Nico Hulkenberg, Haas, Yas Marina, 2022 post-season test

FIA clampdown on political gestures ‘won’t affect much’ for Hulkenberg

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Nico Hulkenberg doubts the FIA’s decision to restrict drivers’ political gestures will have a significant effect on him.

In brief

FIA politics clampdown “a difficult subject” – Hulkenberg

Hulkenberg, who will drive for Haas in the 2023 F1 season, told RTL the FIA’s recent ruling was “a delicate, difficult subject” but that he was “never one to use this platform for political news.”

He said the new restrictions laid down in the FIA’s International Sporting Code “will not affect or impair that much” for him, but may do for others. “I think that’s a personal story,” he added. “Everyone has a personal attitude towards it.”

“Labrador” Leclerc is overrated compared to Sainz – Coronel

Touring car driver Tom Coronel believes Carlos Sainz Jnr is underrated compared to his team mate Charles Leclerc, who finished runner-up in the world championship.

“Leclerc disappointed me because he went very well at the beginning of the year, when everyone shouted ‘he is a champion candidate’,” Coronel told Formule 1 magazine. “But personally I have always been more of a fan of his teammate Carlos Sainz, who had a lot of bad luck.

“People pretend that Sainz is second pilot at Ferrari, but look at the scoring: Sainz was in front in 2021. Leclerc gets too much credit for me compared to Sainz.”

Coronel believes Leclerc was too reluctant to demand better from the Ferrari team when they let him down during the season: “He is an ideal son-in-law, a labrador.”

Andretti expands into top-level sportscars

Colton Herta, Andretti, Indianapolis Grand Prix, 2022
Andretti’s motorsport empire is growing
While they continue to work on entering F1, Andretti Autosport have now found a way into another top-level racing series by taking an ownership stake in sport car team Wayne Taylor Racing.

WTR are one of the top prototype teams in IMSA, America’s answer to the World Endurance Championship, and is a series that Andretti already compete in down in the tertiary level LMP3 class. They will continue to race in LMP3 as well as the top GTP class.

Andretti also has squads competing – often in alliance with other teams – in Extreme E, Formula E, IndyCar and Australian Supercars (top-level series for off-road racing, single-seaters and stock cars respectively).

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Comment of the day

Max Verstappen and his father Jos have spoken further about the Monaco Grand Prix weekend that continues to ire the Red Bull driver in a new documentary about his 2022 season.

In hindsight I can understand why the Verstappens weren’t too happy for P3 if the other car was capable of winning the race. It was only the seventh round, with more than two-thirds of the championship still to raced, and Leclerc and Ferrari seemed serious threats in the long term, ‘losing’ points could have been costly at the end.

I also can understand after winning the title last year they thought Verstappen should be able to capitalise on the better strategy if Red Bull splits the drivers. But I also think that a team’s primary goal for a single GP is to maximise their collective efforts, possibly finish in a one-two, take away as many points as possible and take away as many points from the rivals as possible. And in that regard Red Bull excelled, ‘losing’ only three points.

Of course the story could have been different if Perez didn’t end Q3 the way he did, or if it was not raining, or if touching the pit exit line is judged differently, or if any of the relevant pit stops happen a single lap earlier or later, it’s just too many ifs, and even if Verstappen could have easily collected more points that day, so could have their closest rivals.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Jsc, John Graham and Dynamite Clock!

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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9 comments on “FIA clampdown on political gestures ‘won’t affect much’ for Hulkenberg”

  1. I know Leclerc only through his public image, but regarding Tom Coronel’s comment on Leclerc vs Sainz, I have a feeling that the former’s enduring reluctance to question Ferrari’s strategies could possibly be a result of his loyalty and love for team and his desire to continue placing his faith in them, since they have played a huge role in his career. There have been moments where he has expressed his frustrations towards them, but overall his attitude has been rather forgiving.

    1. Or he keeps his criticism in-house and not in public which is the smart play anyway

    2. Furthermore Coronel is not exactly seen as an authority in his domestic market, rather the clown.

      1. Coventry Climax
        29th December 2022, 19:57

        This ‘clown’ started racing in 1990, if I remember correct, and is still racing today, making it a well over 30 year career.
        That gives him way more authority than a certain Mayrton, that’s for sure.
        How many times have you, Mayrton, driven a racing car over this same period of time?

        He’s not my type, I think we can agree there, but to call him a clown is unfair, to say the least.

        1. Coventry Climax
          29th December 2022, 19:58

          Oh, and slot cars and PC games don’t count.

        2. Length of career doesnt have any correlation to him being a clown or not. It is based on his comments and appearances. I am yet to meet the person who takes his remarks seriously. He is rather entertaining for sure, as in watching a comedy.

  2. The top 10 list chosen by drivers is an interesting read to see what the drivers felt from the year. Clearly some were impressed by Albon which isn’t something I particularly noticed for the year. Probably a less controversial list than Racefans own for some people!

  3. Loving the detail about the Spa Grand Prix in the Red Bull Christmas tweet !

  4. I admire Leclerc’s diplomatic approach. I think he recognises the long game – vocally reacting to each and every setback is to a teams detriment.

    Obviously, drivers careers are longer now; but how many drivers get to sit in race winning cars for years on end? The average I would say is 5 years before either the team or the driver accept that the title isn’t coming in this cycle.

    Vettel had 7 seasons before it was clear the new man would usurp him. Hakkinen was in his 6th season before the title came and arguably he was kept there due to his accident in Adelaide. DC was at McLaren for 9 years but they’d brought Kimi in after 7 and he’d made a good go of the title the next year.

    If we consider Leclerc is already 4 years deep, and that the cost cap may take another few years to bring the midfielders to the front, I think Charles is wise to let the management run the team and the driver drive the car.

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