Formula 1 News

'Hulk' says Lotus move not weighty issue

The German driver performance in Korea has sparked even more attention to secure his services for 2014.
Thursday, October 10, 2013

SUZUKA, Japan, Oct 10, 2013 (AFP) - Nico Hulkenberg Thursday said he didn't think his weight would affect a potential move to Lotus after concerns that bigger drivers would be hit by next year's introduction of heavier engines.

The slim, 74-kilo (163 pounds) German, one of Formula One's taller and heavier drivers, said Lotus had not told him that his weight would affect any possible switch.

"There's no one from (Lotus) who has personally told me that weight or height is an issue," the 26-year-old Sauber driver told reporters before Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

"What we did in Korea was outstanding. We probably punched above our weight and out-performed a few cars which we shouldn't," he added of his fourth-place finish at last week's Korean Grand Prix.

"But this whole discussion about weight for me is not worth having because I am what I am and I can't change it."

While Hulkenberg's stock has soared, teams such as McLaren have reportedly been reluctant to take a risk on him, with next year's heavier engines making the drivers' weight more crucial.

The sticky issue has raised concerns the bigger men could be shunned. However, Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has made it clear that the only issue was speed -- and agreeing financial terms.

"I prefer to have talent and let my engineers work on saving weight in the car," said Boullier. "It is true that 10 kilos on paper is roughly three tenths of a second (per lap), but the target is to at least be on the weight limit. Then you don't have this issue any more."

McLaren's Jenson Button, another of the larger drivers and a super-fit triathlete, has called on the sport's governing body FIA to increase the minimum weight limit for next year's cars.

The introduction in 2014 of new turbo-charged engines with heavier, more powerful energy recovery systems has already seen the FIA increase the minimum weight limit of the cars plus drivers from 642kg to 690kg.

However, the extra 48kg is likely to be taken up by the new power units, and lighter drivers will have the advantage of being able to add ballast where needed.

Hulkenberg also denied he had given Lotus a deadline of the end of the month to offer him a contract, with Force India also in the chase for his signature.

"I've not set a deadline," he said, adding: "What I've basically said is that I would like to have clarification or certainty by the end of October."

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