Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg talks the revised 2017 F1 cars and how they impact the driving experience.
We’ve known from the start that the 2017 changes were made in mind of making the cars much more aggressive, faster, and more intense to drive on the part of the driver. Now, after the pre-season tests have come to a conclusion, drivers are piping up on how their experience within the new metal beasts went.
Even the most skeptical of drivers, such as Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, have been wooed by the prowess of the metallic steeds out on the track:
“You can drive to your natural limit. It feels and looks like this. I’m very much in favor of that and I hope it is like that. I think that’s great news, for the sport and for me too – it’s more towards my driving style, it’s more natural. If you go faster it’s always more spectacular. If you go flat through Turn 3, it’s a hell of a ride. It’s pretty amazing. It’s difficult for the public and you guys [the media] to understand. You don’t get that sensation. It’s pretty fucking cool.” – Nico Hulkenberg
Hulkenberg wasn’t the only one who was impressed with the way the cars handled out on the track. Somewhat ironically, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso – who’s been plagued by issue after issue on his car, came out in support of the direction the developments have been heading in:
“The way you attack the corners, the way you feel the grip, has been a good surprise.
To be able to drive the way you want and not like a small child, so the tires don’t overheat – that’s the best way to feel a Formula 1 car. It’s been fun to drive freely again.”
– Fernando Alonso
Unfortunately, there has always got to be a Debbie Downer in there somewhere. This time showing their face to be Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who claim that the situation in 2017 is not that much different than it was in the past:
“You cannot push 100% every lap, the tyres still degrade. The tyres are a lot harder than last year. They are definitely a little bit less prone to melting, overheating. But they still do.”
– Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton’s right too, but the lengths of stints witnessed in testing were much greater than previous years. 20-lap stints on Ultrasofts and race distances on the softs weren’t possible with last season’s compounds. The tyres may well degrade, but won’t be as great a factor during race weekends. The performance levels between the first hot lap and the second might be so small that we see consecutive hot laps in Qualifying.