Zak Brown, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Brown hopes “three or four” teams fight for titles in 2022

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In the round-up: McLaren CEO Zak Brown says that having multiple teams able to compete for championships in 2022 is the “ultimate goal” for F1’s radical new rules

In brief

Brown hopes “three or four” teams fight for 2022 titles

McLaren CEO Zak Brown says the “ultimate goal” for F1’s sweeping technical regulation changes for 2022 is to have “three or four” teams competing for the championships throughout the season.

New rules for this year will see F1 cars feature heavily modified aerodynamics in an attempt to make overtaking easier. Brown hopes that the new cars – coupled with rules designed to bring teams closer together in performance – should make this year even more competitive.

“I think we’ll get some winners and losers and some surprises,” Brown said. “I’d be surprised if there was dominance. You could get a team who’s maybe dominant for a small period of time, like Brawn was when they figured out something in 2009.

“I think with the cost cap now in place, you can feel the tension that’s put on the the teams of when you stop developing this car at the expense of next year, et cetera. So I’d be surprised if the field didn’t continue to get closer. My hopes are that we go into Abu Dhabi this year with three or four cars that can compete for the championship. I think that’s the ultimate goal.”

Dakar Rally begins in Saudi Arabia

The 2022 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia has begun with a prologue stage to begin the two-week endurance cross-country challenge, with new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem in attendance to see drivers off at the start line.

Over 400 entries split into a variety of classes including cars, quads, bikes, trucks, light prototypes and more left the city of Jeddah and travelled 225km north to Hail before a 19km sprint.

In the car class, Toyota’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel set the pace, 12 seconds ahead of Carlos Sainz Snr and Lucas Cruz for Audi. Nine-time World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb was fifth fastest with co-driver Fabian Lurquin.

Today’s first major special stage will see competitors race 333kms around Hail before a 338km stage to Al-Artawiya on Monday.

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Comment of the day

Mercedes have given us the very first glimpse of how a genuine 2022 F1 car may look, but @roger-ayles is less than excited by what this could mean for the cars we will see on the grid this season…

Boring designs that offer no/little design freedom, where we are not getting the complex & intricate design concepts & differences between teams just isn’t F1 anymore & removes one of the parts of F1 that I have adored over the past 40-ish years. I love those designs, I love watching those small developments, I love seeing new little flaps, slot gaps & stuff & working out what they do. That is a big part of the draw of F1 to me, What has kept my interest all these years & why I have always watched F1 over the many other categories.

How simple the 2022 design is just makes it look more like an Indycar. It reminds me of an Indycar was a popular comment from F1 fans when the initially revealed the concept at Silverstone, That should be a worry because you should never be able to compare an F1 car to a spec series or more junior category car. It’s lost that extreme that F1 has always had which has always made it look steps above anything else.

It looks/feels to me like F1 is losing it’s identity. It’s becoming nothing more than Indycar+.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Regis and T3X!

On this day in motorsport

  • 55 years ago today Pedro Rodriguez scored the final victory for Cooper in the South African Grand Prix, after local driver John Love hit trouble with seven laps to go at Kyalami

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35 comments on “Brown hopes “three or four” teams fight for titles in 2022”

  1. 3 or 4 teams fighting for a championship? When has that ever happened? Never. I’ll take some of what he’s on.

    1. Snuffleupagus
      2nd January 2022, 0:16

      2010. 4 Drivers from 3 teams entered the final race fighting for the championship

    2. Derek Edwards
      2nd January 2022, 0:43

      I can immediately think of 1983. Arnoux, Prost, Piquet – Ferrari, Renault, Brabham, with Tambay also in contention until the penultimate race.

    3. @darryn of course it has happened. In 2010, coming into the title deciding last race, we had 4 drivers from 3 teams with a shot at the title. Two races from the end we had drivers from 3 different teams occupying the first 3 spots in the WDC standings, and the eventual champion was in fourth.

