Nico Hulkenberg should be one of the hottest prospects on the Formula One grid.
The 26-year-old German is highly rated, not just amongst those in the paddock, but by Formula One fans around the world.
But for some reason he just hasn’t made the right steps towards getting into a seat that can win him races and potentially a title, like some expects believe he is capable of.
The move from Force India to Sauber for this season quite simply hasn’t worked out, but it had looked like he would finally get the move he deserves. But after two months of talks with his managers, Ferrari opted for Kimi Raikkonen over Hulkenberg.
That decision has left him in limbo, another issue for the German unbelievably is his weight.
Hulkenberg is 6ft tall and weighs 11 stone 6. So not exactly overweight by any means, but for next season with the change in engine regulations, the cars are going to weigh a lot more.
The minimum weight limit for both the Formula One car and its driver will be raised from 642kg to 690kg for 2014, but teams are concerned that this increase will not cover the added weight that the new power-trains which include both the engine and the Energy Recovery System.
So teams are looking at smaller drivers as a bonus, because they could be at an advantage speed wise.
The BBC‘s Chief F1 writer Andrew Benson wrote on the beeb’s website: ‘a smaller driver such as Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who weighs 68kg, is at an advantage over a taller one such as Hulkenberg, who weighs 74kg, to the tune of 0.2secs a lap if the team cannot reduce the car by the amount of their weight difference.
‘And even if they can, the taller driver is at a disadvantage because his weight is high up in the car, which also affects performance.’
Despite the disadvantages, Hulkenberg remains as one of the favourites for the empty seat vacated by Kimi at Lotus.
Hulkenberg and outgoing Ferrari driver Felipe Massa appear to be the two favourites and Lotus team principal Eric Boullier would be happy to push ahead with Hulkenberg if that’s the decision the team make.
We know what he is capable of, which is why I have made clear he is a candidate for next year.’ Boullier said.
He continued: ‘for the sake of a couple of kilos, let’s say, you would prefer to gamble on a fast and talented driver than not.
‘For me he is not overweight. He is at the limit, but not overweight.
The news will be music to Hulkenberg’s ears, who after missing out on the Ferrari seat appears to have also missed out on any chance of a switch to McLaren.
With McLaren stalling over extending Sergio Perez’s deal, speculation has surfaced regarding a possible move to McLaren. But whilst Lotus firmly believe that can make it work despite the weight issues, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh was less convinced while speaking to Sky Sports: ‘We have to find a solution, but I doubt we will find one in the next few weeks or months, But sadly, the way it has worked out means the heavier drivers will be less attractive. It has happened by accident. We have raised the minimum weight but the new powertrains are heavier than people expected and now have a situation where heavier drivers could be a disadvantage.’
Despite the speculation Hulkenberg believes his future will be sorted over the next month.
‘I hope within the next couple of weeks.’
‘McLaren is a great team and would be something interesting, but I don’t think that is a realistic option at the moment,’
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