Pirelli tyres, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

Visibility at Jeddah will be “tricky” with F1’s bigger wheels, says Ocon

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In the round-up: Esteban Ocon says drivers will face a challenge from being able to judge their gaps to the walls around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit due to the larger wheels on F1 cars this year.

In brief

Driver visibility at Jeddah will be “tricky” with 18 inch wheels, says Ocon

F1 tyres have increased in height this year, from 690mm to 720mm, and the new rules have added bodywork over the top of them as well. Drivers have predicted this will make visibility a problem when F1 visits street circuits, as it will do for the first time this year on Friday.

Ocon said drivers may find it more difficult to judge how close they are to the walls. “It’s going to be tricky for sure,” Ocon explained in response to a question from RaceFans. “The first time we are going to be in real conditions and trying to get close to the rails it’s going to be a challenge, but we’re ready to take it.”

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix promoters previously announced changes to the circuit to improve sight lines for drivers.

Chadwick retained at Williams Driver Academy for 2022 season

Jamie Chadwick, Williams, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, 2021
Chadwick will continue with Williams
Two-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick will continue with the Williams Driver Academy for the 2022 season, her fourth year with the programme.

Chadwick, who recently announced she would be returning to W Series for its third season after she was unable to secure a financial package to compete in either Formula 2 or FIA Formula 3, will continue a simulator programme with the team this season.

“I’m delighted to continue working with the Williams team,” said Chadwick.

“I’ve had a lot of support from everyone there throughout the last three years and the simulator work I’ve done has been hugely valuable for my race preparation. I’m looking forward to continuing my programme throughout the 2022 season and I know that the team will be cheering me on during my upcoming 2022 W Series campaign; I’m really proud to continue representing the Williams name on the grid.”

Williams also confirmed Jack Aitken will continue as its reserve driver. The Formula 2 race winner, who was injured in a GT crash at Spa last year, made a single start for the team in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, standing in for George Russell.

Vettel debriefed with Aston Martin from quarantine – Krack

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack says Sebastian Vettel took part in the team’s Bahrain Grand Prix debrief as he continued his recovery from Covid.

Vettel was forced to miss the season opening race after testing positive for the coronavirus, with Nico Hulkenber stepping in. Krack says that Vettel is still able to play a role in the team from quarantine.

“He was participating in the debrief now,” said Krack. “He was sounding less rough than he was sounding a couple of days ago. But we don’t know. We need to see how he goes for the next days. We hope he will be back soon.”

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Comment of the day

The 2022 F1 season is one race down, but how much can fans really read into the results? There’s plenty still to learn about the new order in Formula 1, says @sonnycrockett…

I’m delighted for Ferrari fans who must’ve woken this morning with a very warm glow!

Looking at the rest of the field, I can’t help thinking back to the first race of the V6 hybrid era, Australia 2014. Rosberg’s win hinted at what was to come from Mercedes but the rest of the results gave nothing away. McLaren came home second and third – albeit after Ricciardo was disqualified – a level of performance that they failed to match for a very long time.

Clearly Ferrari have a great car and Red Bull have some raw pace but the reality is that this new era of F1 will take some time to define itself. In the meantime my hope is that, like MotoGP, we get different teams taking podiums each weekend, depending on the type of circuit, and some great wheel-to-wheel racing throughout.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Hamilton Wc 09, Juan Pablo Heidfeld, Shaneb457, Chris and Mike Shefford!

On this day in motorsport

Riccardo Patrese, Nigel Mansell, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 1992
Nigel Mansell won the last Mexican Grand Prix to feature the ‘full Peraltada’ today in 1992

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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32 comments on “Visibility at Jeddah will be “tricky” with F1’s bigger wheels, says Ocon”

  1. RandomMallard
    22nd March 2022, 0:16

    As a McLaren fan, I too hope they can get on top of their problems. Not looking amazing for any of the Merc customer teams at the moment though (how much of that is PU related and how much is their own problems I don’t know though).

    I’m once again very nervous about Jeddah. A narrow track, with poor sightlines, in cars no one is 100% sure about yet and that can suffer from extreme porpoising at high speeds. Particularly worried if people start porpoising through some of the high speed corners.

    To me there’s something so feel-good about Magnussen at the minute. We’ll see how long it lasts obviously but he just seems to be really happy and excited (rightly so) about getting another chance.

    COTD: Agree, it could take some time before we know the true order. Difficult not to get caught up in the excitement and novelty (relative to the last couple of years) of seeing both Haas and Alfa get big points scores and seeing Ferrari back at the top.

    1. Wonder how Norris is feeling about his new contract right now.

    2. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
      22nd March 2022, 14:20

      It does look like they have a long season ahead for sure but I’m sure McLaren will sort some of it out and move up the order some as the season progresses. HAAS and Alfa Romeo’s development rates are not very good historically. I would expect McLaren to catchup. Looks like the biggest issue is cooling for brakes and engine.