      1986, 4 drivers from 3 teams in the running in the title fight.
      1983, 3 drivers from 3 teams.
      1982, 4 drivers from 4 teams.
      1981. 1974. 1968. 1964. All saw drivers from at least 3 different teams in contention for the title.

    4. I had always believed all teams fought for the championship initially but some dropped off as the season progressed.

      1. I can recall a lot of F1 teams over the years who never fought for a championship – not even at the season opener.
        They knew it was out of reach – they competed for the passion of racing (and making a load of cash on the side).

    5. You don’t even have to go to the 80s.
      1999: McLaren (Häkkinen, Coulthard), Ferrari (Schumacher, Irvine), Jordan (Frentzen).
      2008: McLaren (Hamilton), Ferrari (Massa, Räikkönen), BMW-Sauber (Kubica).

      1. Not sure about 2008 really – the BMWs were never really in the title fight. I think 2003 was more competitive.

        1. @frood19
          Kubica lead the WDC after winning the Canadian GP. BMW were really in the title fight even though they didn’t have the fastest car till they decided to stop developing their car midseason to focus all their resources on the 2009 rule changes.

          Kubica scored three podiums in the second half of the season, finishing fourth in the standings 23 points behind world champion Lewis Hamilton. He remained in mathematical contention for the title until Japan where a second place couldn’t keep his title hopes alive.

          1. Yeah for Kubica to still remain in the WDC hunt until the penultimate round (17 of 18) of the 2008 championship was nothing short of amazing. Even Vettel couldn’t do that in 2017 and 18. And also since BMW stopped developing the car way too early in 2008.

    6. It’s OK, the FIA wish it – the race director and stewards will ensure that it happens.

  2. RandomMallard
    2nd January 2022, 1:20

    That Justin Wilson tweet is just heartbreaking. Absolutely devastating. Rest In Peace mate.

    1. RandomMallard
      2nd January 2022, 1:23

      I’ll add that I personally aren’t too disappointed with that Mercedes concept. Ike, I get that its gonna look a bit more similar across the grid, but there’s a fair amount that’s different on that merc to the various mock-ups we’ve seen so far. And I expect there will be quite a bit of difference between the cars underneath the floor, where we can’t see as much.

  3. RandomMallard
    2nd January 2022, 1:34

    One final comment from me, with it being a new year, F1TV has made the full races for the 2021 season available to F1TV Access users in most territories where they aren’t available during the current season (such as the UK, though there a small number of exceptions where 2021 races aren’t available until 2023). I think it costs something like £2.29 a month for F1TV Access, which includes the documentaries/shows (I personally recommend Tech Talk) and F1TV archive (pretty much every full race from 2010 to 2021, then notable races from 1980 to 2009, with highlights of other races in that period and season reviews from 1970-1979). I use this along with the Top 100 Rate the Race list on this website as well.

    (Note: I’m not sponsored/employed by F1 or F1TV, I just think it’s a fairly good deal)

    1. Again, I’ll also add that in the UK (and I think most other territories) this also includes the F2, F3 and Porsche Supercup races. And in most territories (most notably apart from the UK) it has the W Series as well I believe.

  4. I agree with COTD in that i am a bit concerned that we are going to have more similar, simpler looking cars with fewer developments for those of us who enjoy that side of F1 to really dig into.

    I do really enjoy that more technical side of F1, I do enjoy that development race & seeing teams trying new bits while also digging into what they do. That is indeed an aspect of F1 that does set it apart/above other categories, Especially now that everything else has gone single make on the chassis side.

    We’ll see what happens but if we do end up with a grid of cars that look too identical with very few differences & if we do get well into the year with very little having happend on the technical/development side to talk about I’ll be pretty frustrated, disappointed & honestly pretty sad at the direction things seem to have gone.

