Ferrari, Red Bull and the weight challenge. La Rossa is the leanest –

Of Piergiuseppe Donadoni

In Melbourne, the issue of extra pounds takes hold, all the teams are preparing updates to reduce them. And to save grams, the paint is also removed

The new generation of Formula 1 has reached a new record of minimum weight granted by the Federation, going from 752 kg for 2021 cars, to 798 kg, with an increase of 46 kilograms. The figure does not include fuel, but includes the rider’s weight (80 kg). The limit was initially set at 775 kg, 23 kg above the minimum weight allowed last season, the increase is attributable to the growth in the dimensions of the parts around the wheels (tires, rims and braking system). Then the weight was first increased to 795 kg, as a result of safety interventions, up to the current 798 kg.

This latest increase came as a result of small inconsistencies between the expected and actual weights of tires, rims and wheel covers, which the FIA ​​has recognized, but also from the addition of tie rods to reinforce the rear parts of the bottoms, granted by the Federation. after the problems that emerged in the first test of the season in Barcelona. The tie rod issue angered Alpine. «We have designed a stiffer floor, therefore a slightly heavier car, precisely to avoid excessive bending – said Pat Fry, technical director of the French team -. The possibility of mounting the tie rods to stiffen the bottom penalized those who, like us, had focused on greater solidity than lightness and flexibility ». One might think that staying below the minimum weight limit is not a problem for the teams at all, but it is not the case.

Only Alfa Romeo is guaranteed, at least initially, the weight of the car is slightly lower than that allowed by the Federation, with many other teams still not too far from 798 kg, among which there is Ferrari. The Swiss team has worked amazingly on weight reduction, using some very interesting technical solutions. Among these, the central knife airscope with purely structural purposes, internally called “rollover blade”; not an absolute novelty of the 2022 car, however, a solution that has helped in an important way to contain the weight of the C42 of Bottas and Zhou. The bottom was also designed to be ultralight, at least in the specific flow rate on the track in the Spanish tests of Montmelò; however, the important problems encountered, associated with the aerodynamic rebound, forced the Swiss team to stiffen it, with a consequent and inevitable increase in weight on the scale.

Of the three top teams, Ferrari is the one best placed at the line level; on the contrary, Red Bull, which pushed hard in the last technical meeting for a double-digit increase in the minimum weight, reaching a compromise of only 3 kg more. Not surprisingly, the team based in Milton Keynes had also asked for the reintroduction of the suspensive inerters, according to them to solve the problems of aerodynamic rebound, but in reality it was a move to obtain a more important increase in the minimum weight. While Mercedes certainly has a lot of room for improvement in terms of aerodynamic rebound management (Ferrari also, albeit to a lesser extent, having neutralized them better than their rivals), Red Bull will be able to achieve significant gains with the weight reduction of its RB18.

However, in times of budget cap, it is no longer possible for teams to study updates that reduce the weight of their car completely disconnected from what will be the real aerodynamic developments. If a team decides to develop an updated background, which also needs to be lightened, it is good that the new spec includes both improvements to avoid the production of a second background spec that would increase the budget. For this, the processes are lengthened.

“I assume we will lose some weight from Imola,” said Helmut Marko a Servus Tv. As well as Ferrari, which between Imola and Spain will intervene (also) on the weight of the F1-75. For now, the various teams have tried to lose weight through the simplest way, which is by removing part of the paint from the bodywork of their cars. Like the Mercedes in 1934 which took off the white color and showcases the silver of the polished aluminum. Thus was born the myth of the Silver Arrows.

Returning to F1 2022, Red Bull has brought a completely unpainted front wing to Bahrain, as well as Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin which also feature a completely bare rear wing. The English team had already talked about it at the end of 2021. “We had a meeting with the team’s top management to decide on next year’s paint and how much of the bodywork to paint – had anticipated the former Aston team principal, Szafnauer -. Weight will be an important factor. We have to remove as much of it as possible. That is why we are already talking about it now ». These words already sounded like an alarm at Aston Martin, so much so that the AMR22 is the heaviest car of the lot, along with the Red Bull. “Weight is a big problem for us,” explained Andrew Green, technical director of the English team. “We examined the entire car and removed the paint where we could. I think that in total we have saved about 350 grams ». The equivalent of just under a tenth.

April 6, 2022 (change April 6, 2022 | 17:36)

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