JANUARY 22, 2014
Hulkenberg hopes 2014 cars not too slow
Nico Hulkenberg hopes the cars of F1's all-new era are not too slow.
At the end of the long V12 and V10-powered era of normally aspirated power, the sport is switching to 'greener' V6 turbo engines from 2014, bolstered by sophisticated energy recovery systems.
But some fear the cars, at least in 2014, will be three or four seconds slower than the field of 2013, bringing them within the range of the support series GP2.
Asked if that kind of performance would be a disappointment, German Hulkenberg admitted: "It would be a step in the wrong direction.
"Formula one must remain the ultimate," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
"If we lose four seconds, then the GP2 cars would be very close to formula one, and the difference between them is no longer clear enough."
But Hulkenberg, who drove for Sauber in 2013, admits he doesn't have much data to base his fears upon, as he has not tried a 2014 car in Force India's simulator.
"Force India does have a simulator," he said, "but the software and the models are not yet for 2014 and so it makes no sense to try to test it.
"We are in a wait and see period," Hulkenberg added.
He has, however, at least seen Force India's new car, the VJM07, and is not sure what to think of it.
"Naturally the narrow front wing and the distinctive nose looks a bit strange to the eye," said the 26-year-old. "Not so pretty."
And once linked with moves to Ferrari, McLaren or Lotus for 2014, Hulkenberg admits that the bigger teams could have an advantage over their smaller rivals this year.
"It is more open than in previous years," he said.
"The big teams with their big budgets have an advantage with how quickly they can develop.
"But the new rules are also a chance for smaller teams to come up with something better than the rest -- you only have to think about 2009 and Brawn GP.
"On the other hand you can also get it wrong as well, so it could go either way," Hulkenberg concluded.
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