Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

Following other cars has become easier with new rules, Verstappen and Albon agree

2022 F1 season

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Formula 1’s attempt to make overtaking easier with its new rules for 2022 is showing early signs of success, according to two drivers.

Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon both remarked they found it easier to run closely to other cars during the test.

“I had a couple of laps behind Gasly and it feels good, the initial feeling,” said Albon, who has returned to Formula 1 this year after a season in the DTM.

“Obviously I haven’t raced in a while, so it’s a bit harder on that side. But I was surprised how close I could stay through turn two, turn three. I was almost under-driving because I was expecting worse, if that makes sense. But the initial feeling is positive.”

F1 has introduced drastically revised technical regulations for the new season which are designed to reduce the disruptive turbulence produced by each car, which makes it harder for others to follow behind closely. Max Verstappen concurred with Albon’s view that the changes appear to have been successful.

“I’ve been following a few cars and it seems like it’s a little bit easier to stay behind,” he said. “At least you don’t have this weird loss of downforce where sometimes you have a lot of understeer or massive oversteer.”

However he doesn’t expect the changes to completely eradicate the negative effect of following behind another car.

“Of course I don’t expect it to be fully gone and [that] you can follow on the rear diffuser, because of the speeds we’re still doing in an F1 car. But it all seems a bit more under control.”

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Author information

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...
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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15 comments on “Following other cars has become easier with new rules, Verstappen and Albon agree”

  1. A positive sign.

    1. For sure. Personally I have thought right from the get-go that these cars cannot possibly not be easier to follow with, given the types of huge changes they have made with that very purpose in mind.

  2. Great news. Hopefully the aerodynamic wash can be further improved over time too.


  3. A lot short of what was promised then. Predictable looking at the massive wings.

      1. Judging by the lukewarm reaction and the calls that dirty air would be reduced by 70%.

        1. @peartree I don’t really recall hearing it put that way…’dirty air would be reduced by 70%…’ but rather they have spoken about cars losing only approx 20% of their performance with these cars rather than 50% while within a car’s length of the leading car with the old cars. Reduced wake, sure. Dirty air being sent upwards, yeah. Those are the kinds of things that have been mentioned but I wouldn’t mind seeing where you got 70% reduction in dirty air from.

          Aside from that as to ‘lukewarm reaction’ I would think if you sense that it is because everything is lukewarm right now, and low key, as they just put in mileage and gather data and learn about these cars. I would think that while Max and Albon have said what they have, at the same time they also know that whatever they were feeling while trailing another car will be different once they themselves have their cars dialled in come race day.

          So I consider their minimal experiment while trailing another car promising, but early days and I expect the easier-to-follow mantra to only grow, but I’m not surprised they’re ‘lukewarm’ about it right now given the type of running they all have been doing in these initial days. I just don’t think any driver(s) have really involved themselves in a true experiment where the leading and trailing cars are on the same program such that a driver can really get excited and report on the effect at this point. I do however expect this to happen at the next test. Especially if teams have both cars and drivers on track at the same time and they could then really do a controlled experiment between themselves knowing both cars are in a similar state.

          All that said my bottom line is these cars cannot possibly not be easier to follow compared to the previous generations.

          1. From 50% to 20% is a relative drop of 70%.

          2. @robbie I got it from a site called racefans.

          3. @peartree Ah ok you’re confusing reduction in performance with a reduction in dirty air. Or you’re awkwardly wording it anyway. I’m sure they’ve not claimed to be reducing actual dirty air by 70%, but rather the effect of everything they have done with these cars including the amount and the shape of the wake behind the cars, the cars less sensitive to dirty air anyway, and even the tires, all add up to a reduction from 50% to 20% in lost performance when within a cars length of the lead car, by their estimation. They’re talking about the feel of the car, not the one component of dirty air.

            Ah anyway, I’m just repeating myself now and now that I re-read you’re initial one-liner comment, including that you are saying this during the very earliest of days with these cars, makes me wonder why I’m bothering.

    1. Yeah sure if you expect racing like a GT-series you will no doubt be dissapointed.

    2. Seems like some people were expecting NASCAR style bump drafting from the new cars.

  4. Its encouraging news. The true test will come in round 1.

  5. This is a great news.

  6. Excellent, any second now I wait for removal DRS.

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