(CNN)Nine-year Formula 1 veteran Nico Hulkenberg believes the enforced break the sport is having to undergo because of the coronavirus pandemic offers the perfect time to make some changes.
The start of the 2020 season has been delayed, with the first 10 races of the season being either postponed or canceled because of safety concerns around the spread of Covid-19. But for Hulkenberg, who doesn’t have a seat in F1 for the 2020 season, the time without racing offers an “opportunity for F1 to change a few things.”
“It’s obviously real and a lot of industries and companies and corporations are struggling,” the 32-year-old told CNN Sport’s Amanda Davies over Instagram Live. “And I think there will be some consequences. But I also think it’s an opportunity for F1 to change a few things, talking about budgets there and certain types of regulations. So I see it also as an opportunity and, hopefully, it will come up with some good answers and (I) hope that everyone survives that and that we can return to good, proper racing after this.”Read MoreREAD: Ferrari star Charles Leclerc as talented at racing esports as he is at the real thing
Hulkenberg prepares to drive during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil.
A more entertaining sport
One of the innovations that will be introduced for the 2021 season is the budget cap that will limit the amount teams can spend. Originally set at $175m, F1’s managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn announced it will be reduced by $30m per team. “The sport looks to cut costs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.”Hulkenberg thinks a cap is “one very good step to bringing everyone more together in the future.” “I think once it is implemented, it won’t be immediate because the top teams will still have some advantage they will carry forward for some time. But it’s just a fairer and level playing field.”While some believe Formula E threatens the future of F1, people involved in the sport aren’t concerned. Creating a more “attractive” sport will help it draw in new viewers and grow, according to Hulkenberg. “Racing is racing, but of course it’s entertainment and races just need to be really entertaining. We had some stunning races like Hockenheim last year,” he remembers. “(It was) dramatic. Fights left, right, center; you didn’t know where to watch first. And there were a couple of those. And then sometimes you had really dull races.
Hulkenberg races during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi.”So we just need good average races that are entertaining to watch all the time, a lot of close wheel-to-wheel racing, and then I think naturally the sport will get more attractive because people enjoy watching that, they enjoy watching us fighting as much as we do as well.”Despite finding himself without a car for the season, Hulkenberg still has plans to return to the track. He’s had been linked to a move across to Formula E or joining Ferrari but has ruled both out. Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features, and videos
A move to the Italian giants would only happen in his “next life,” according to the German. And despite not racing this season — Hulkenberg is excited to watch the races “as a fan” — the time away from racing has only made him hungrier to return in 2021.