  5. Regarding the COTD what is more worrying is the ability to shut down any form of innovation/progress immediately. Which will lead to the cars becoming closer and closer in spec.
    Are they being corralled to a point in the future where single company could build and supply the entire field with a chassis.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      2nd January 2022, 9:02

      It might be worse that, to remove a concept might upset the car completely and see it running way down the order with little time left to properly design it out.

      Reading about previous years, concepts affect car design for 2 or more years.

  6. Short sighted to be doom and gloom off the very first image of a potential ’22 challenger. If the working team was successful we should see a few different core concepts pursued by different teams. It’s just too soon to say it will look like a spec series, we won’t know until testing if that’s the case.

    1. Yeah I’m with @skipgamer on this. I’m willing to give it some time.

      A balance needs to be struck here. We need to control certain areas to allow the cars to race again. At the same time we’re controlling spending. If both of these measures bring racing closer together hopefully technical regs can be relaxed over time.

      Let’s also not forget that there’s a lot of wonderful nerds scarifying the rule book looking for loopholes and areas of development. Where some see a problem, others will find an opportunity.

      I hope.

      1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        2nd January 2022, 9:04

        It isn’t just spending though. The winners from last year are getting less and less time to do a thorough test of each concept they might like to try. It is now a handicapped series as well.

        1. @andyfromsandy only wind tunnel testing. And given the bottom teams don’t even make the budget cap, I like this to try and level the field a little.

          1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
            2nd January 2022, 9:58

            And CFD.
            The linchpin of F1’s technology is computational fluid dynamics (CFD), a field that utilizes advanced mathematics and computer simulation to model and predict how the laws of physics and racing conditions will affect a race car’s performance on race day.

        2. @andyfromsandy
          What about the power units that have been the main performance differentiator in the hybrid era ?

          1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
            2nd January 2022, 11:42

            2022 will be the last update for performance and to run the E10 fuel. After that I assume upgrades will still be allowed for reliability issues.

            I did read that if an engine really is down on performance Nikolas Tombazis is considering what to do and not just leave the situation to fester for the next 4 years.

          2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
            2nd January 2022, 12:44

            Ferrari have let it be known that their new 2022 engine is going to very good. The regulations actually for engine development to continue until the summer. Ferrari is working on a couple of new solutions and will pick the best one at that time to go forward with.

            If Honda are only developing for the E10 to start the season with I wonder if after the summer break RBR will be at an engine disadvantage?

          3. @andyfromsandy
            Thanks mate for your comment. That was a false interrogation to the previous comment who claimed that the rules will result in similar cars where in the fact that PU development is still permitted till 2022 and it’s a huge performance factor.

            Ferrari have already chosen the development direction for its V6 turbo “Superfast” designed by Wolf Zimmermann in collaboration with AVL. They considered a split turbo concept but abandoned it because they have made a breakthrough with the combustion technology.

            If Honda are only developing for the E10 to start the season with I wonder if after the summer break RBR will be at an engine disadvantage?

            Honda do have stratospheric resources, they won’t have a problem to do a one final task force before they leave F1 especially know they have grasped the hybrid PU concept and become as good as the benchmark Mercedes.

    2. @skipgamer that particular poster has been critical of the concept of the rules from the start, given that the new rule set is, by intent, extremely proscriptive and the length of the rule book has become incredibly bloated.

      The rules that cover just the bodywork of the cars has now become bloated to over 23,000 words when you add in the text they moved to the appendices – more than doubling the length of that section – and the overall regulation package now weighs in at over 75,000 words.

      Meanwhile, the bodywork zones within which the car bodywork has to fit is the strictest it has ever been within the history of the sport (see for the volumes within which you have to fit the bodywork for 2022).

      @gongtong there is no intention to relax the rule book – the philosophy is to force equalisation by forcing the teams to have to develop the cars to a single aerodynamic philosophy that is tightly regulated. Loosening the regulations to allow for wider development runs against that, because Liberty Media doesn’t want teams to diverge in performance.

