Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Interlagos, 2012

New cars will be harder to handle – Hulkenberg

2014 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Interlagos, 2012Nico Hulkenberg says it won’t be easy for drivers to handle the new generation of cars.

A significant cut in downforce is expected this year and smaller-capacity turbo engines will give more abrupt power delivery which will require drivers to alter their technique.

“I think you need to be able to adjust to the required circumstances and adjust your driving style,” said Hulkenberg. “It’s not easy and it will be a big challenge for everyone involved.”

On top of that drivers will also have to ensure they stay within the new limit of 100kg of fuel per race.

“The drivers have to deal with fuel management and everything else as well, but I think that?s exciting. Going into the season I’ve never been in a situation like this in Formula One where we know so little about what to expect and what’s coming.”

Hulkenberg stressed drivers have much to learn about the new cars between the start of testing next week and the beginning of the season in Australia on March 16th.

“It’s exciting times, but there’s not so much I can say at the moment ?ǣ I think everybody is a bit in the dark in terms of how the car is going to behave, what it’s going to be like, and also the driving sensation for us in the car.

“There are quite a few question marks still there and I think we can’t really give you all the answers until we’ve been out on the track running.??

He believes the change in rules is both an opportunity and a threat as far as smaller teams like Force India are concerned:

“I think it could be an opportunity, but it works in both directions, because the regulations are really so different. A lot has changed, especially on the engine side, so from that point of view it’s impossible to predict anything.

“I’m sure there’s an opportunity to do something special, but there’s also an opportunity to make a mistake and to go the wrong way. We won’t know until after the first couple of races.”

2014 F1 season

Browse all 2014 F1 season articles

Image ?? Force India

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.

22 comments on “New cars will be harder to handle – Hulkenberg”

  1. In short: Excellent.

    What I’m really curious to see is how Vettel will adapt to the new cars; F1 journalists have been mentioning that Vettel has adapted his driving style to the exhaust-blown diffusers in that it’s counterintuitive (i.e. when it starts to slide you press the throttle to get the diffuser working, therefore more grip) and maybe that’s something that other drivers haven’t been able to adapt to nearly as well (plus there’s the engineering of the RBR racer which is nothing short of astonishing).

    Obviously, I’m also curious about how the rest of the field will handle it, but I’m very curious how he’ll do. A consecutive four-time champion has a lot to live up to…

    Now if we could just simplify the aero and increase mechanical grip to the point where we can have cars overtaking each other on opposite lock… =)

    1. Interesting point about Vettel.

      He won the last 4 championships but that was under quite similar regulations. If he wins the 2014 championship with a totally different car, that would be even more impressive!

      1. Totally agreed. I think Vettel is a good driver…probably even great. But I still have a suspicion that Lewis or Fernando would have done just as well with an Adrian Newey car. However, if Vettel blows everyone away with a new generation of cars, there will never be a question again of who is the greatest.

        1. I’ve always been more skeptical over Lewis @daved – I think both Vettel and Alonso just seem to have far less distractions and are more consistent performers, even if Hamilton can have some masterful performances from time to time.

          1. Yeah, even though Lewis is my favorite driver (I’ve always loved pure speed in any sport), I have to wonder about his maturity at times. I think he’s getting better and I’m not trying to be negative on the poor guy. He’s entitled to enjoy his life as much as the next person. But the people who go down as the all time greats are so focused that nothing else seems to matter. I don’t get that feeling from Lewis. Potential is there, but is the desire?

        2. Lewis will always be held in high regard by me; as I’ve said before here, he’s the reason why I started watching F1 after I saw his first spot on Top Gear. 2008 was a hell of a season to start watching F1. I hope he gets that hunger back, that feeling that he had when he joined McLaren in 2007, and when he won his title in 2008. I think he’s far too good to have only one drivers’ title.

