Lando Norris, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

‘I’ll get a cushion to sit higher’: F1 drivers adapt to new cars’ reduced visibility

2022 F1 season

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Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo said that the reduced visibility caused by larger wheels on the 2022 F1 car is something drivers will have to work around.

F1 has introduced taller, 720mm diameter wheels this year, and required teams to add bodywork which reaches over the top of them. Other drivers, including Ricciardo’s team mate Lando Norris, indicated this would present visibility problems.

Ricciardo said that the view was “definitely a little more tricky” because “there’s just more in the way.

“It’s another thing with F1 – obviously, it’s a very unrelatable sport because no one can jump in the car and really experience what it’s like but even a lot of onboard cameras from the top. So you see so much more, so you might think you’re riding with the driver, but you’re not really getting like the driver’s point of view actually they did test a few cameras last year. But my point is you don’t see that much, period.

“This year, you see less again,” Ricciardo explained. “But you also get used to it and you just find reference points and things like this. So it is something that gets easier over time. But [visibility] probably hasn’t been that great since the old days when they were sitting right at the front of the car and a lot higher.”

The McLaren driver believes the reduced visibility is “something we’ll get used to.”

“There is always kind of blind spots in the car, so you have to use a lot of your intuition as well when you’re racing side by side. But I think also that kind of creates sometimes like the art of of a good battle.”

“So you use your other instincts or rely on other things to kind of pull off a move or defend well,” he continued. “I think there will be a bit more for us to adjust to, especially in the early days of 2022 but maybe by a couple of races in we’ll be like ‘ah, we don’t really feel it anymore.'”

Perez said drivers will “definitely have to get used to less visibility” this year. “We will try to figure it out how we can get more. But obviously there’s [only] so much we can get in the sitting position.”

The Red Bull driver said they will have to “make sure [we learn] our distances better and with racing I think we’re all going to get used to it.”

In the midst of so many regulation changes for 2022, Perez said it was “going to be another challenge for this year” as the F1 field learns to optimise their new cars.

Lewis Hamilton, who drove his new Mercedes in a filming day at Silverstone last week, said the visibility is “similar” to last year and believes he can improve his view.

“I’m probably sitting a little bit too low because I’m seeing a lot of sky at the moment,” he said. “But I’ll get a cushion or something to sit higher.”

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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11 comments on “‘I’ll get a cushion to sit higher’: F1 drivers adapt to new cars’ reduced visibility”

  1. From one of the photos of Vettel this morning (rear three-quarter), it looked like from his helmet that he was sitting higher already than the others. Maybe Aston was more prepared for this than the others?

    1. Doesn’t his head have to sit below the plane of the halo?

      Otherwise, it’s not going to protect him much.

  2. It does look bad just from having a look at the pics. Quite large portions of the drivers diagonal views totally blocked more than ever. You do wonder if there might be more bumps and scrapes as a result.

  3. This is the Visor-Cam they started using last year.

    It’s the same camera used by Formula E which was developed by Bell helmets. You can see it placed in the padding inside the helmet in the image below.

    1. +10 for posting those links @stefmeister – thank you.

  4. Oh my that is an oh so funny remark from Red Bull ‘we will have to make sure we learn our distances better’. This has given me a good laugh and made my day

    1. I think that is for Monaco as drivers aren’t important for RB

  5. Lewisham Milton
    23rd February 2022, 18:25

    Couldn’t they simulate not being able to see where they’re going?

  6. I have seen many people confused by different uses of the words “wheel”, “tire”, and “rim” lately. It’s especially annoying to see these used interchangeably all the time. The wheel is not 720mm diameter this year – the tire is. The wheel is 18 inches diameter. The rim is the outside edge of the wheel, basically the part of the wheel in contact with the tire. So that could be said to be 18 inches diameter too. But a rim does not have a face with different designs – it’s always just a circle. The wheel can have different designs, but this year they are a spec-part, and uses standardized wheel-covers anyway.
    *Rambling done*

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