With the current season leading up to an exciting tussle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, the new F1 car for 2022 has been unveiled. What was a basic rendering doing rounds of the internet is now a reality, and from what we can tell, it is all done in the interest of making F1 even more exciting for fans.
The new regulations were set for 2021, but the outburst of the pandemic meant the launch was pushed one more year. The 2022 car is developed by Formula 1’s in-house Motorsports team in collaboration with the FIA and has put a lot more significance on the aerodynamic property known as ‘ground effect’. It basically means that overtaking will now be easier, which means more action on the track. Something F1 fans always yearn for.
But what of the looks? It hasn’t received any major negative backlash, but it sure looks futuristic and a better version of the current cars.
The front wing is a completely new shape, and the focus is on achieving more downforce. The winglets are designed to push the air around the car rather than under it, enabling better control. The entire car is designed for better aero, and then there are changes and updates that you will probably never get to see unless someone pulls a Mark Webber (2010 European GP) and ends up with the car resting on the halo. Instead of the stepped floor, there are fully shaped underflow tunnels that are a lot more effective in terms of downforce, especially during overtaking.
The more prominent and distinctive change is the 18-inch wheels with low-profile tyres. The new Pirelli wheels will also get a new rubber compound which will allow for better grip, less heat and less wear. The rear wing is arguably the most sci-fi bit on the new car with rolled tips. Of course, this too has a function: to create rotational airflow and direct the air through a steeper diffuser ramp. There is no change to the DRS system as the flap will continue to open and close the way it does.
The other odd bit is that the power unit will see no change for 2022. Despite the car being completely redesigned, the 1.6-litre turbo-hybrid engines will stay. That said, there will be some tweaks to the fuel system and more sensors to help FIA keep a closer watch on the PUs. Now while the engines remain the same, what powers it won’t be. The new 2022 F1 cars will run on more sustainable fuel with a bio-component ratio of 10%, thanks to a move to E10 fuel.
Safety is another aspect that has been looked at closely with the new cars. The new rules state that the chassis now need to absorb 48% energy at the front and 15% energy at the rear in the impact tests. There are also more stringent norms for the ‘squeeze’ tests to certify their strength. Changes have been made to the cars wherein the engine will safely separate from the chassis without exposing the fuel tank in the event of a crash. The overall weight too has now gone up by 5%. All this is a result of over 7500 simulations run by the F1 Motorsports team. That has led to around half a petabyte of data, and if you are wondering how much that is, a rough estimate is a third of all the photos on Facebook. Wrap your head around that.
In conclusion, F1 next year is sure to get a lot more exciting, which is always great news. However, this week’s sprint race and main race at the legendary Silverstone GP is going to be no less. Make sure you tune into that.