F1 2022: the race to develop single-seaters can be a risk

One of the great themes of the F1 operating in the new regulatory context is that relating to the development of single-seaters. Or rather the ability of the teams to take the correct path to correct any design flaws or to maximize the performance of those cars born well. It has been read from many quarters that this championship will be won by those who will be able to effectively evolve models that are at the year zero of their progressing parable.

But we must break that equation according to which the technical innovations automatically correspond to an improvement of the car. This principle, which has always been valid and operative, takes on even more profound meanings when we are immersed in a new technical-regulatory context bound to stringent financial rules and to some chaining limitations on the number of hours to be exploited in the wind tunnel and on the CFD tokens to be able to to use.

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H

Without going too far back in the past, there are many cases that we could cite to confirm how a wrong development direction could have compromised a season that could have been glorious. Intercom Ferrari and ask about the 2017 and 2018 championships to get an answer on the matter. To stay on top of things, just look at what’s happening in Mercedes AMG F1a team that seemed to be the technical and organizational reference par excellence and which is now getting lost with a car that is difficult to understand and prepare for the track.

TO Barcelona, for the first three days of pre-season tests, a car that appeared effective was used but which has been profoundly revised in the Barhenian aerodynamic guise with the results that we are well aware of and that it is useless to go into further detail. A tangible sign that a massive change made in a short time – even if we are talking about scheduled adjustments – has caused the loss of reference points with the consequent decline in performance accentuated by an aerodynamic pumping not found in Catalan soil.

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Mercedes W13, Bahrain 2022 test

Gunther Steinerthe explosive team principal of that Haas protagonist of a good start 2022 with Kevin Magnussen (more in crisis with Mick Schumacher who is suffering from the confrontation with the Danish “fished out” to replace Nikita Mazepin), spoke precisely of the “danger” of giving free rein to aerodynamics without binding them adequately.

People like that they bring lots of updates. But if you do it for a few details it is not entirely decisive. The component may appear aesthetically different, but you have to ask yourself what it actually does, what its true function is. This is important to me. If it were for an aerodynamicist of F1 – explained the manager of Merano to colleagues of RN365 – this would spend a million dollars on upgrades at each grand prix for one simple detail. This dynamic must be managed keeping in mind the budget limit“.

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Kevin Magnussen aboard his Haas VF22

Steiner underlines an interesting issue that has contemporary feedback. For example, let’s look at what happens at home Ferrari. There F1-75 is such a successful car that the staff driven by Sanchez he is taking care not to introduce improvements just to do so. A careful process of weighing and evaluating the current package is underway from which to take inspiration to improve the car in a targeted and effective manner.

Yet Steiner: “Obviously I’m not saying that nobody brings valid updates; I think in general they are a little overrated. This year, as for the Haas, I want to voluntarily remain cautious. And not because we have no money but because we want to put the package together so that we can measure it correctly, to make progress without drastically changing the balance of the machine.“. Words that confirm what is the action of Ferrari hence the VF22 designed by Simone Resta mutual engine and other mechanical parts of the rear. And perhaps an operational methodology devoted to poise.

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Gunther Steiner and Gene Haas

We learned this in 2019 when we kept bringing updates and found ourselves at the last race with the aerodynamic package from the first race. Usually – he concluded Steiner we make a mistake only once and try not to repeat that mistake again. Let’s focus on the machine, understand it and then get the best out of what we have“.

The warning of the Italian engineer could turn into a real management philosophy necessary when the purse strings are tightened by the grip of a financial regulation that does not allow room for error. Again, with 23 races on the calendar seasoned by three sprint qualifications to increase the risk of accidents, a part of the budget must necessarily be reserved for unforeseen expenses that are only partially granted by the regulations. In a nutshell: today we must immediately guess the path of development because it is not possible to retrace one’s steps and redo projects from scratch. In Mercedes they are warned …


F1-Author: Diego Catalano @ diegocat1977

Photo: F1, Scuderia Ferrari F1, Albert Fabrega

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