Hulkenberg sure his height cost him “odd opportunity” to race for top F1 team

Nico Hulkenberg believes being one of the tallest F1 drivers on the grid cost him an opportunity of racing for a top team.
Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Haas F1 Team on th
Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Haas F1 Team on th

Hulkenberg has enjoyed a long F1 career, racing for a host of midfield outfits such as Williams, Force India, Renault and now Haas.

The German was linked with a switch to Ferrari for 2013 and 2014, while he was also the favourite to replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes had he not already committed to Renault for 2017.

Neither move materialised with Ferrari ultimately opting to keep Felipe Massa before replacing him with Kimi Raikkonen in 2014.

Remote video URL

Back then, taller drivers were more penalised for their additional weight, particularly with the introduction of the heavier, V6 hybrid engines in 2014.

Jenson Button explained in 2014 that he and Hulkenberg could be disadvantaged by 0.2s to 0.3s in 2014 due to their bigger frames.

By 2019, the FIA introduced a minimum driver weight so taller drivers would no longer be hampered.

“I’ve never had an answer where [teams] said, ‘Sorry, no – we turned you down because you’re too tall’,” Hulkenberg said. 

“Probably they wouldn’t tell me straight to my face. But I’m pretty sure that it has, yeah, hindered the odd opportunity and occasion to jump to a top car. Packaging issues, less space, more weight, which is not the right way around in this business.”

Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Haas VF-23. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium,
Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Haas VF-23. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 13,…

Hulkenberg has the unfortunate record of having the most starts (193) without the podium.

Despite the statistic, Hulkenberg believes his F1 career is testament to his longevity. 

“Obviously, when you start thinking about it that’s a little bit frustrating," he added. Because every racing driver back then and even now wants to win, ideally. But at the same time, I’ve never had the car.

“I’ve had good cars and also had opportunities to deliver the podium, but then for various reasons it never really happened. Never clicked and happened. But, to be honest, I’m still in a good, happy place – enjoying myself. And if I reflect back, of course there were things I could’ve done better.

“But I’m not bitter or frustrated about it. I’m in a good place and going to hit I think 200 grands prix later in the season – somewhere around Mexico [in October]. And whilst not having the podium, I think if I would be so bad I would’ve not managed to stick around [for] 200 grands prix – so, there must be some good in there too somewhere.”

Read More