New F1 cars for 2022 ‘should be a lot quicker on the straight’

2022 F1 season

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Red Bull’s technical director expects to see the new Formula 1 cars for 2022 hit significantly higher top speeds.

Pierre Waché said that changes to the way this year’s cars generate downforce should mean they generate considerably less drag.

The 2022’s regulations are a radical re-working of Formula 1 cars’ aerodynamics. Designers have been permitted to take advantage of ‘ground effect’ to an extent not seen since the early eighties.

Red Bull chief technology officer Adrian Newey described it as a “huge regulation change, the biggest one we’ve had since 1983, when the venturi [tunnel] cars were banned and flat bottomed cars introduced.”

“The theory is that if you create a shape where, as the downforce is produced, that always kind of produces up-wash at the back of the car, so you get this kind of rooster tail coming up at the back,” Newey explained. However, he said “if that then back fills or side fills from underneath, then the wake from the car goes above the car that’s following it. So therefore, the car behind keeps its downforce much better than it does currently.”

The changes were devised in order to make it easier for cars to follow each other more closely. However Waché said this has had the side effect of making them quicker in a straight line.

“What they wanted to do is clearly to create downforce from the ground compared to before was generated by the ground, but also mainly by the front wing, rear wing and the bodywork,” he said.

“It will affect, for sure, the ride of the cars and mechanical grip and the driver of the car,” Waché continued. “Because this generation of downforce is quite efficient, then this type of car should be lots quicker on the straight at usual level of downforce.”

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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19 comments on “New F1 cars for 2022 ‘should be a lot quicker on the straight’”

  1. Which effectively means less time to overtake on the straight, since cars will hit the corner sooner.

    1. Braking distances will increase as well (also because of the minimum weight raise), which will help overtaking.

      1. Then again, to offset this, isn’t the brake disc size also considerably increasing with the new larger wheels and tyres?

    2. Well, but in theory this will also increase brake distances or at least make the braking trickier for drivers. This might provide more chance of real overtakes, which are the ones that occur under braking.

    3. An overtaking manoever is a change in relative distance of two cars, where change in time interval is only the result. Time is irrelevant.
      What is relevant is the breaking distance, and that I hope will increase, although I worry it wont due to the larger brake discs.

    4. The positive aspect is the fact that Drs is less important and maybe hard to use on some tracks.

  2. With ground affect, and higher speeds, the pressure beneath the car will be lower. Remembering the loose drain cover at Baku 2019 that destroyed GR’s Williams (and maybe 2020 Portugal), have the tracks done anything to prepare for this?

    1. Good point. The resulting injuries to a driver from a sticking up drain cover would potentially be catastrophic.

      1. What do you think of a driver just behind that car that cover could make it;s way through the halo.

    2. The old cars had plenty of downforce to yank unsuspecting (and unwelded) drain covers, so it’s not much of a difference.

      Hopefully we won’t have any tracks shredded by the downforce.

      1. @grat Whilst I do not pretend to be an expert on the matter, I believe the issue being raised is whether the lower pressures specifically under the car will cause the suggested problems, not the overall levels of downforce. Whilst I have read various views as to whether the amount of “ground effect” the ’22 cars is particularly significant, there is no doubt that it will be notably more than the ’21 cars.

        It would probably be more telling to look back at the late 70’s early 80’s cars to see if they caused any such problems in ‘lifting’ road furniture.

        Of course I have no doubt the there are some pretty violent pressure differentials occurring with any modern high end race car, so I’d imagine that the is always a risk of damage with this happening x cars in field x race laps.

  3. That’s not the problem, if they will do corners at same speed then no one can overtake.

    1. @qeki Why not? We saw plenty of overtaking last year even at those speeds, and has been mentioned numerous times, what’s more, relevant is how the downforce is being produced than the quantity of downforce being produced. As long as the car behind is able to travel through corners at a similar speed to the car ahead (which wasn’t the case with the previous-gen of cars), then why shouldn’t overtaking be possible?

      1. @mashiat Well I put it quite straitght forward. If the speed difference isn’t big it is easier to overtake on corners than on straights. Because you can only catch up under braking. If a car doesn’t slow enough on corners then its quite hard to overtake under braking or it would require a huge lunge.

        1. Of course if someone is behind with drs and overtake then it is a different case

        2. @qeki Larger braking distances isn’t always a guarantee of better chances of overtaking. We didn’t have any shortage of out-braking manoeuvres these past few years. Cars with less downforce actually make it harder to lunge as it is tougher to control when you brake later. Moreover, it’s also harder to hold a line on the outside of a corner. So to say there won’t be any overtaking with the same level of overall downforce is just wrong. At the end of the day, if a car behind is quicker, why would he gain only in the braking zones? Why not on the straights or any other phase?

          1. @mashiat Maybe I’m just hoping to see more late lunges and overtakes just before the corner. Because, as you said, we haven’t seen them in a while

  4. Less drag would, of course, also equal a lower DRS effect.
    I care more about racing quality & lap times than straight-line speeds, though.

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