13:42 – Racing Point technical director Andrew Green says substitute Nico Hülkenberg settled so quickly this weekend that it seemed like he never left the racing stable.
Hülkenberg drove for Force India, the predecessor of Racing Point, in 2012 and then from 2014 to 2016. After that, the German spent three seasons with Renault. Because he was familiar with the team, Hülkenberg was able to get used to the systems of the cars and the way the team works this weekend. However, he failed to enforce Q3 placement, so he starts from P13, seven places behind teammate Lance Stroll. According to Green, Hülkenberg adapted quickly, despite the limited time on Thursday evening and Friday morning to learn about the latest version of the steering wheel.
“We don’t know what the procedures are at Renault, but he has a good memory,” said Green, who also thinks he was helped because the procedures at Racing Point have remained broadly the same since 2016. “He got in without a problem, it was like he never left. That’s why we wanted him in the car. In such a short time, we wanted someone we knew to get the most out of that short period It was not that hard for him in that respect, I think the switch was relatively simple. ”
A lack of racing fitness meant that Hülkenberg, who had not been in an F1 car for nine months, had some neck problems. “I think it is a bit rusty because it has not been in an F1 car for such a long time. From the installation point it went quite well. We can do some adjustments to make it feel more comfortable, but he has not complained about the comfort in the car since he got in, “said Green. The only drawback for Racing Point is that the entire free practice program had to be overhauled after Perez reported sick and Hülkenberg arrived, the technical director emphasizes.
“We made a conscious decision to reduce the workload somewhat,” said Green. “We didn’t put any emphasis on finishing tests and big changes to the tuning, comparisons and the like, we focused on the basics. Our plans for the weekend approach changed completely after Thursday. It was about the simple things and not to do experiments, just to make sure we don’t make too many mistakes. We wanted to get the basics in order. The focus was deliberately on Sunday and less on Saturday. But I think from Nico’s perspective fitted well within the team. ”
Racing Point ‘below average’ on Saturday
Green admitted that Racing Point as a whole had not performed well enough on Saturday after Stroll was fastest in Friday’s second free practice. He expects that the significantly lower temperatures on Saturday may have something to do with this. “So we’re going to look at that,” Green continues. “The circumstances [voor zondag] are different again and the same goes for next week. We need to know the best of it. And there are also questions about the use of the power unit, and we will use that to the best of our ability. So there are many areas where things did not go well and we can absolutely see that we underperformed. You can expect that with Nico, it is his second day. And he hasn’t done that many laps. So I think he did well by getting to where he is now in such a short time. I think we expected more today with Lance. ”