2022 F1 Cars Might Be Faster Than Expected, F1 Technical Chief Suggests

Pat Symonds 6 photos
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/The Race
2022 F1 Cars2022 F1 Cars2022 F1 Cars2022 F1 Cars2022 F1 Cars
When F1’s all-new regulations went public ahead of the United States Grand Prix in 2019, the expectation was the cars would be much slower than the current breed of F1 cars. Several drivers expressed their dissatisfaction notably, Lando Norris, who in his opinion, "was not as nice to drive."
Pat Symonds, in a recent interview with Auto Moto und Sports, suggested that next year’s all-new Formula One cars might start the season just half a second slower than the current machines. He further floated the possibility of the race cars getting faster by the end of the season.

Initially, Nicholas Tombazis, FIA’s head of single-seater technical affairs, stated that the expectation was that the F1 cars would be approximately between 3 to 3.5 seconds slower than the current cars.

So, why the contradiction? Well, Tombazis’s statement wasn’t incorrect. Due to the rules that F1 currently runs, it was inevitable the performance would be dramatically affected.

For instance, if we disregard the circuits where direct comparisons are not possible, since F1 did not visit them in 2020 and 2021 due to circuit configuration changes or rain, it leaves eight tracks where F1 cars were 1.208 seconds faster last year than this year.

Also, part of the reason is because of the small but significant aero tweaks for this season affected everyone, with Mercedes and Aston Martin being the worst hit. The simplified top-body aerodynamics means less downforce from the firmly regulated rear and front wings. These are tightly recommended to eliminate outwash aerodynamics that has worsened F1 turbulence issues for more than a decade.

So, why does the predicted speed come as a surprise? Well, for starters, with the current regulation. 2022 F1 cars will be 38 kgs heavier. The engines will also lose about 20 HP due to the introduction of ethanol fuel.

What this means is, the new F1 cars will produce more downforce. Additionally, the new 18-inch Pirelli tires are better than expected. That combination has the potential to deliver a better lap time.

According to Symonds, the new regulations were not to slow the cars but improve the frequency of closer racing.

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About the author: Humphrey Bwayo
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Humphrey is a car enthusiast whose love and passion for automobiles extended into collecting, writing, driving, and working on cars. He got his passion for cars from his Dad, who spent thousands of hours working on his old junky 1970 E20 Toyota Corolla. Years later, he would end up doing the same with a series of lemons he’s owned throughout his adult life.
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