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Hulk's bulk no problem for Lotus

09 October 2013, 17:06 ALAN BALDWIN

SUZUKA, Japan - Nico Hulkenberg's chances of replacing Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus were boosted after the Formula 1 team said the Sauber driver's weight would not be a major factor in its driver selection.


The issue has become a hot topic in the sport, with the introduction of a new and heavier V6 turbo engines and energy recovery systems. F1's current V8s weigh 95kg and the 2014 V6s will be about 145kg, excluding the heavy ERS batteries.

Fuel tanks will be much smaller in 2014. That’s because while cars currently start grands prix with up to 150kg of fuel, new rules dictate that only 100kg of fuel per race may be used.

The minimum legal weight of the cars is also changing from 640kg to 660kg in 2014. This means that lean drivers will have an advantage over portly rivals


Hulkenberg is one of the tallest and, at 78kg, heaviest drivers. The ideal weight in 2014 is likely to be between 60 and 65kg.

Lotus team boss Eric Boullier said: "We're more interested in the talent and potential of a driver rather than the difference of a few kilos. We have confidence in our development team to be able to produce a car for the 2014 regulations which should be competitive in the hands of any driver we consider for 2014."

Boullier, who needs to replace Raikkonen after he signed to return to Ferrari in 2014, has made no secret of his interest in Sauber's Hulkenberg.

Sauber said it wants want to bring 18-year-old Sergey Sirotkin into the sport as part of a deal with its new Russian backers.

The International Automobile Federation has increased the minimum weights of car and driver by 50kg for 2014 but the sport's larger drivers say that is not enough and the weight should go up another 10kg in the interests of fairness and safety.


McLaren's Jenson Button said: "It's a crazy situation to be in. With so many rule changes, obviously the weight limit has gone up but for a driver to have to worry about his weight that much is wrong.

"This is something that could be solved very easily. It should not stop people looking at heavier drivers (for race seats), especially if they are tall."

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh doubted that anything would be done to change: "We need unanimity to change this and I rather doubt we'll get it." 

- Reuters


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