  7. so which team is massi going to drive for…the 5th team..FiA need to give us a break. may the best team and driver win..without any fixing..

  8. Three could happen if Merc & RBR stay on top with Ferrari rejoining.
    From the most recent midfielders, I’m most confident about Ferrari. I don’t discount Mclaren & Alpine either.

    A good Instagram post.

    COTD: I’m not overly worried for now. I care more about racing quality than car similarity/limited innovation scope.

  9. I don’t think shutting down of innovation is new, but it is more extreme now.
    The problem that comes is that when a team comes up with a radical new innovation, they know that it is only going to be a short-term improvement because if it is beneficial to the car either it will get banned immediately, or every other team with comparable budget will copy it within races.
    The last real innovation in F1 was Mercedes in 2020 with DAS, and at least they got to keep it for a year. Brawn of course had their double diffuser in 2009, which was banned for 2011. But the good thing about it was that although other teams copied it, Brawn were able to continue to develop theirs, although they were no longer the fastest team by the end of 2009. I would say this is a rare instance of an innovation that really worked and made a difference. The greatest piece of innovation in the history of Formula 1 happened for the Swedish GP of 1978, with the Brabham fan car, and that was banned after one race.
    Back then, there were different innovations that seem obvious to us today, but this one was deemed too beneficial so was banned. I think the difference between then and now is that back then a lot more significant innovation happened, so only really extreme examples were banned, but now the level of innovation is far less, because we have probably got very close to the peak of car performance within the regulations, so smaller innovations get banned. Also, the current cars are far less good at close racing, hence the need for DRS, so unlike in the past, a lot of innovations that could be done to the 2022 car to make it faster would make them worse at close racing. So we are moving more towards a spec series, but I think we are some way off that currently.

    1. @f1frog technically, the Brabham fan car wasn’t banned – Brabham withdrew it from competition because the other teams basically gave Brabham the option of withdrawing the car, or having a formal protest lodged against them.

      It was basically a case of Bernie, as head of the team, deciding that it was not worth the trouble of trying to fend off the protests, particularly given the risk that the FIA could come down hard on the team if they ruled against them, as well as not wanting to cause a rift within FOCA (where Brabham was a prominent member) in the ongoing arguments between the teams and the governing body about the governance of the sport.

      It was also the case that, even though the erroneous popular narrative is that it was banned after the Swedish GP because of its performance, in practice the legality of the car was questionable from the start.

      Officially, the primary purpose of the fan was as a cooling device for the engine, with the aerodynamic benefit supposedly just a coincidental side effect. The reason for that claim that “it’s a cooling fan” is because, under the regulations at the time, if the primary purpose was aerodynamic, then it would have been automatically rendered illegal as a movable aerodynamic device.

      Whilst the stewards at that race accepted that justification on the grounds that Brabham was able to demonstrate the fan did indeed have a cooling effect on the engine, there are questions over whether the FIA would have accepted that argument if a formal protest had been raised.

  10. – Those Dakar rallye cars are one of motorsports most incredible machines, they deserve more recognition
    – Somebody get Niko Rosberg a shot of vodka to relieve him of the pain he’s feeling, poor guy…
    – Even if it’s again Mercedes dominating everybody else, we’ll at least have a Hamilton vs Russel title fight, instead of seeing Hamilton score easy wins without any internal competition

    1. I’m really hopeful of Russel surprising here and there. But reading lot’s of comments on either being sure or hoping he’ll contend Hamilton through a full season… I’d say prepare to be disappointed. Also: don’t up the pressure, there will be enough for him already

  11. Rosberg don’t bother, sky aports f1 still secretely hate you, go watch your races up against Hamilton. Stefan Johanssen saying things like Stefan Johanssen. Mercedes lobbying on not getting a restart was what got the initial call, they could have pitted but they elected not to and then wanted to talk the championship over, for once race directions mistake was to try and correct themselves.

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