Haas announced last Thursday that it had signed Hulkenberg for next year to replace Mick Schumacher as a teammate of Kevin Magnussen.
This will be Hulkenberg’s first full season of racing since 2019 when he drove for Renault, having since made a handful of starts as a reserve driver.
To help Hulkenberg in his preparations for next year, German Haas handed over the full day of testing in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, giving him a chance to test the 2022 Haas.
Hulkenberg completed 110 laps where he got a chance to learn the team’s systems and get used to the physical demands of an F1 car again, his last test with Aston Martin was in August.
“It was hard, it was hard,” Hulkenberg said. “I was feeling a little human degradation at the end of the day as well, but that was to be expected.
“Actually, I got along better than I expected to be honest. So that’s fine, but it’s still obviously three months of serious preparation now.”
Hulkenberg had experience with the new generation of F1 cars through his stand-in role at Aston Martin, completed a Pirelli tire test and ran two races at the start of the year when Sebastian Vettel was sidelined due to COVID-19.
Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-22
Photo: Michael Potts/Sports Pictures
But he felt the test was good to “remind you and show you once again the power these cars have.”
“Then you add racing to it and competition, it’s another story again,” he added.
“But I have a plan and I know what to do.”
Haas finished the season eighth in the Constructors’ Championship as he bounced back from a zero-points year in 2021, albeit struggling to maintain his early season form.
Kevin Magnussen finished fifth in the opening round in Bahrain, and while he scored in Brazil, the team failed to finish better than ninth in the last 12 rounds.
Hulkenberg felt the test was a useful way to give an outsider’s perspective to the VF-22 to Haas, as well as help him handle the team’s core operations.
“The team has been working with this car all year, so they know it very well,” said Hulkenberg.
“But sometimes I hear it from someone who comes up [in]Because drivers get used to the car beautifully, even in the course of a day, you can get used to things quite easily – sometimes it’s nice when someone new comes along and has a different opinion and perspective.
“But for me it was about tasting it for the first time, trying the car, getting the mileage and a lot of standard and basic routines which are also important, because pre-season is very limited as we know.”