Nico Hulkenberg has likened the larger rear wings introduced for the 2019 Formula 1 season to “pulling a parachute” along the straights due to increased levels of drag.

As part of a revised set of aerodynamic regulations aimed at improving the quality of wheel-to-wheel racing, a new wider and higher rear wing has been introduced to compensate for the downforce lost from the simpler front wings now used on cars.

When asked if he could notice the engine progress made by Renault following the first day of pre-season testing at Barcelona, Hulkenberg said: “I would say yes, but on the other hand we have a lot more drag with the big rear wing. 

Nico Hulkenberg F1 Driver Profile 2018

“So, you have less of that sensation - it is like pulling a parachute now across the straight. You see that massive rear wing in the mirrors and that has an impact on the feel of power.”

Renault said it was left “very optimistic” by the early signs coming from its latest power unit but Hulkenberg stressed that the R.S.19 does not feel like a “completely different animal” compared to its predecessor. 

“First impressions are ok. I would say just alright for now. The car ran without any big problems this morning. 65 laps is a decent start. 

“It does not feel like a completely different animal. It was more a feeling like coming home. For me it has not changed that much. 

“We have the same steering wheel, the seating position is very similar, so perhaps I was also not expecting a huge difference. 

“The aero regulations, it was difficult to kind of judge and anticipate how that would impact the feeling, but for now it is not so different.” 

Hulkenberg racked up 65 laps on his way to finishing 10th in the timesheets, ahead of new Renault teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who propped up the order having completed 44 laps in the afternoon.