The topic of minimum weight limits for cars and drivers next season may seem trivial to some, but the fact that the minimum weight limit for cars and drivers is increasing by 48 kilograms next season is a concern for some of the heavier drivers on the grid, Nico Hulkenberg in particular.
At the moment, F1’s minimum weight limit is 642 kilograms for car and driver together. The new power units for next season, which are expected to be heavier, means that the minimum weight limit will shoot up to 690 kilograms. That puts the heavier drivers on the grid at a disadvantage, as teams will want to stay as close to the minimum as possible for performance reasons.
If Nico Hulkenberg, who is already linked to several top teams for both 2014 and beyond, is to secure his future in the sport, then some changes will have to be made to the weight requirements. Mclaren has already said that Hulkenberg is too heavy for the 2014 car, and other top teams could take note of this. If Lotus were to suddenly get cold feet and sign up a smaller driver, perhaps Felipe Massa, then Nico is out of a drive for 2014. That isn’t right.
Hulkenberg is unanimously regarded as one of the most talented and promising drivers on the grid. His skill in the car is more than worthy of a top drive. But for one reason or another, that chance has not materialized. For 2014, a seat at Lotus is very possible, but if weight is really a concern for teams next season, they could opt to sign a smaller driver on the market.
Grand Prix Drivers’ Association President, Jenson Button, also one of the larger drivers on the grid, has said a 10 kg increase to the minimum weight limit could solve the problem. With drivers already doing everything they can to meet weight requirements, a little help from the FIA would do some good.
For Hulkenberg, his career is at a turning point. He is on the verge of signing for a true top team. If his hopes are dashed just because of a factor he can’t control, then the sport is more broken than we may have already thought.