2022 F1 cars “pretty damn fast”, not slower than last generation – Hulkenberg | F1

Hulkenberg hasn’t raced in F1 full-time since 2019, although he made two appearances in 2020 as a reserve driver for Racing Point.

The experienced German spent 2021 as Aston Martin’s reserve driver and was present at many of the grands prix during the year.

F1 is introducing entirely new regulations for 2022 with the changes including a move from 13 to 18-inch tyres with returning wheel covers, simplified front wing and bodywork, and a ground effect floor.  

Writing in his new column on LinkedIn, Hulkenberg shared his initial thoughts on the new 2022 machinery.

“They aimed [the car] 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,” he wrote. “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.

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

Despite the raft of rule changes for 2022, Hulkenberg doubts there will be a significant shift in the pecking order. 

“I’m also looking forward to seeing which teams and drivers get off to the best start,” he added. “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 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.”

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