DECEMBER 22, 2022
Political ban won't affect Nico Hulkenberg
Nico Hulkenberg has become the first Formula 1 driver to prominently react to the FIA's new ban on political gestures.
Some reacted to the new measure with criticism, accusing the sport's governing body of effectively gagging its stars.
"It's a delicate, difficult subject," German Hulkenberg, who is returning full-time to Formula 1 next year with Haas, told the German broadcaster ntv.
"We are athletes. We come to a country, a region, to do our work - to do what we love. I was never one to use this platform for political views anyway.
"So it won't affect or impair me too much," the 35-year-old insisted. "Others will be affected more, but I think that's a personal thing.
"Everyone has a personal attitude towards it."
Hulkenberg was also asked if he feels awkward about taking over the race seat of his much younger countryman Mick Schumacher - the son of the F1 legend Michael.
"We haven't spoken to each other about it," he insisted. "We never really exchanged ideas before that either.
"Mick is of a different generation. We never had a real relationship - something like he has with Sebastian (Vettel). The story is what the story is.
"If it hadn't been me, it might have been someone else. F1 is about performance," Hulkenberg explained.
"If you perform and you convince, you have a job. If there is no performance, it's over very quickly."
Hulkenberg has only had a few one-off outings in F1 since losing his full-time race seat after 2019. He says his preparation for 2023 is "going well" even though the first full day of testing last month in Abu Dhabi was "a huge shock".
"I've been more relaxed in the last few years so it feels good to get up in the morning and feel your body again," he said.