MONTMELO – Following his first endurance race at Spa-Francorchamps last weakend, Nico Hulkenberg has said that it is unfair to compare Formula 1 with the FIA World Endurance Championship, believing that both series can learn from one another.
Hulkenberg is balancing his F1 commitments in 2015 with two races for Porsche in the WEC – 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the 24 Hours of Le Mans – and finished sixth on debut last weekend.
When asked by MotorSportsTalk about his first weekend in the series, the German was upbeat and pleased with what he learned.
“It was good, generally quite positive,” Hulkenberg said. “Obviously the race was a bit of a shame, to have the clash early on which then took us out of the race and not fighting at the front with the Audis and the other Porsches, but otherwise, we learned a lot.
“A lot of first impressions and primers for everything there. I’m happy with how it went.”
One of the biggest differences between F1 and endurance racing is tire management, with less onus being placed on it in the WEC, allowing the drivers to push more throughout the race.
“When you think of endurance racing, people think ‘ah it’s cruising, you’ve got to look after everything’, but it’s actually pretty full on pushing,” Hulkenberg said.
“I was quite impressed with that and didn’t expect it quite like this. Tires are pretty consistent, you don’t have to think about it constantly. They also have traction control systems which also help you a great deal because they kick in when you overdo it with the throttle.”
Hulkenberg believes that a longer lasting tire may be beneficial in F1, as it would allow drivers to push throughout the race instead of holding back.
“I wouldn’t mind, from a driver point of view yes, you’re quite happy if you can push all the way through,” he said.
“You don’t have to worry so much. From a driver’s point of view it’s something that is very welcome, yes.”
The rapid rise of the WEC in the past few years has led many to compare it with F1, given the latter’s ‘closed door’ nature in the paddock and in terms of fan engagement. Hulkenberg does not believe it is a fair comparison to make, though.
“I know what F1 is like, I’ve been in this environment for a few years now, and this was completely new,” he said.
“Of course people are tempted to compare, but I think you shouldn’t always necessarily compare them, because they’re two different things at the pinnacle of motor racing. For me, both are fun.”