Nico Hulkenberg, the Haas Formula One driver, turned heads at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Thursday when he unveiled his striking dyed bleach blond look, playfully referring to it as his “Barbie movie vibe.” The press conference at the Hungaroring took on a light-hearted tone as Hulkenberg humorously dismissed speculations about a bet behind his new hairstyle. With a grin, he quipped, “No, not a bet… you know, that Barbie movie came out and I thought a bit of extra PR for me would be pretty handy this time of the season. Actually, no, I wasn’t aware of it. I didn’t really play with Barbie and Ken when I was a child. So I just ran into this one and bad timing, I guess.”
Beyond the playful banter, Hulkenberg acknowledged the challenges that lie ahead for his U.S.-owned team, despite introducing some minor upgrades to the car’s floor. While hopeful that the modifications would provide an edge, he remained cognizant of the fierce competition in the field, emphasizing the importance of every session and every lap.
The qualifying session posed a specific concern for Hulkenberg and his team, given the new tire usage rules. With the requirement to use hard tires in Q1 (the first phase), he foresaw a potentially unfavorable setup for Haas. However, he embraced the challenge, displaying his determination to overcome any obstacles.
Adding further intrigue to the race weekend, the 11th round of the season marked the debut of the ‘Alternative Tyre Allocation’ (ATA) event. This meant specific tire compounds were mandated for each phase of qualifying, eliminating the usual free tire choice for teams. The phases were designated with hard tires for the first phase, mediums for the second, and softs for the final top 10 shootout.
As the current season progressed, Haas found themselves in the eighth position overall in the standings after ten races, with Hulkenberg responsible for earning nine of their 11 points so far. Despite the anticipated challenges, the team remained steadfast in their pursuit of success on the competitive Formula One circuit.