Hulkenberg heading into 2015 under less pressure

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A word that would perhaps best describe Nico Hulkenberg in Formula 1 is “journeyman”. Since making his debut in 2010, he has raced for three different teams, and 2015 will in fact be the first time that he has raced in F1 with the same team for consecutive years.

With Force India, Hulkenberg enjoyed a solid campaign in 2014 that saw him finish ninth in the final standings, giving him little reason to look elsewhere for a seat.

Speaking to the team’s website, he admitted that not having to adapt to new surroundings has eased the pressure heading into the new season.

“It makes a big difference not having to adapt to new surroundings,” Hulkenberg said. “It means you don’t have that learning period when you have to get to know the people and adapt to the way a team works.

“So I think it takes the pressure off a little bit and you can focus all your energy on driving and improving the car.”

Hulkenberg also believes that a stabilization of the technical regulations will help his cause in 2015 as he will know what to expect from the new car.

“It makes things easier,” he acknowledged. “There are no surprises and you can begin the season feeling more comfortable because you know what to expect.

“Of course, there are always small changes – especially on things like the steering wheel – so there will always be new things to learn. I think it’s good to have stability because it’s quite confusing for the fans if you change the rules dramatically every year.”

As for his expectations of the year ahead? “I hope for spectacular things!” Hulkenberg said. “That means scoring many points, great racing and lots of fun.

“I’m part of a team that is growing and hungry for more. 2014 was our best season yet so we need to aim to go a step further this year and give the teams ahead of us a harder time.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.