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F1 | Hulkenberg: 2022 cars “not necessarily slower” than 2021; risks dirty air turbulence still being a problem

F1 | Hulkenberg: 2022 cars “not necessarily slower” than 2021; risks dirty air turbulence still being a problem

When the FIA and Formula 1 announced the all-new – at the time 2021 cars, but postponed to 2022 due to the pandemic – its main point of focus was how it would produce better, closer racing between the field. There are many changes that ensure the new cars are strikingly different to the previous generation, such as the return of the aerodynamic “ground effect”, promising to reduce the downforce loss when close to the car in front, and several other changes which in theory would lead to slightly slower cars. When at 10m behind the car in front, downforce loss would be reduced by 29%, allowing closer racing, according to F1’s official website.

Aston Martin’s reserve and development/simulator driver, Nico Hulkenberg used his social media blog to give his views and early impressions of the new car, after driving it in the sim – and showed corcerns over how fast the new cars still are:

“In theory, the car driving behind another should able to follow much better in the corners and therefore have improved overtaking opportunities. This development interests me of course, which is why I’ve already taken a closer look at the future car.

“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 [be] positively surprised. Once pre-season testing starts, drivers and teams will find out how the cars really behave on track.”

Hulkenberg said he’s “looking forward” to see who hits the ground running in 2022, but pointed out the development race between the teams will be crucial over the course of the season, given its “huge learning curve”:

“I’m also looking forward to see which team and driver gets off to the best start. 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.”

However, the German concluded his short analysis saying he expects the top teams of recent seasons to still be near the front the grid in 2022, even with such a huge shake-up in regulations:

“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,” he concluded.

A. F1


January 11, 2022 at 06:20PM

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