motorsport magazine.Com – revolutionary new formula 1 rules to turn the top class upside down in 2022. No more bargeboards, further simplified front and rear wings, 18-inch wheels with covers instead of 13-inchers, simpler wheel suspensions and a return of ground effects as a new way of generating the necessary downforce – these are just the biggest and technical cornerstones of the new concept for tighter racing in formula 1.
On top of that, the budget cap of 140 million U.S. dollars (approx. €1.5 billion) has been further tightened after its debut the previous year. 128 million euros) and restrictions on wind tunnel times for the more successful 2021 teams to ensure more equal opportunities. Apart from the effects on racing and the speed of the cars, what is particularly interesting is how all this will affect the balance of power? If industry leader mercedes has its way for years, major upheavals are definitely on the cards.
Formula 1 2022: biggest rule changes in history?
Despite all the assurances from the FIA and Formula 1 that the new regulations, which were forged over years by a specially convened committee of experts, have at least closed major loopholes, and despite fears that too few freedoms in the regulations could lead to a uniformity of the new generation of cars, for Mercedes technical director James Allison one thing is above all important: the enormous quantitative and qualitative scope of the new regulations.
"The fact that it’s taken so long to make them happen sometimes makes it easy to forget what a massive set of rule changes these 2022 rules represent.", says the brit in a mercedes video. For allison, one thing is certain: more has never changed in the entire history of Formula 1 – even though at least the power unit as an overall concept will remain the same in 2022.
Mercedes engineering chief: entire philosophy is different
"I’ve been working in this sport for more than 30 years and they [the new rules] are beyond anything I’ve ever seen before. if i were to dig through wikipedia and go through all the years this sport has ever seen, there would be nothing that compares to the extent of keeping up with the regulatory changes coming in 2022", says mercedes’ top engineer. "The rulebook is not only enormous – the rules are twice as big like the previous ones – they are also almost completely different from what existed before. So we have to design the car from head to toe reinventing. No matter where you look, everything is completely new."
It’s not just about new parts, he says, but about the entire vehicle philosophy. Allison gives a glimpse into the big head-smoking at mercedes. "It’s incredibly tough and challenging. It’s taken a long time to even understand what the best response to these rules is and where you can find the opportunities to put a car on the track that we can be competitive with from the start.", describes the technical director of the reigning world constructors’ champion.
Allison: one or two cars won’t meet rules
Of course, it’s hard to make any predictions about the balance of power at this stage, says allison. "But it’s an exciting thing. None of us knows the. And one essence of this sport is not knowing what’s going to happen", says the engineer. Only one thing is already certain for allison in view of the extensive rule changes. 2022 will not pass without major winners or losers. "Since the cars are so new and different, I can imagine one or two cars in the grid being really badly off the mark. And they will have an incredibly painful year."
backlog – to what extent also always – however, allison expects all teams, even mercedes. "Things we just didn’t foresee", says allison. "We’ll look at other cars and think, ‘oh, why didn’t we think of that??’ then we’ll be scurrying around to get this idea on our car as quickly as possible so we can scramble our way to the front, wherever we end up in the first race. Or, if we are so lucky to be in front, to keep the attacking wolves behind us."
problem budget limit: how many upgrades go?
That’s why allison expects that the greatest effort in working out the new philosophy will not necessarily be behind him. "We will certainly not get too much sleep the whole season", the brite jokingly fears. What could help the sleeping habits, but not the comeback after a possibly weak start, is the tight financial corset under the new budget cap: how many major developments to correct the course during the season does that allow at all??
Here, ferrari sports director laurent mekies has already warned recently. An arms race like in the past is probably only possible in much smaller dimensions in 2022. "There won’t be as little development as last year, when it was almost zero, at least for us," says allison, the ‘marca’ quoted the frenchman. "But if you think about 2019 or 2018, we’ll see less than in those years, when the big teams brought something new to every race. From our point of view, it will be difficult to bring a large number of upgrades within the spending limit."
Formula 1: ferrari expects end of arms race
Reserves must be kept rather for the generally expected lessons in the first year of a new regulation. After all, they will have to learn and readjust quickly over the course of the season. If something goes wrong, however, you have to deviate from this ideal pattern and spend everything on major corrections. "If you have a big hiccup early in the season and nothing correlates, then you can spend some of your money on two or three upgrades. Because you have to fix that somehow", says mekies. But by the time they find their way to the car, many a train in the world championship could have already left the station. Then there is the threat of exactly what allison warns about – an incredibly painful year.