The new technical regulations introduced for the 2022 Formula 1 season should achieve their goal of making it easier for drivers to overtake, Mercedes believe.
Mercedes’ head of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin believes these changes mean the quality of racing “should certainly be improved” in 2022.
“A huge amount of effort has gone into these regulations, trying to mean that the car in front doesn’t disrupt the airflow for the following car,” he said. “That will allow the driver to stay closer and the closer you can get, the more likely you are to be able to overtake.”
However he cautioned that passing is likely to remain virtually impossible on some of F1’s more extreme circuits.
“Will it make a track like Monaco, an overtaking circuit? In reality, that’s quite unlikely. The straights are too short, the track’s too narrow, there really isn’t an any easy place around Monaco to overtake.
“But what we’ll probably see at lots of the other circuits is that you can follow more closely. You can put the car ahead under pressure. It’s easier to get within an undercut range. And importantly, there will be straights now where, hopefully, you can make a passing manoeuvre stick, whereas previously it wouldn’t have been practical.”
While the teams have conducted simulator testing of their new cars, Shovlin expects to better understand how easily they might be able to overtake each other once real-world testing begins at the Circuit de Catalunya.
“We’ll start to get a flavour for it in Barcelona, in Bahrain. But really, it will only be when the lights go out for that first race that we’ll know whether this project has been successful in that very specific regard.”
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