This year will end on Sunday, after one of the most intense championship battles in Formula 1 history Red Bull’s Max Verstappen Winner The sport will enter a new era in 2022 in an effort to further improve the show, the drivers’ championship.
Cars will look surprisingly different after a major rule change governing aerodynamics to make one car follow another more closely and aid in overtaking.
“It has long been suspected that the cars were not very friendly when they raced each other,” Ross BrawnFormula 1 Managing Director Motorsports said in an interview.
“The performance of the following car was very badly affected by being in view of the car in front. It starts to lose performance the closer it gets, and that doesn’t help with good racing.”
When Brawn – a former technical director at Ferrari and team principal at Mercedes, who won the drivers and constructors title in 2009 with his team, Brawn GP – joined the Formula 1 group in 2017, he set up a research group. Pursue raceability. ,
Formula 1 by . acquisition of Liberty Media Corporation In 2017 ensured that there was a budget to deal with this issue.
“There was no resource committed to this area,” Brawn said. “The rules were developed by teams that had all the knowledge, expertise and funding.
“Regulations are developed through proposals and suggestions from teams. They never prioritized adapting the cars to race each other. Suddenly the resource was made available.”
The research group, working with the sport’s governing body, the FIA, sought to understand the reasons for the loss of aerodynamic performance and design a car that would allow drivers to race wheel-to-wheel on a more regular basis.
To assess the problem, the group first built a computer model of a car. Once this was understood, the models were built and tested in the wind tunnel.
The car, which was an interpretation of Formula 1 rules, was unveiled at this year’s British Grand Prix. The 2022 cars will also have new 18-inch tires from Pirelli after decades of sport using 13-inch tires.
The 10 teams will then produce their cars based on the Formula 1 design. They will take those cars to the track for the first time in pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain from 23 to 25 February. The first race is in Bahrain on 20 March.
“Our process will not stop,” Brawn said. “Once we see the new cars race, we will look at the solutions the teams have come up with, and we will evaluate them and make sure we are not losing momentum on this initiative to make the cars more raceable. Huh.”
Formula 1 has improved the way air flows around the car. Recent cars have pushed the flow to the side, meaning that the air stays low and slows down the following car.
Next year’s cars will circulate air down and through the car, causing a lot of flow on the rear of it.
“To give you some idea of the numbers, this year’s car, when it was two cars’ length behind, lost half its performance,” Brawn said.
“The new car loses only 10 or 15 percent of its performance. That’s a huge difference.”
After winning eight consecutive constructors’ titles, Mercedes’ dominance of Formula 1 could end next year if a rival team finds better solutions in interpreting the rules.
When new rules are introduced, engineers study them in hopes of discovering a silver bullet.
“It’s quite possible that the teams that didn’t compete for the world championship this year, whether it’s Ferrari, McLaren, Aston Martin or Alpine, came up with intelligent concepts based on more runs than anyone else and just made it very You’re doing it right,” said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.
“So I think we can expect to fight closer for the championship and in the race than before, and that’s exciting.”
Red Bull battled with Mercedes for the constructors’ and drivers’ titles in the last race in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Although the teams halted development of this season’s cars at the start of the year to focus their resources on the 2022 model, the intensity of the title fight between Mercedes and Red Bull may have had an effect.
“When Ferrari comes up with the fastest car and drives us out of park in the first race, you have to say it probably happened,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
“We all know that big regulation changes were coming for 2022, and we have implemented our resource accordingly. I am sure each team has done what they think is right, but of course, with Mercedes The fighting put pressure on the organization.
Horner said there was “a significant effort” on the part of his team to focus on the championship challenge and development of the next year’s car.
“We will only see, in a few months, when we come back with completely new cars that will look different, feel different and drive differently, who did right and who did wrong,” he said. .
Ferrari finished third in the Constructors’ Championship, 290 points behind Mercedes, a significant improvement after finishing sixth in 2020.
Ferrari’s sporting director Laurent Meckies said next season was “a momentous occasion”.
“As much as we would like this to be a turning point for us, it is the case for anyone who hasn’t fought for victory,” Maciez said. “They’ll think the same way, so we’re mindful of that side of the challenge.
“In terms of changing the order, it can happen. i’m not saying [the standings] The upside would be, but times when we’ve had major changes to the rules in the past, it’s changed the cycle. ,
Haas finished last in this year’s championship and failed to score a point. The team decided ahead of the season not to develop its own car to focus solely on the 2022 car.
Team principal Günther Steiner is optimistic the decision will pay off.
“I’m sure we’ll be in a better position,” he said. “Hopefully fighting for points next year in the midfield.”
After five years with Mercedes, winning 10 Grands Prix, Valtteri Bottas moved to Alfa Romeo the following year. The team has scored only 13 points this season.
Bottas said that “the beauty of the New Testament” means “anything is possible,” but he is realistic.
“I don’t think we will fight for a win as consistently as Mercedes next year,” Bottas said. “But with the team being consistently in points in the first year, it is possible.
“There are so many variables and so many things that will ultimately affect how it will be.”
Because of his history of innovation with Formula 1 teams and his technical knowledge, Brawn eagerly awaits the arrival of next year’s cars and sees how the teams understand the new rules.
“When the teams first saw the rules, there were moans and groans about the fact that we would take a lot of scope out of them,” said Brawn. “But when he explored them, he realized there was still a lot of potential.
“When I was a technical director, I always took the approach that I had to work within the rules that were out there. Given that they were the same rules for everyone, whoever worked best with them would be the one who did. will succeed. “
Brawn is happy with the solution given by Formula 1, although it is only “a platform for the future”.
“When we start out there might be a little disparity in performance because everyone is going to come up with different solutions, but once we settle in, it will be a better platform for designing cars.”
The question is, will racing improve? “Yeah,” said Brawn. “We will have cars very close in performance.”