New formula 1 cars: more demands on drivers’ skills again

The new generation of Formula 1 cars from 2022 will put the driver back in the spotlight: cars will be more difficult to drive at the limit and no longer so stable

(motorsport-total.Com) – formula 1 enters a new era in 2022 and aims to make racing better again with new ground-effect cars. While the new rules are not specifically designed to make overtaking easier per se, the hope is that the new concept will make it easier for drivers to follow the car in front.

The new 2022 Formula 1 car

This is what the new 2022 formula 1 cars will look like zoom

To achieve this, Formula 1 has moved away from relying on downforce generated by front and rear wings. Instead, the cars will generate much more of their performance by passing air through the venturi tunnels under the car.

This should mean that subsequent cars won’t have such big problems with their opponents’ swirling air. This should also help reduce slippage and the resulting overheated tires.

As a consequence one expected drastically increasing lap times. There was even talk of up to five seconds in the beginning. Meanwhile, indications are that the teams have already understood the new rules to the point where the new cars should be just 0.5 seconds slower per lap.

Car no longer so nice to drive

But even with similar lap times, a theme has recently emerged: the drivers’ feeling of how different the new cars are to drive. The drivers who tried out their cars in the simulator talked about how the car no longer felt so stable.

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Mclaren’s lando norris says: "i don’t think it’s going to be that nice to drive". You’ll be a bit more on the limit – a bit like in Formula 2, where you’re fighting with the car a bit more."

But the cars should be more stable when you’re behind another car. So statements like that suggest that something must have gone wrong somewhere.

Aerodynamics no longer so perfect and stable

But FIA technical director nikolas tombazis explains that the feeling of the drivers is simply a consequence of the fact that the aerodynamics of the cars have been simplified. Whereas teams used to perfect the airflow to ensure that there was constant airflow in the corner, this is no longer possible.

"Nowadays there are a whole series of challenges in terms of drivability", explains tombazis. "The teams have developed the cornering behavior from the point of view of drivability and stability and have done a lot of work in the simulator."

Photo gallery: the 2022 formula 1 car in pictures

"They’ve also done a lot of work on the aerodynamics to make sure the car doesn’t have rapid changes in characteristics in the corner that could unsettle the driver.", he continues.

"As far as I know, the new rules make it a bit more difficult. So I think the cars will be a bit more difficult to drive, which I think is a good thing."

Driver back in the spotlight

The areas that teams have tweaked the most – such as airflow from the front wing over the bargeboards and under the car – are no longer possible under the new rule restrictions, tombazis says.

"In the past, this was achieved on the front wing and the bargeboard area by playing very carefully with the different vortices and how they moved through the air.", he says. "However, the options are now limited."

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The restrictions and the changed vehicle characteristics should ensure that the driver is once again the center of attention – and tombazis is happy about that.

"I think it’s good for drivers’ skills that the car is not so predictable", he says. "I think it will be potentially more difficult to drive because some of the features are not so sophisticated."

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