Nico Hulkenberg shares his views on how he sees the 2022 F1 season to shape-up as he talks of dirty air, tyres and development race.

Some might say Hulkenberg is unlucky not to be on the grid this coming season, last season or 2020, apart from his two drives at Racing Point, but he had his time. Now as a F1 pundit, he offered his own insights and perspectives on the coming season with the new rules being introduced.

It should produce closer and more intense racing and a more open playing field also, with a big idea to decrease the dirty air which has disrupted the overtaking in recent years. One of the most significant changes will be around tyres going from 13-inches to 18-inches.

“One thing that immediately stands out is that the cars look more futuristic and will have 18-inch rims instead of 13-inch ones in the future,” wrote Hulkenberg. “By the way, these larger tyres make no difference to the drivers’ visibility. The Driver will just see more rim instead of tyre wall like in the past.”

It is already interesting to see what a drivers “view” in the cockpit will be like and what they will see. Not just that but the FIA and F1 aimed to change the cars for 2022, slower and harder to drive. But Hulkenburg’s first experience was not neccesarily the case.

“From my initial experience, the new cars are pretty damn fast and not necessarily slower than the last generation,” said Hulkenberg. “The driving experience hasn’t changed that much either, at least in the simulator.”

Hulkenberg goes on to talk about and express an opinion of the “dirty air” scenario which the governing body have been hoping to revoloutionize. “It will be very interesting to see whether these cars can really follow the car in front better,” he continued. “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. Once pre season testing starts drivers and teams will find out how the cars really behave on track,” summed up Hulkenberg.

That will be the absolute acid test for teams and roll on next month. Hulkenberg is of course Aston Martin’s third driver and his experience and knowledge will prove very helpful to the team for their 2022 campaign. His enthusiasm has no bounds and one feels he is almost envious and jealous of the 20 drivers who will take the field at testing and be on the grid for Bahrain.

But what is most interesting is that he endeavours a far more level playing field with some possible surprises too. “I’m also looking forward to see which team and driver get off to the best start,” wrote Hulkenberg. “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. 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,” summed up Hulkenberg. Not to see Mercedes and Red Bull at the front at the outset will be interesting if it happens.

Then again, we all remember 2009 with Brawn GP came to fruition and finished 1-2 in the first race that season in Australia. In all honesty, the chief protagonists from 2021 should be there at the sharp end but it would great to go into race weekends and not be able to predict the outcomes at all. The bottom line is though as Hulkenberg advised, it will be a case of those who adapt and adjust quickest in the first place.

The story was written by Neil Farell

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