F1 2014 Driver Review: Nico Hulkenberg

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Nico Hulkenberg

Team: Sahara Force India F1 Team
Car No.: 27
Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums (excluding wins): 0
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 96
Laps Led: 5
Championship Position: 9th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Ever the nearlyman, Nico Hulkenberg’s 2014 was a year of relative stability. For once, his was not a big player in the driver market, with Ferrari signing Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull opting to promote Daniil Kvyat instead of going for the German driver.

Hulkenberg made a very strong start to the season, scoring points in all of the first ten races of the season, only to then fade away in the second half of the year. His performances were solid if unspectacular, picking up points regularly to help Force India on its way to sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Despite outscoring teammate Sergio Perez, Hulkenberg was perhaps less impressive, never really looking capable of a podium finish. 2015 will be an interesting one as he balances his F1 commitments with two WEC races for Porsche’s LMP1 programme, but if Nico is to get a big-money seat at the top of the grid, he needs to break his podium duck and challenge the very best.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

As I follow IndyCar very closely and attend a majority of its races, I find Justin Wilson to be the IndyCar equivalent of Nico Hulkenberg. Both are talented, tall individuals but for either a lack of timing or funding – or both – seems to keep them hamstrung perpetually in the midfield. At least of this time of writing Hulkenberg has his 2015 plans sorted while Wilson doesn’t.

Nonetheless, Hulkenberg’s 2014 season as he returned to Force India from Sauber was what I’d have to call a “Bizarro Hulk” season where his best results came in the first half of the year rather than the second. The German’s been a slow starter most of his F1 career. In 2010, 2012 and 2013, Hulkenberg had just six total points finishes from the first seven races of each year (21 total races). From races eight through 19 or 20, Hulkenberg had 22 in 37 races.

So when Hulkenberg came out of the gate firing in 2014, with points finishes in each of the first 10 races, it bucked his career trend. It was yet another case of Hulkenberg extracting the most from a fourth-to-fifth best car on the grid. But sadly his heights were four fifth-place finishes in that stretch, and it was teammate Sergio Perez who bagged the Bahrain podium when either had a shot. Five points results from the last nine races of 2014 produced a far lower point total – 27 from the last nine compared to 69 in the first 10. It was a good season, but not quite to the same level of ending strong as he’d done in the past.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.