in his first season and with only one arm fully working then…

          2. @lancer033@cyclonetog‘s wording implied that the relationship between Kubica and Lotus was broken beyond repair and that everyone at Enstone was happy to see the back of him.

        3. Im sure WRC requires more arms/hands movement than F1!

          1. But the cockpit allows for greater freedom of movement. In a Formula 1 car, the driver is pinned into a fixed position, and his arms limited by the bodywork surrounding him. This is not the case in the WRC.

          2. But the cockpit isn’t so restrictive, which is the problem he faces. He can pivot his entire arm okay I assume, but for really tight corners in an F1 car it requires far more wrist action.

        4. @prisoner-monkeys yes there is a reason for that!

        5. Is there a particular reason for that?


      2. actually they have said they would consider to take him back – if he is recovered. at this stage he still isn’t, and will likely drive for citroen in WRC next year, and will help develop the WTCC car for Sebastien Loeb, along with appearing in a one-off race.
        at this last weekends French WRC round, Kubica said he is not in discussions with lotus.
        Kubica needs to finish 3rd in his last WRC2 appearance to claim the championship, – that is if his main competitor wins his final WRC2appearance for the year. Kubica has won 4 wrc2 rounds, has one 2nd place and one 6th place (that was in his first outing) from 6 events.

    3. It would be fantastic for them to have Hulkenberg and Kubica. Being there next year is probably out of the question because, as PM said, Citroen are lining him up for a WRC drive. But if he can continue to show good form in the WRC and keeps up his recovery, then why couldn’t he be considered for a comeback one day? Raikkonen returned at 32, and will drive for Ferrari again at 34, so Kubica, 28, still has time.

  7. I’d rather see Hulk at Mclaren

    1. And McLaren would rather keep Perez or get Alonso before considering Hulkenberg.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys

        So McLaren’s plan is to drop JB and get Alonso paired with Checo for the sake of Slim’s cash?

        JB for Lotus?

        1. @jcost – No, the plan would be to partner Alonso with Button, assuming they could get Alonso. McLaren doesn’t need the money Perez brings the way other teams need money. And why do you assume Button would be let go? After all, he is the McLaren driver who has had his contract renewed.

          But going by some of Martin Whitmarsh’s recent comments, they want to keep Perez alongside Button. They’re chasing Alonso, but it seems to be an outside choice.

        2. Given that JB has a contract with McLaren already for next year (as reported by both JB and MW on Sky), I would suggest that that is an unlikely scenario.

          Get rid of Perez and get Hulkenburg for the second seat, then the car will at least fit both drivers

        3. I don’t know why some people seem so desperate for JB to be out of Mclaren or even the sport. He’s a top quality driver who consistently delivers and one of the most popular. Unfortunately he’s also one of the most ridiculed for reasons unknown to me.

          1. @panache I agree – it’s probably because he just gets on with the job and delivers unspectacularly every weekend in a dog of a car. McClaren have access to the data that people on this website don’t and can therefore make an informed decision. I don’t doubt for a minute that McClaren would drop JB if the FACTs pointed to another “available” driver being able to do a better job. After all F1 is a shark pit.

          2. @panache I don’t think many do want rid of him. But the proposition of Alonso at McLaren is particularly tantalising, especially if he’s pairing Button I’d say.

        4. @jcost My guess is that Honda wants two highly-rated drivers for their return and being since Perez hasn’t done anything this year and Button can point to his past, I think PER will be out the door.

  8. Honestly, I think Hulkenberg is playing down expectations for next year. He’s making an impact in the races, and a lot of people believe that it is a question of when, not if, he gets a front-running drive. But I think he knows his options are limited to choosing the best of a bad bunch – Lotus are losing James Allison to Ferrari and have question marks over their financial future, while Sauber have struggled with car development and are dependent on investment, and Force India have a history of going backwards over the course if a season.

    As Martin Brundle is so fond of pointing out, cars get faster by about a tenth of a second for every lap’s worth of fuel that is burned off. So unless Hulkenberg is about ten kilograms heavier than the next-heaviest driver, I don’t think he’s in much trouble. And as he demonstrated in Korea, whatever disadvantage he has is easily offset by intelligent defensive driving.

    1. The physical differences between cars probably account for a greater variation in performance than a driver’s weight.

    2. The CoG is a greater issues: cars have to weight a certain amount after a race, so I’ve not fully understood your comparison with fuel @prisoner-monkeys. The CoG and the weight distribution not being exactly as wanted isn’t a massive problem I would imagine though when you have a driver that can overcome that, which Nico clearly can.

      The only problem I can see due to his frame is his height: that creates the packaging headaches.

