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Nico Hulkenberg

Hulkenberg: 2022 F1 cars not slower than last generation

Nico Hulkenberg has given his take on how it feels to drive the 2022 Formula 1 car, and explains why he hopes to be "positively surprised" by the racing it provides.

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Nico Hulkenberg has given an insight into the experience of driving the new 2022 F1 car, with the German disagreeing with the notion that this year's vehicle is slower than the last generation.

As a wave of new regulations come into effect for the upcoming season, the cars will look a little different to their predecessors. The aim is for the new technical rules to make it easier to follow and overtake, therefore increasing racing.

Whilst the common view is that the new vehicle will not be as fast as the 2021 model, Hulkenberg did not think this was the case when testing out the 2022 generation on the simulator.

"[The new rules have] aimed [for the cars] to be a bit slower, more challenging to drive, to have more focus on drivers that can make a difference rather [than having] car performance and aerodynamics dominate," Hulkenberg wrote in a LinkedIn article.

"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."

Hulkenberg hopes to be "positively surprised" by 2022 racing

Hulkenberg is intrigued to see how the new regulations will affect racing when the 2022 season gets underway.

"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," the former F1 driver said.

"Anyhow, I hope we will [be] positively surprised. Once pre-season testing starts, drivers and teams will find out how the cars really behave on track."

Who are the favourites for the 2022 F1 season?

In terms of who will come out on top, Hulkenberg is expecting the usual front-runners to maintain their position, though admits that things could change as the year progresses.

"I'm also looking forward to seeing which team and driver gets off to the best start," he explained.

"This is where the wheat will be separated from the chaff, and it's the guys who learn quickly, adapt quickly and adjust well to new conditions who will be right at the front initially. Later in the year things can change because it will be a huge learning curve for everybody involved.

"The development race [that the] teams are in will move the order in such a long season. It's too early for predictions, although I would be very surprised if the top teams from previous years will not be near the front."

Hulkenberg acted as Aston Martin's reserve driver in 2021, and previously made three appearances for them ‐ in their previous guise as Racing Point - during the 2020 season, having deputised for Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll when they each contracted COVID-19.

He has not raced in a full-time F1 seat since 2019, which proved to be his last year with the Renault team.

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