2022 F1 car model, Silverstone, 2021

2022 F1 car looks ‘cool but retro like a 1990s Indycar’ – Horner

2021 British Grand Prix

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Next year’s Formula 1 cars will look like IndyCar machines from the nineties, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said.

The championship presented a full-size model showing how a car built to new regulations for the 2022 F1 season will look.

“They’re kind of retro-looking,” said Horner. “It reminds me of sort of a 1990s Indycar. I think the car looks pretty cool but it’s kind of retro.”

Several teams have indicated the new regulations are very restrictive and next year’s cars are likely to look very similar.

“I think you’ll get very slight variants on a theme,” said Horner. “The regulations are so tight now that the variance between the car will be visibly quite minimal and the differences will be no doubt under the skin of the car.

“Which is kind of a shame, that we’re going down a route that the shape is so constrained so it’ll be the livery that’ll be the biggest differentiator between the cars.”

Horner’s opposite number at championship rivals Mercedes, Toto Wolff, also sees little room for differentiation between designs next year.

“We are very constrained by the regulations,” he said. “There will be details that are going to be different between the cars but I doubt we are going to have a revolution that cars will be looking very different.”

2022 F1 car design model

Gil de Ferran, Hall, IndyCar (CART), 1996
Gil de Ferran in a 1996 Reynard CART Indycar

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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25 comments on “2022 F1 car looks ‘cool but retro like a 1990s Indycar’ – Horner”

  1. Is he referring to the awful post-split IRL machinery?

    1. I don’t think so. I think it’s more the simplicity in the wings than anything that makes the resemblance. The front wing is clean and the back wing without endplates looks a bit like a low-drag Indy superspeedway wing.

      Looking like a 1990s IndyCar is not a bad thing, in my book.

      (Assuming, of course, we’re not talking about those post-split IRL cars…)

      1. Unfortunately I see mid 2000 champ car.
        After seeing such massive wings I can’t see how these cars are going to be aby slower. Frankly cars all look the same, the merc last years merc and the mclaren are like almost identical, others have very similar noses.

  2. Boeing called, they want there wing back.

  3. An F1 car should never be compared to an Indycar, Especially a retro Indycar because F1 as the pinnacle of the sport should look significantly more advanced than an Indycar.

    If it looks like an Indycar then why pay more to watch F1 rather than Indycar, Especially if F1 is going to be the pseudo-spec series it seems it’s going to be with everything looking identical?

    The regulations are clearly too restrictive. F1 should be about technical innovation, engineering & cars which can be developed to look different. Having things so restrictive, Having it where everything is going to look the same & perform very similarly simply isn’t F1 & it’s another example of Liberty taking F1 in completely the wrong direction.

    It’s turning into the Indycar+ I have been warning everyone about since Liberty came in. An American brand with no history/knowledge of the sport who are turning it into a budget, Americanised series.

    F1 is finished, May as well just go all the way & rename it Indycar+ as that’s what it will be!

    #LibertyOut! #F1NotIndycar+ #NoToIndycar+

    1. The regulations are clearly too restrictive. F1 should be about technical innovation, engineering & cars which can be developed to look different.

      Yes as long as teams can pay for it and they will not if one team can easily beat all other for a decade, most races are decided by the first corner/pit stint, and the “best” solution for overtaking so far – DRS – is hated by many people.

    2. RandomMallard (@)
      16th July 2021, 17:48

      @roger-ayles I really don’t understand this. You complain about DRS and strategy being part of F1, but as soon as another solution to the problems that lead to those so-called gimmicks were introduced is also announced, it gets criticised for being ugly? I really don’t understand at all.

      With regards to the technical freedoms, I haven’t myself read the regulations, but I believe they are all going to have less regulation on the underside of the floor, where most of the downforce will be generated, allowing teams to develop their own ground effect. They may look the same, but they won’t be the same.

      1. @randommallard the floor dimensions are also significantly more restrictive than the current regulations. Just like the upper aerodynamic surfaces, the new regulations now split the floor area into multiple different sections, with a narrow envelope within which that the profile of each section of the floor must fit within.

        As I pointed out in the other thread on the 2022 cars, the length of Article 3 in the 2022 regulations is more than double what it is now, with the text for the previous three major aerodynamic rule changes combined being shorter than the 2022 regulation set.

        Similarly, F1 Technical has produced a graphic showing the areas that the 2022 regulation set have allowed the teams to place their bodywork within, which is here https://f1tcdn.net/images/features/2021/article3-2022.png

    3. IndyCar+? Wait for IndyCar’s response then! Hint: “CART X”, “CART Y” or “CART Z”.

  4. The regulations are clearly too restrictive. F1 should be about technical innovation, engineering & cars which can be developed to look different.

