Formula 1 enters the unknown when the all new V6 turbo engine formula roars to life at the first test of 2014 at Jerez, and Nico Hulkenberg warns that the cars still need to be fastest of all, or the sport risks losing credibility.
In an interview with Auto Motor und Sport Hulkenberg, who will race for Force India in 2014, warned, “Formula 1 must remain the ultimate. If we lose four seconds, then the GP2 would be very close to Formula 1, and the difference would not be clear enough. That would be a step in the wrong direction.”
With less than a week to go before the first test on 28 January, Hulkenberg is not quite sure what to expect.
“As a driver, of course, I want to know if the driving style will change compared to what I’ve experienced in the last four years in Formula 1. How does the [turbo] engine perform? What will be the level of grip? Will the cars be that much slower?”
“All questions that I as a driver have floating around in my head. This will remain unanswered until after the first tests. But even Jerez will not provide answers to all these questions. The full picture will emerge only after the tests in Bahrain and the first race,” said the German driver, popularly known as The Hulk.
On the Formula 1 pecking order ahead of a season featuring significant regulation changes, Hulkenberg is realistic, “It is more open than in previous years. Nevertheless, the big teams with big budgets are at an advantage. They can develop fast and restructure accordingly.”
However he admits, “But the new rules also provide the chance for a smaller team to out smart the bigger teams.”
Hulkenberg was very close to being signed up by Ferrari for 2014, but missed out to Kimi Raikkonen who will return to Maranello to partner Fernando Alonso.
For 26 year old Hulkenberg this is now history, “Honestly, I do not think of it. That’s all behind me. The concentration is now fully on the new season. This will be an exciting year, because no one really knows what to expect. There is much uncertainty in the air. I’m curious to see how it goes.” (GP247)
Subbed by AJN.