Hulkenberg planning full Ferrari sim programme

Nico Hulkenberg is planning a full programme in Ferrari’s simulator in Maranello this year to help his return to Formula 1.

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

The Haas driver has made his comeback with Haas this season, having not raced full time since he was dropped by Renault at the end of 2019.

He kept race-sharp, however, as reserve and test driver for the Racing Point/Aston Martin team over the past three years, taking part in four grands prix in that period.

But as he bids to make the most of his fresh opportunity with Haas, the German has had the opportunity to try out Ferrari’s simulator facilities – and he is so impressed that he has committed himself to using it regularly.

“I'm going to be using it frequently this year, every couple of weeks or so,” explained the German. “I think we have a plan to about the middle of the year, and then we'll see.

“I went in the winter once, and I found it quite useful. And yeah, if it's useful, why not use it? It just completes the picture. It's one more detail.”

Hulkenberg said that the benefits of the simulator are wide ranging, and it can be especially helpful in terms of getting a better understanding on both car set-up and driving demands.

“It's a mixture of everything,” he explained. “It's to kind of debrief and work on the correlation, to prepare for [races], to drive development it's always a combination of things.

“It's never or rarely just one [thing], because you have a whole day. So, it's a lot of time you can fill up. And obviously in the sim there are endless possibilities and you can do as much as you want.”

Nico Hulkenberg knows exactly where to find the sim seat at Maranello...

Nico Hulkenberg knows exactly where to find the sim seat at Maranello...

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Haas team boss Guenther Steiner said his outfit had long had a deal to make use of the Ferrari simulator, but that not every driver was interested in taking it up.

“We just get a certain number of days, or we buy a certain amount of days, and we have got the same access as last year,” he said when asked by Autosport about Hulkenberg’s running.

“I think because he [Hulkenberg] was out of the car and it's a completely new car for him, he's very interested in doing some sim sessions to get prepared better for the race weekend.

“We're doing as much as we think is needed. At the moment we're also doing a little bit more also to see if the simulator has got a good correlation or not.

“As far as the simulator is concerned, you should do it for as long as the driver is interested. If the driver loses interest, there's no point in doing it.

“Because then you just go in there and drive, and you don't learn anything. But at the moment Nico is very motivated to do it.”

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