Andrew Green, the technical director of the BWT Racing Point Formula One Team, says feedback from Nico Hülkenberg during his outings with the team at Silverstone inspired the recent updates made to the RP20, although he was not expecting the German to drive the car again in 2020.
Hülkenberg replaced Sergio Pérez for the two races at Silverstone following the Mexican’s positive coronavirus test, but when he was fit and well again, he was back in the car again. However, Lance Stroll fell ill for the recent race at the Nürburgring, with Hülkenberg again being drafted in at the eleventh hour.
The feedback given by Hülkenberg at Silverstone pushed Racing Point into developing the car, and ironically it was those changes that made jumping into the car for Qualifying for the Eifel Grand Prix difficult for the German as he had to come to terms with driving a much different car to the one he raced back in July.
“Some of the developments that we put on the car were as a direct result of his feedback in Silverstone,” said Green to Motorsport.com. “Which was really interesting. So his feedback after the race today was very intriguing.
“He mentioned things that he would like to be changed in the car, and how we go about setting the car up and the feel he gets from the car.
“And we made those changes after Silverstone not expecting him ever to get back in the car again and drive it. But lo and behold, he does, and we get the feedback about the developments we made on the car. So that was really interesting, and really important.”
Hülkenberg’s first time in the updated RP20 was for Qualifying in Germany after Stroll told the team late that his illness would prevent him from competing. He would then go on and qualify twentieth and last, but Green says it would have taken more than just the four quick laps he did in Qualifying for him to understand the updated car.
He went on to take a remarkable eighth place on race day and rightfully earn himself the title of driver of the day in the process, with Green delighted they were able to get significant amounts of feedback from Hülkenberg from the race.
“These sort of changes we’re talking about, you can’t adjust to them in four laps, which is basically what he had to do on Saturday afternoon,” said Green. “He had four flying laps, and for him to adjust to the changes that we’ve made since Silverstone was going to be nigh on impossible.
“So he needed time in the car, which is what he didn’t have, but by the end of the race, he’d had plenty of time in the car. And his feedback was invaluable. Which was very good.”
Green said the feedback from the German proved that the team have been working in the right direction, and it was a really big effort to get the updates ready in time for the second half of the season.
“Yes, effectively,” said Green when asked if Hülkenberg was able to confirm whether progress had been made to the RP20. “Still work to do. But I think we made a good step in the right direction. That is all part of the rear suspension and front suspension changes that we made, which were as a direct result of him driving the car in Silverstone.
“We pulled together all the updates that we planned to do into a significant update for the car. And that included front wing, front brake ducts, floor, rear wing endplates, and you can see the sidepods, bodywork. So that was the aerodynamic aspect.
“And we did a lot of work on the internals of the rear suspension, and the way that the suspension works, to give us more flexibility, and more options on the rear suspension set-up. And also a change to the steering system, as well. All of those updates came between Mugello and Russia, really.”