Nico Hulkenberg

Hulkenberg “excited” to finally make Imola race debut

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Nico Hulkenberg, a veteran of over 200 grands prix, will race at Imola for the first time this weekend.

In brief

Hulkenberg excited to finally race Imola

Hulkenberg says he is looking forward to racing around Imola this weekend as he has never driven the circuit before.

The Haas driver made his Formula 1 debut in 2010, four years after Imola’s previous stint on the calendar ended. He did not have a drive during the three previous races in 2020, 2021 and 2022 andlast year’s planned race at the track was cancelled due to flooding.

“It may only be round seven but it feels like we’re deep into the season now and coming back to Europe feels good,” he said. “I haven’t raced around Imola and I’m excited to tick this track off the list as it’s been a lot of fun in the simulator.”

More FIA clubs voice Ben Sulayem support

The FIA has published a fourth letter from a group of automobile clubs pledging support for president Mohammed Ben Sulayem after he was cleared of alleged interference during two rounds of last year’s Formula 1 world championship.

The letter, dated April 24th, was signed by the FIA’s vice-president for sport for the Asia Pacific Region and representatives of 23 member clubs. It called the allegations “unsubstantiated” and assured the president of the signatories’ support. “Your unique perspective and mindset are truly an asset to the organisation and it’s one of the reasons you rise to the top,” it added.

Similar letters from 27 members clubs in the Middle East and North Africa, 33 in North and South America and 13 in Europe have previously been published by the FIA, which represents 242 clubs worldwide.

Ilott to race Indy 500 for McLaren

Fresh from winning the Six Hours of Spa with Jota team mate Will Stevens, Callum Ilott has been announced as the driver for McLaren’s fourth entry in this month’s Indianapolis 500.

Ilott had raced for Juncos Hollinger in the IndyCar series last year before departing the team. He stepped into the car originally intended for David Malukas after his training injury, racing in St. Petersburg and the Thermal Club non-championship event. He will drive the number six McLaren in this month’s blue riband event.

Theo Pourchaire will return to the seat following the event for the remainder of the season.

PHM becomes AIX

Junior series team PHM will change identities again following its takeover by the Dubai-based AIX Investment Group. The team which races in Formula 2, Formula 3 and other categories was previously known as Charouz and will now officially compete as AIX Racing.

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Comment of the day

Should F1 extend its points system to cover the top 12? Yes, argues Aucra:

People need to largely stop thinking of points as a reward and more as an in-season ranking.

I am not persuaded that points going to all classified finishers make sense, but given we usually have at least 15 finish, I think a scoring system that ranks finishers down to 15th makes sense.

Career points is already such a meaningless and stupid measurement that I don’t care if it makes it more inconsequential.

I am happy if the scoring system more fairly ranks all of the drivers and the teams each year, though.

Happy birthday!

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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14 comments on “Hulkenberg “excited” to finally make Imola race debut”

  1. I’m surprised, he never got to race in Imola in lower single-seaters.

    The Chicago claim proved false back in January already, so I’m surprised it’s suddenly up again despite equally lacking anything concrete this time around.

    COTD makes good points & I can also share the view on handing points down to P15, which would at least be less excessive than all positions.

    1. COTD makes good points & I can also share the view on handing points down to P15, which would at least be less excessive than all positions.

      Excessive…? Heaven forbid the championship points table reflect actual race results, eh…

      Reply moderated
  2. Hulk & Imola’s one of those great anomalies that pops up in racing. He’ll be overshooting Rivazza with the best of them in no time.

    I hope Haas don’t exploit his rookie status and make him do the dirty work and dark arts this time. Wouldn’t want to find a replacement for a banned Kevin at Monaco with three days’ notice…

  3. Three-time Super Bowl winner Kelce, who is dating pop star Taylor Swift, exchanged numbers with the McLaren driver at Carbone Beach after he attended the race at Miami Gardens.’

    Super important bit.

    MotoGP scores to 15th place and they have a bigger field than F1. 12 seems OK.

  4. I don’t disagree with COTD but what doesn’t seems to get much discussion is the knock-on effect any changes might have on higher finishing positions. The result of more points being awarded will be a much higher emphasis on reliability and consistency over high achievement.

    For example, in a 15-points-paying-system, if you kept 25pts for the race winner then positions from 4th down would only be separated by a single point per position.

    In a scenario where driver A scores 3 x 4th places (36pts) and a single DNF, they would be matched on points by driver B who scored 4 x 7th place finishes (also 36pts).

    With the current points system the difference would be 36pts for driver A v 24pts for driver B.

    It’s up for debate which of those scenario’s is a fairer reflection of performance.

    F1 needs to make sure that by making the bottom half of the grid more representative it doesn’t have the opposite effect on the front half.

    1. It comes down to a personal choice as to whether you prioritise consistency or individual results where teams and drivers ‘punch above their weight’ on occasion. It is worth noting that the last time the points system changed, from the 2003-9 version, part of the rationale was a desire to reward winners more, as it was felt that the consistency-based system at the time favoured conservative driving at the expense of risk-taking.

      However I don’t think there is a good case that consistency goes unrewarded under the current system. With so many races, the chances of a random anomalous result boosting somebody up the standings in an ‘undeserved’ way are much reduced.

    2. Very good point, I think if they want to extend points massively they would have to increase the ones given for the first positions, so that reliability doesn’t end up having too much an impact.

  5. People need to largely stop thinking of points as a reward and more as an in-season ranking.

    But points are a reward and should be seen as such.

    But then in the show over sport era of Americanised F1 it’s no surprise that the Netflix fans now just want rewards for everyone with points for more than half the field, bonus points, extra races with more points and soon enough who knows what else.

    It’s no wonder F1 feels so uninteresting nowadays as everything that used to be special such as overtakes, points and more are now just handed out easily with gimmicks and other showbiz nonsense.

    it’s getting utterly pathetic!

    1. Maybe points for good positions for qualifying is next.

    2. And maybe constructor’s points for fastest pit stops.

      1. Constructors’ points for F1 Academy races.

  6. People need to largely stop thinking of points as a reward and more as an in-season ranking.

    That position is fair enough, but then go all the way. Give points to everyone, make it a curve that prioritizes whichever F1 wants to prioritize, and go from there.

    One of the problems with that is that it’s inevitable that some positions are going to be barely worth more points than the one ahead. For a somewhat extreme example; in Indycar everyone from 25th down gets 5 points because it no longer drops further.

    Or just take the average finishing position and do away with the points.

  7. I wish the rookie Hulkenberg the best of luck.

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