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F1 has lost some of its challenge - Hulkenberg

ESPN Staff
August 21, 2014 « Perez hoping for 2015 deal soon | No reason to leave Williams in 2015 - Bottas »
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Nico Hulkenberg thinks 16-year-old Max Verstappen's 2015 contract with Toro Rosso proves driving F1 cars may no longer be as challenging as in previous years.

Verstappen will make his debut when he is 17 next season, shattering the record for youngest F1 driver of 19 years, 125 days set by Jaime Alguersuari in 2009. Some have said this could be proof today's cars are less demanding on drivers than in years gone by, something Hulkenberg admits could be a fair assessment.

"Definitely," when it was put to him today's cars were less physically challenging than ten years ago.

When asked to compare his own debut experiences in 2010, when he was 22, to Kimi Raikkonen's in 2001 when the Finn needed special training to get used to the demands of the cars, Hulkenberg said: "I never had that time, when I came in there was no more refuelling so I have not had that time. But just comparing to 2010, even then it was more physical, more demanding, and overall a little bit more challenging.

"For me I'm in my skin and I can see now I'm more experienced and that's why things get a bit more easy for me. I just wonder, rookies coming in straight on top of team-mates have been around for a long time or world champions, it makes you think are they are outstanding or what happened?"

Despite that, Hulkenberg sees no reason to suggest Verstappen will not be a success just because of his age.

"For me there is no hard rule. Every career, every driver is different and some are ready earlier, some are ready later. Personally I came into F1 a bit later with a bit more experience but every case is different. I don't have an issue with him coming in at that age. If he crashes into me three times next season, then I might have an issue with it - I don't know.

"I don't know how things would have developed had I gone straight to F1 [aged 18 in 2006]. After A1 I did do a GP2 test that was quite good but then people decided I wasn't good enough and needed to build up that experience and that the time wasn't right.

"It's hard to say [how long learning process takes]. For me, back then, it was maybe a year or half a year. But if you look at Kvyat's example now, what can you tell him? He's done pretty solid, pretty good. He's delivered, he's got the points and got the job in his car."

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