    Yes as long as teams can pay for it and they will not if one team can easily beat all other for a decade, most races are decided by the first corner/pit stint, and the “best” solution for overtaking so far – DRS – is hated by many people.

  5. I like it.
    I think teams still have some room to adapt the cars.
    Sincerely, all the aero flimsy part might be an engineering marvel but it seems to had failed to improved racing.

  6. The only good thing that the regulations are so tight is going to be when whitin 5 o 6 years they will decide that the tight regulations is one of the factors that are ruining the racing and will get rid of it and give the engineers the freedom to design beautiful cars.

    This semi-spec thing is an abomination, apart from whether the aesthetics like it or not, all the cars were already very similar and now they will be almost the same. What is the point of spending millions to improve your car if the only thing that will visually differentiate your car from another is the colors and the stickers? For make that you can pay to put a sticker (as in Formula E). But in fact, it’s not that Aston Martin or Alfa Romeo are doing much more than that so…

    The good thing is that F1 is always changing and I have the confidence that with the experience, the things are going to move to more freedom in design and more regulated money spending.

    1. “Give engineers all the freedom to design beautiful cars” has to be the most optimistic statement ever. You can be assured of getting the ugliest abonimations that are thousands of a second faster than an eye-pleaser.

      FIA and FOM has to save F1 from itself. With the budget caps, this is actually a good thing as we don’t need to see the differentiators on the chassis and tens of articles each racing weekend on a new turning vane on the barge board.

      The late 80s also had quite simple looking cars but still had the most dominant car ever in the form of MP4/4. I really don’t care about the looks as long as there is still an engineering differentiator present that splits the field, unlike spec cars.

      1. Well I admit that I have been very optimistic with that statement. What I was referring to is that they will give them more freedom to do different things and find different solutions to the same problem, which is (or was) one of the nice things about F1.

        Having a salary cap, I do not think it is so necessary to make such a tight and overregulated technical regulation, since if you give everyone more or less the same money, you should not need other things to equalize performance.

        What I wanted to refer to is that in a few years they will realize that to equalize performance you have to equalize the disposable money, the limit of the design will be set by this amount of money, not the rules, and having all more or less the same, it must be more even, more equal in performance and less in appearance.

  7. I don’t mind the look, I’m more concerned at the lack of in season development. If the seasons balance of performance is determined at the first race, why bother with the other races.

  8. The fact they built an example car just highlights how F1 is becoming a spec series. I hope there is scope in the regulations, having not read them I don’t know of course! Thinking back to 2009, I can’t remember the FIA or FOM building an actual sample car and parading it at GPs. I do seem to recall when BMW ran a proposed front wing for the following season in 2008 and the associated gasps of horror!

    1. @john-h Going on Brawns statements from last year about ‘closing loopholes’ during the season I would say there will be little to no scope to change. Next will the the PU in 2025 as I posted elsewhere on this forum It now makes sense as to why RB bought the Honda engine. They are hoping to fill the void if/when one or perhaps two of the other manufacturers pull out.

  9. I liked the latest model’s looks, but this is not important at all. We will all get bored of it within a season, because they will all look exactly the same for years to come. The regulations have become ridiculously narrow – No room for teams to innovate or to specialize or to excel. The development path will be like a narrow road, and that will result in the opposite effect of what they wanted to achieve: One team pulls ahead and stays ahead.

  10. I honestly hope the engineers will manage to produce better looks. This model is meh at best, with the rear wing being especially revolting.

  11. So how close are we to a spec series? I honestly think there will be more dominance by the rich teams. Look how close the grids are now. Closer from front to back than a spec series like Indy. I wish they would just go straight to a spec car so I could quit watching this abomination. The slow creep of the last 30 years to a spec car is like the boiling frog for me.

  12. Other than the rear wing and the halo I think it looks more like a Jordan 191 than a 90’s CHAMP/IndyCar. And honestly either would be fine with me. The 191 is constantly regarded as one of the best-looking race cars ever designed inside or outside of F1. If the technical regulations couple that with factors that make the racing tighter and overtaking easier, I am all for it.

  13. If regulations are so restrictive and most of the car’s shape and form are going to be similar, why are teams talking about moving focus to the 2022 car? One would spend more time on the wind tunnel, CFD if there are a lot many designs to test and evaluate. If regulations are restrictive, there would be no point to move focus to 2022 so early as simply there aren’t so many concepts / designs to test and evaluate.

    So on one hand, you whine about having to balance between 2021 and 2022. Then you also whine about 2022 regulations being restrictive. I am going to put down this quote as smokes and mirrors by both Toto and Christian

  14. Rear wing looks like a chef’s hat!

  15. It doesn’t look anything like a 90’s IndyCar, but it does look like a current one.

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