          I don’t think either Hamilton or Alonso could just ‘jump in’ to the RB9 and set Vettel-beating times. That said, if they were contracted by RBR from the beginning and had a car developed around them (as I would think they did with Vettel), then they certainly could’ve had more WDCs by now. Basically, I think they definitely would’ve won a title with an RB9, just not the RB9, if you know what I mean.

        3. I think Vettel is a good driver…probably even great. But I still have a suspicion that Lewis or Fernando would have done just as well with an Adrian Newey car. However, if Vettel blows everyone away with a new generation of cars, there will never be a question again of who is the greatest.

          I will have to agree with you there @daved , hard to say it but if SV does win with these regs. It´ll start changing my view on him but there wil always be that doubt of all the EBD cars he drove.

      2. I doubt that people that don’t rate Vettel will change their minds if he wins next year. There will always be some excuse or other made to doubt him. Like he should win in a different team or win from last or win while in the same team as Lewis/Alonso or some other supposedly better driver.

      3. It wasn’t under the same regulations the regulations where changed every year!
        ’09/’10 KERS introduced
        ’11 DRS introduced Flexi Wings banned
        ’12 DRS banned in qualy EBD banned as well
        ’13 Pirelli tyres made more aggressive

    2. Why curious to see Vettel? From your post I can see you are not a fan, why not worry about the driver you support?
      Whatever the case the four straight championships won by Vettel would not disappear even if he does not win the championship this season.
      I think the others are under more pressure to win as the change in regulations is to stop Vettel as many believe the EBD, although banned since end of ’11 is what Vettel mastered to get his titles.

  2. But is the power really going to be more abrupt ? surely the combination of ECU controlled fuel and ERS will be able to smooth out the delivery.

    1. I could read the FAQs a million times and still not be able to work out how to avoid being moderated.

      1. that makes 2 of us.

      2. I think that anything that “looks suspicious” like a lot of exclamation points or lots of capital letters, etc that might indicate something written in anger will get you moderated. And of course any words that could be taken as naughty. I’ve learned to avoid anything that “looks emotional” and I don’t get filtered anymore. Sad, because I can’t even express how excited I am sometimes for good things.

        1. @daved, you may be entirely correct but does any of that apply to my above comment about power delivery? maybe it’s the question mark.

          1. Ahh, sorry…I was just thinking about your question on being moderated.

            As for the other, I totally agree with you. With the new powertrains, I believe they are essentially using the ERS as a traction control. I think there is plenty of room in the regs for those clever engineers to figure out how to use that torque without spinning the wheels.

    2. I honestly don’t know how they’ll handle the power… I don’t know how much more abrupt it will actually feel, all I know is that these engines are supposed to deliver a lot more power through the low to mid-range RPMs rather than the outgoing V8s which deliver about 500hp in their final 8000 RPMs or so.

  3. I really hope “the car is too difficult to drive” doesn’t become the new “the tyres are not working”. I felt that some drivers have been far too quick to quick to blame Pirelli for their poor performances in the past, because they knew they could stir up a frenzy over it. While the tyres were difficult at times, I very much doubt that they were as bad as some drivers made them out to be. And so I hope that drivers are not as quick to blame the new regulations for their poor performances, especially if Pirelli go down the conservative route as promised.

    That said, the biggest whingers – Mark Webber and Paul di Resta – are gone.

    1. 2 of the 3 biggest. Button remains….

      1. Button might complain, but I don’t recall him blaming the tyres for his poor performances.

      2. Didnt think webber was too much of a moaner,Di resta defo, but button……wrote the f1 drivers guide to excuses and politically correct moans ! lol . I think he`s a tad overrated as well, imo.

    2. I don’t think we’d see as much of that, since saying that is essentially saying that the team failed to provide him with a good car. Unless the car is a complete dog (à la 2009 McLaren/Ferrari/BMW) that type of excuse should (hopefully) never arise.

      As @joetoml1n said, I think we’ll be hearing a greater number of radio snippets of Button complaining about the balance of the car. Unless McLaren develop a car with an MP4-13 style advantage… (they did say they were spending more on this season than any other recent season…)

Comments are closed.