Nico Hulkenberg reveals striking new ‘Barbie and Ken’ look in Hungary paddock

Oliver Harden
Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) sports a striking new haircut as he addresses the media at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2023.

Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) sports a striking new haircut as he addresses the media at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2023.

Nico Hulkenberg officially became Hul-KEN-berg at the Hungarian Grand Prix as the Haas driver turned up with a striking haircut – before joking that his new look is inspired by the new Barbie movie.

The Haas star already had people watching upon his return to F1 in 2023 with strong qualifying performances in Canada and Austria, but caught the attention for a very different reason in the Hungaroring paddock on Thursday by arriving with a peroxide hairdo.

Hulkenberg, naturally, was asked about his new look in the formal FIA press conference and – given his resemblance to Ken, the character played by Ryan Gosling – laughed that he was caught up in the spirit of the newly released Barbie film.

From HulkenBACK to Hul-KEN-berg for Nico Hulkenberg

Asked by host Tom Clarkson if a lost bet had prompted his new look, Hulkenberg said: “Fascinating what a bit of a dyed hair can do…

“No, not a bet. That Barbie movie came out and I thought a bit of extra PR for me is 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 just ran into this one. Bad timing, I guess…”

Attention soon turned to more serious matters, with Hulkenberg hinting that he is not the only driver sporting a new look after the news that Daniel Ricciardo, his former Renault team-mate, will spend the rest of the season at Red Bull junior team AlphaTauri after replacing Nyck de Vries.

“A lot more smiles, a lot more teeth you can see there,” Hulkenberg remarked to the amusement of his fellow drivers.

“Going to be interesting to see. I think it’s actually quite a strong race car, it will be interesting to see what Danny can do with it. Obviously he’s had now a good like eight, nine months out – a bit of a reset to be out of the hot seat for a while I think is quite nice. I speak from experience.

“He’s probably quite fresh and then reset and ready to go, so it’s going to be exciting to see what he can do.”

Hulkenberg has excelled upon his return to F1 after a three-year absence, with the German keen to continue with Haas beyond this season.

With eponymous team owner Gene Haas in attendance in Hungary, Hulkenberg was asked if he will meet with the American over the weekend to discuss his future.

“I’ll sit down with him regardless,” he replied. “Maybe there is no deal to be done, maybe a deal is in place – who knows?

“I’m pretty happy and relaxed. I think it works both ways at the moment and I’m enjoying myself. I think the team is also in a good place, so there’s no reason not to think why that relationship shouldn’t continue like this.”

A tweaked qualifying protocol will be in place in Hungary, where drivers will be forced to run on a mandated compound in each of the three qualifying segments.

With only hard tyres set to appear in Q1 in Budapest, Hulkenberg fears the ruling will work against Haas, who have scored just three points since Kevin Magnussen finished 10th in Miami in early May. recommends

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On the team’s prospects for the weekend, Hulkenberg said: “As confident as we can be.

“It’s been a bit tough lately, a bit of a dry spell also in terms of point scoring apart from Austria and the sprint race. Here it’s very hot, it’s very demanding on tyres so it’s going to be definitely a tough weekend for us.

“We have a few little upgrades to the car, on the floor, so hopefully they can push us along a little bit. But I expect the very tight field again so every session matters, every lap matters.

“I think quali for us with that new rule for how we have to run the tyres – the hard in Q1 – is probably not favourable for us, so an extra challenge there but we will just take it on.”

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