The most important changes to the Formula 1 cars of 2022

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Formula 1 will be overhauled from next season. With some major rule changes, the sport hopes to create a more competitive field where multiple teams can battle for wins and podiums. The costs must also be reduced. The main focus, however, is to make it easier to follow and overtake. We’ve listed the biggest changes for you.

The regulation changes are accompanied by a partly new car. In particular, the aerodynamic regulations have been adjusted, giving the weaponry a significant facelift. Formula 1 pulled the curtain on the concept car for the first time at Silverstone last year. Originally, the new regulations were supposed to come into effect in 2021, but they were postponed one year due to the pandemic.

New Aerodynamics

One of the biggest pain points of the cars in recent years has been the loss of downforce during tracking. As soon as you drove close behind your predecessor, you got such a bucket of dirty air in your face that you lost a lot of grip. This made it extremely difficult to follow, and therefore also to overtake. When following about 20 meters away, drivers lost about 35 percent of their downforce. Around ten meters this rose to 47 percent. So almost half. You can imagine that you lose time in the corners because of this. Formula 1 wants to reduce this to four percent at 20 meters and 19 percent at ten meters.

Ground effect floor

To achieve this, a number of major aerodynamic changes have been made. Starting with the so-called ground-effect floor. By installing two long tunnels on the current flat floor, a much larger part of the downward force of the car will be generated by the underside of the car. This makes the car less sensitive to dirty air, but also immediately produces less dirty air. So win win. In addition, the upward airflow is directed further upwards, giving it longer time to lose energy before reaching a pursuer.

Front wing and nose simplified

The front wings in Formula 1 have regularly been made less complex in recent years, but this time the entire design is being overhauled. The new front wing should both generate more consistent downforce during tracking and ensure that the dirty air at the front of the car is directed past the front wheels as efficiently as possible. Also, the endplates are now one piece with the front wing itself. The front wing and nose are not standardized, but the teams now have to adhere to much more regulations than before.

rear wing

The rear wing has also been overhauled. In addition to looking a lot simpler and more stylish, it also has an important new feature. Rear wings were previously designed to direct airflow both upwards and outwards. However, this still left a pursuer in the dirty air. The new design should allow the airflow to rise in a kind of mushroom shape, so that less dirty air ends up on the track.

18-inch tires

Another big change are the 18-inch tires. These are considerably larger than the former 13-inch tires, giving the cars a different look. These slippers are designed in such a way that they are less likely to overheat, which improves chasing. Drivers should also be able to push longer during a stint. However, there is still a loss in performance, which means that strategic choices remain interesting. The lower profile should also contribute to less airflow.

Wheel covers and tire wings

Two completely new additions to the 2022 car are the so-called over-wheel winglets (the wings that hang over the front tires) and hubcaps. You read that right, Formula 1 cars get hubcaps. These wings are to direct the airflow from the front wheels past the rear wheels. The hubcaps are quite literally there to function as a cap, so that engineers cannot send more dirty air through the tires through a clever trick. Bargeboards and hydraulic suspension are prohibited.

More bio fuel

The engines remain the same. The current 1.6 turbo hybrid engines will also be used next season. However, more sustainable fuel will be used. Where currently 5.75 percent of the fuel must consist of bio-components, this will be increased to 10 percent by means of the switch to E10 fuel.

Safety

Of course, safety has also been taken into account. The chassis now has to absorb 48 percent more energy during the front crash test, while the rear has to withstand 15 percent more. Lessons have also been learned from the crash of Romain Grosjean in 2020, which released the fuel and caught fire. In such a crash, the engine should now safely detach from the chassis without risk of explosion. Furthermore, the nose of the car has been extended to dissipate more energy during a crash. This is following the fatal accident of Anthoine Hubert at Spa in 2019. Finally, the minimum weight of the car will increase to 790 kilos. This was 752 kilos.

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