    3. Force India have a history of going backwards over the course if a season.

      Where’s that one come from all of a sudden? They might have a slow development this season, but remember, the only team who have overtaken them is McLaren, and that was inevitable at some point given their budget, etc. They definitely haven’t gone backwards though…

      I am pretty sure that last year they actually went forward quite a lot.

      1. @strontium they clearly have this season, relative to the opposition. I believe they’ve scored something ridiculous like 2 points since the tyre change.

        It’s not so much Force India that drop back though I agree. It’s Di Resta.

        1. They’ve only scored 3 points since the tyre change and all from Sutil. Although Force India now probably have the 7th/8th fastest car on the grid, di Resta is again having an end-of-season dip in form (even worse this year). It’s hard to see where they are going to get points before the end of the season. Hulkenberg is now only 5 points behind di Resta, so moving to Sauber might have been wise after all.

          1. No, because Force India still has some pace.

            Remember, they were doing pretty well in Spa until Maldonado managed to hit them both (one race ending immediately) in the space of half a corner, Singapore was going well but something went wrong, and Korea and Italy we saw nothing as di Resta was useless (nothing against di Resta that is, I believe that there was a car problem in Singapore (just as with Schumacher in 2012)).

            Sutil is not a true representation in my opinion. He did amazingly in the opening races, but after that he was / is just a reminder of why he lost his seat to Nico Hulkenberg in 2012. He isn’t bad by any means, but he is nothing special.

            The reality is if Hulkenberg was in the Force India he would be storming ahead of where he currently is.

            So, the Force India, yes, has had slow / limited developments this year, but is not that bad, and to claim that they “have a history of going backwards over the course if a season” is ludicrous.

            @prisoner-monkeys @vettel1 @deej92

          2. Except for the way they start the season stronger than they finish it.

  9. “We’re more interested in the talent and potential of a driver rather than the difference of a few kilos”

    Good – Sign Hulkenberg.

  10. Michael Brown (@)
    8th October 2013, 11:52

    Hmmmmmm… I wonder what he means by that….

  11. Fikri Harish (@)
    8th October 2013, 15:41

    But money is.

    On a serious note, isn’t Romain pretty tall himself?

    1. Don’t know, but he looks tall and slim. And his neck is probably the weakest of the whole field: he’s got the neck of a girafe…

    2. Apparently 1. 80 m and 71 kg, so that is pretty similar to Hulkenberg, just a bit shorter and lighter!

  12. OK, you heard it here first: Alonso will get into a messy media fight with Luca, leave Ferrari and go back to McLaren…and The Hulk will team with Kimi in Ferrari Red. LOL

  13. We’re more interested in the talent and potential of a driver rather than the difference of a few kilos,” he said.

    That is the right attitude. If Sauber moves up past Toro Rosso in the WCC points standings, I wonder if Boullier’s statement could be amended to say this:

    We’re more interested in the talent and potential of a driver rather than the difference of sponsorship money.

    If not for the talent and great driving of Hulkenberg would Sauber be moving up in the WCC standings? How much prize money is that worth? Maybe Sauber can move past Toro Rosso and even challenge Force India in the races that are left this season.

    I realize that pay drivers have become a fact of life in F1 and that sponsors front load the money to the teams. Lotus has also said they will go for driver talent over sponsorship. This is noble as the whole idea is to win races and that will secure more prize money. I hope it works out for them.

  14. Weight of the wallet will determine the driver

    1. Notes weigh less than coins and are worth more!

      But sadly you are most likely correct :/

  15. That’s the best news I’ve heard in a long time!

  16. I’m hoping this implies Hulk gets the seat. After all, this would lead to my two favorite drivers being on my favorite team! Now, if only Enstone could get some cash…….

    1. David not Coulthard (@)
      9th October 2013, 8:17

      if only Enstone could get some cash…….

      Redmond, We’ve got some more space on our car. You can only fill the space with black and gold, though!

  17. Lotus have always impressed me since 2010 . Even though they are in financial trouble now , they have always made the right moves that are within their reach. They brought back Kimi , and now even Grosjean is putting in consistent performances . It is team Enstone that first mastered the tyre conservation mode in 2012 and Kimi has always been delivering . The only reason they have not performed in 2013 is because of financial gremlins hindering their development . Their resurgence in Korea has made the the three-team battle for 2nd even more interesting . I just hope they have the financial licence to go for the most important move : Getting Hulkenberg .

    1. Fortunately Hulkenberg doesn’t earn the really big money… yet. He’s doing a good job at getting himself there at the mo but his salary this year is the same as Grosjeans , that’s if he’s actually seen any of it.
      As annoyed as Kimi is this year, theres a chance Hulkenberg would jump at Kimi’s situation with Lotus.

Comments are closed.