Racing Point: Hulkenberg returned "like he'd never left" at British GP

Racing Point Formula 1 team technical director Andrew Green says that substitute driver Nico Hulkenberg settled in so quickly at the British Grand Prix it was "like he'd never left"

Racing Point: Hulkenberg returned "like he'd never left" at British GP

Hulkenberg was called up at short notice to replace Sergio Perez following the Mexican testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, making his return to F1 after losing his Renault drive at the end of 2019.

The German driver last drove for the team formerly known as Force India in 2016 prior to joining Renault and his familiarity with the Silverstone outfit meant that he was quickly able to get to grips with the RP20's systems.

However, he failed to progress from Q2 and will start the race from 13th place, seven spots behind team mate Lance Stroll.

Insight: How Hulkenberg won the race against time for his shock F1 return

"We're not aware of the procedures that went on at Renault, but he's got a good memory," said Green.

"And I think a lot of the procedures that he was used to when he was driving for us for quite a few seasons haven't really changed.

"They might have evolved a bit, but the general principles behind them are all very similar.

"He did slip into it incredibly seamlessly, it was like he'd never left, which is the reason why we wanted him in the car in the first place.

"It's such short notice we wanted someone who we knew we could get the maximum out of in a very short space of time, so in that respect, it wasn't that arduous for him.

"I think the switch was relatively simple."

Inevitably a lack of race fitness means that Hulkenberg has had some neck issues, with Green admitting that he was "a bit rusty" having not driven an F1 car in anger for nine months.

However, Green said Hulkenberg "hasn't really complained about the comfort in the car at all" and said the biggest thing that will benefit him is spending more time in the car.

The team remains uncertain whether Hulkenberg will be required for next weekend's 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, as it awaits clarification over how long Perez must quarantine for.

"The biggest thing is just time in the car," he continued.

"I think if he has a good race and gets 50 odd laps under his belt, he'll come out of that probably a bit tired for sure and a bit sore on Monday, but with a lot more knowledge."

Green said the team had to compromise its planned weekend test programme so that Hulkenberg could focus on getting himself up to speed, and made "a conscious effort to reduce his workload".

"We haven't put a big emphasis on him doing tests and big set-up changes, compares and things like that, we just concentrated on the basics," he said.

"We changed our plans completely after Thursday of how we were going to approach the weekend.

"It was all about just doing the simple stuff, not doing experiments and just making sure we don't make too many mistakes."

Green admitted that the team as a whole had underperformed on Saturday after Stroll topped the times in FP2 on Friday, citing "a change in climatic conditions" as a prominent factor.

"There are lots of areas we didn't get right and we can see that we have underperformed for sure," he said.

"With Nico, you can expect that, it's day two and he hasn't done that many laps.

"So, I think he's done a great job to get to where he's got to in such a short space of time.

"I think with Lance, we were definitely expecting a little bit more."

shares
comments
Podcast: The talking points after F1 British Grand Prix qualifying
Previous article

Podcast: The talking points after F1 British Grand Prix qualifying

Next article

Albon: I'm not worried about my start to 2020 F1 season

Albon: I'm not worried about my start to 2020 F1 season
The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams Plus

The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams

What happens, asks MATT KEW, if the old adage of win on a Sunday, sell on a Monday is no longer true for F1 manufacturers?

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Plus

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Plus

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Plus

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Plus

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains BEN EDWARDS, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Plus

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes Plus

How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes

With Formula 1’s future engine regulations now agreed, MARK GALLAGHER wonders if they will provide a more competitive field than past attempts actually managed

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Plus

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

STUART CODLING charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022