On March, 18th the 2022 Formula One season will start with the Free Practice One. Twenty drivers, ten teams, four engine suppliers, one goal: the championship. However, this season is not like the other 70 before. We are about to witness the biggest revolution in Formula One history. So, with that in mind, what to expect from the 2022 Formula One season?
To this answer i will try to be more honest possible. Well, you can expect everything and nothing at the same time. How is it even possible? Well, let me explain a little bit
Formula one 2022: reason to be caution
As i said, we are about to live another era in Formula One. The cars we are going to see on track on the winter test, before the beginning in Bahrain, will look and work way much different than the way they used to in the last 20 years. There are three main reasons why caution is not that bad.
“No more” Aerodynamics in the Formula one 2022
Well, technically it’s quite true, but now cars will work differently. Until 2021 they use the entire car to make sure that the air pushed it on the ground. The more pressure, the better the performances. In this way cars could turn faster and tyres could work in a proper temperature window. Aerodynamics, together with the engine, was the key to success. It’s not a case if you saw certain forms or little wings all over the car. Everything was there for a purpose. Suspension, wings and the entire body of the car had the specific goal to get more downforce.
The Aerodynamic had another goal: make sure to get through the air with less resistance possible. All the teams wanted a car that could cut the air like hot knife with butter. So all the wings and the forms you saw had that specific lines for that reason.
Yes, aerodynamics was a compromise between vertical and horizontal forces.
In 2022 one half of the problems will be gone. Cars will still need to find a way to get through the air with less resistance possible, but the downforce will not be generated by the car itself. For that porpouse channels underneath the car will be used, the so called “Venturi Channels”. Those channels should provide a depression field to make sure that the car will stick on the ground.
The reason behind this choice?
The goal is to make sure to have closer and more exciting racing. Until 2021 all the teams developed the cars in their wind tunnel, where they tested their solution in “free air”, a condition where the air hit the car perfectly straight. The problem is that something like that never happens in a race. In reality, there will often be a car in front of you, which will disturb the airflow, making your car very hard to drive. It wasn’t unusual to hear a driver complaining about the car, once he got closer to another driver. With the Venturi Channel and a different diffuser, the airflow should not be so disturbed from the car ahead, which should allow the car behind to stay closer and have more opportunity to overtake.
New Tyres in the Formula one 2022
Pirelli will bring new tyres. Well, technically we are talking about the same compounds, but the rim will be bigger: from a 16″ to a 18″. It will be a completely new tyre, with different temperature window and different wear. The new Pirelli tyres made their debut already in the Abu Dhabi test, where team tested them.
Although they look very aggressive, we have no idea how those tyres will work on a long runs. The winter test will give us the answers.
Formula one 2022: reason to be Optimistic
Brand New Cars
We are talking about new cars. It’s like 2017 once again. This time with even a bigger change. Those car should provide closer racing, a lot less loose of downforce and the same performances we have seen in the last couple of years. With all this promises, the 2022 Formula One season can be one of the most exciting season in history.
The engineers, who worked on the prototype of the 2022 car, said that the in a fight between two cars, the car behind will lose only 10-15% of the downforce, if it’s inside the one second gap. In 2021 was like 50% or even more. If the data will be true, we are gonna see much more fight on track, where drivers can drive through the field if they are faster than the driver ahead. For the first time in ages, driver can fights on track, without thinking too much of undercut, overcut and boring thing like that.
The tyres will be a key factor, already in the winter test. Since last year, driver and team had to treat the tyres with the gloves, because they were just too sensitive: a couple of degrees more or less could produces a huge negative effect on the driveability of a car. Often we have see driver, who were unable to fight or push, because the tyres were too hot and the team didn’t want to screw the strategy during the race. With the new Pirelli tyres those problem should be a bad memory in the past, allowing drivers to push all the way through the stint and make sure to have the best chances to have way much better results.
As i said, this is a revolution. On paper, everything looks perfect. In reality, we have seen Formula One fail. I am not excited, but i am not disheartened either. I am just curious to see where this regulation will bring Formula Once.