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Hulkenberg reveals 'tough' aspect of F1 return after Haas test debut

Nico Hulkenberg was in action at F1's post-season test in Abu Dhabi ahead of his full-time return to the grid with Haas in 2023. The German driver admits that one aspect of his comeback proved challenging.

Nico Hulkenberg admits that the physical challenge of his return to F1 at post-season testing was "tough". The German will return to the grid in 2023 with Haas, having last raced full-time in the sport for the Renault team back in 2019, though he has since made substitute appearances in 2020 and 2021 for drivers forced to miss races due to COVID-19. Ahead of his comeback, Hulkenberg got behind the wheel in Abu Dhabi for a test held just two days after the 2022 season finale. He ended the day with 110 laps under his belt, and claimed the 19th fastest time on the timesheets of the 24 drivers to have taken part.

Hulkenberg achieved 'target' in test

Hulkenberg was left feeling positive after his experience at testing. "Good days of work, good days of running," the 35-year-old told media, including RacingNews365.com . "[We] collected many impressions, a lot of data, which was the target. [We] successfully went through that programme. "[There are] a lot of things to pick through, obviously, to digest and analyse now in the next couple of weeks and days with the team, but I'm satisfied and happy with the day." When asked if there had been any surprises, Hulkenberg said: "Nothing really unexpected or out of the blue."

Physical impact was 'tough' for Hulkenberg

Having been out of action for a while, Hulkenberg admits that he felt the impact physically from doing so many laps. "It's not just the neck, it's the body, too," he explained. "The glutes have to work a lot, and it was hard, it was tough. I was feeling some human degradation towards the end of the day, too! But that was to be expected. "Actually, I think I coped better than I expected, to be honest, so that's good. But still, obviously, three months of hardcore preparation [are ahead]." While he already had an idea of the preparation he would need to do ahead of the first race of the 2023 F1 season, Hulkenberg feels that the test acted as a reminder of this. "It's obviously good," the new Haas driver added. "It does remind you. It does show you again the intensity these cars have, and then you add the race to it and the competition, it's another story again. "But I have a plan and I know what I have to do."

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