Still a reserve driver at Aston Martin F1, but also a keen observer of the current season, Nico Hülkenberg took advantage of the summer break to take stock of this first half of the year.
The former Williams and Renault has learned 6 major lessons from this year 2022.
Of course, Nico Hülkenberg begins by talking about the new aerodynamic regulations for 2022 which have produced closer battles on the track, he rejoices.
“The grid is much closer together this season, and statistically there are fewer quiet moments than in previous years, with more overtaking opportunities and, at times, the chance of a real counter-attack. The qualifying sessions are also more exciting this year, with results often very difficult to predict. »
Second positive lesson for Nico Hülkenberg: the battle in the lead between Red Bull and Ferrari, which exists at least at every Grand Prix.
“Ferrari and Red Bull managed to quickly take the lead in the constructors’ championship. Even today, no other team has been able to win a race this year. I’m sure some people in F1 and the FIA expected a better balance. »
“Still, behind the top two teams, the race was very close and the battles for podiums and points were the most exciting in years. »
From this follows the third observation made by Nico Hülkenberg: more intense battles on the track.
“Racing and battles on the track have become much more exciting than in previous seasons. Although there’s less of a drag effect with these new cars, it’s much easier to follow the driver in front and it makes for some great racing. »
“The recent five-a-side battle in Austria between Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes drivers, or the sensational final laps for the podium at Silverstone, give an idea of what is now possible on the track between these brilliant teams. »
For the rest of the year – this is his 4th lesson which concerns rather the future – Nico Hülkenberg sees an even tighter plateau, with in particular the return of Mercedes.
“I’m sure the grid will be even tighter for the rest of the season. Mercedes are working hard – and successfully – to reduce Ferrari and Red Bull’s lead. »
“At Silverstone the team was close to its first victory, and in France Mercedes secured its first double podium of the year. In the second half of the season, we can expect exciting three-way battles between these top teams. »
“McLaren and Alpine are behind them on a very similar level, battling for fourth place in the constructors’ championship. The other teams, including Aston Martin F1, will also bring upgrades over the rest of the year which promise exciting battles for the remaining points. »
Nico Hülkenberg is also delighted to see the driver count (a little) more than the performance of his car this year.
“I must say that the talent of the driver ultimately represents the biggest influence on the results. Due to the many battles on the track this season, the drivers are under constant pressure and have to drive the car to the absolute limit more often. »
“The consequence is a higher number of accidents, which means additional costs and, with the new budget cap, it can be a problem for the teams to finance these repairs and the additional technical developments. »
“It will be interesting to see how the changes for 2022 have played out as we approach the end of the season. There are certainly more lessons, discussions and opportunities waiting for us at the finish line. »
The last object of celebration for Nico Hülkenberg is finally to see the passion of the public at the rendezvous.
“Interest in Formula 1 has never been greater. It wasn’t so long ago that races were considered boring and repetitive, with little media coverage. It’s absurd ! »
“In my opinion, F1 is working hard and successfully to set up a racing series for the future. Sustainability issues are being addressed, prestigious car brands, such as Audi and Porsche, are pushing to be present, and race weekends have a festival character in many places like never before. »