      Me thinks Merc’s engine package was designed for Merc’s own car philosophy (hence the minimalist sidepods). I think that packaging has impacted all the other merc powered cars when it comes to cooling, center of gravity location (higher compared to past years with more cooling taking place higher in the engine bay opposed to a lower location like the sidepods), and aero packaging. I think the CG is just too high on most of the merc powered cars resulting in clumsy handling at mid to low speed corners. When you include the porpoising issue, they are having a harder time in managing the weight transfer on the car for performance. Time will tell.

  2. Isn’t Ocon referencing those pesky missiles, saudi loves to throw. Made in the U S.A.

  3. So sick to hear Chadwick can’t get to Formula 2 or FIA Formula 3 because of sponsor.

    Some of us are willing to get Fittipaldi, a worse driver than Chadwick to enter F1.

    If I was Jamie I’ll fly to Aramco headquarters and make some rumour about their commitment for women drivers.

    1. Tim (@tsgoodchild)
      22nd March 2022, 10:44

      100% this. You would think sponsors would be clamouring over a female driver and Jamie by far stands out as the highest potential to perform well. But then I’d also expect the clout of Williams to have some influence. Hopefully she will get a chance.

      1. IfImnotverymuchmistaken
        22nd March 2022, 11:22

        This is exactly what I don’t get. Having a woman drive in the top open wheel series should make the sponsors trample over each other to get to her first. It’s just so many market groups that open up if a woman is driving the car they sponsor. I really don’t get the hesitation from the sponsors.

      2. @tsgoodchild the feedback, at least from IndyCar, is that sponsors seem to have the opposite view – because motorsport is perceived as a very male dominated environment, quite a few sponsors seem to think that using a man to sell a product for men to other men is a more effective sales tactic and are thus less interested in sponsoring female drivers.

        Judging from the feedback from both male and female drivers in that series, there were complaints that companies might be keen to create a buzz if they thought they could get free positive publicity from associating with a female driver, but actually getting them to put down money to back that female driver was much harder than most assume it is – I think Hinchcliffe might have gone as far as suggesting that he actually thought it was harder for a female driver to get decent backing than it was for a male driver.

  4. Oof, a race I watched live as a kid took place 30 years ago…way to make me feel old RaceFans.

  5. A 310 kph facility?? Wow!

    1. A 310 kph facility for Honda!! Why?

      1. Why not?
        The Honda NSX GT3 car is developed in the US. Ohio, actually… Coincidence?

        I’m sure they can make a few bucks renting it out if they aren’t using it.

  6. In general I like the new cars but those front wheels clearly were the wrong direction to take. Aero wise difficult to change back now, but something to look into on the long run. Gutted to see Lando and Ricciardo at the back, hope they’ll get to grips with whatever needs to be changed soon.

    1. We will see how they do on circuits with close walls (Jedda, Baku and Monaco) i think we will see a lot of cars in the walls.

  7. Chadwick, who recently announced she would be returning to W Series for its third season after she was unable to secure a financial package to compete in either Formula 2 or FIA Formula 3, will continue a simulator programe with the team this season.

    So much words spoken over women drivers needing equal chance in racing, but when push come to shove, there si no one ready to put money where their mouth is…

    1. Money (or the lack thereof) makes a convenient excuse, as does the suggestion of inequality.
      Very few sponsors want to associate themselves with a slower driver, as it turns out.

    2. ian dearing
      22nd March 2022, 9:39

      A lot better drivers than Chadwick have the same problem with sponsorship packages. And they tend not to have near billionaire parents backing them.

    3. Sponsoring a woman who isn’t going to be a contender will only make it harder for a deserving female driver when she comes around.

    4. A fast female driver would be so inundated with female product sponsor offers she’d be loaded!

      I guess the appetite is just not there, which is totally fine. Not every sport needs equality at all costs.

  8. True, but I’m sure everyone will survive & can push hard eventually.

    Seb’s quarantine ends in time for the event, so he should be okay as long as he tests negative.

    An interesting COTD & plausible.

  9. Man oh man do I absolutely HATE those wheel covers. It baffles me that F1 installed 18″ wheels to make them look closer to road cars but then they slap on wheel covers that literally no road car uses except the McLaren Speedtail.
    Very poor decision from F1. To me, they make the car look more bulky and ugly. Just my thought.

    1. Yeah, I totally agree, @moeaz.
      There are so many better ways to tackle the aero problem that don’t involve pushing wheel manufacturers away and making the wheels look like they should be on a 1980’s American futuristic TV show car.

    2. +1 @moeaz They push to make the tyres look and appear more road relevant then slap some wheel covers on that makes them look like a set of 80’s steel rims!

    3. I imagine that the wheel covers are there mostly as an extra surface for advertising revenue (e.g. McLaren and Google).

      1. Of course the wheel covers are there as one of the measures that helps reduce dirty air for the trailing car.

    4. Wheel market doesn’t matter. The important marketing point will be tires for road cars that they can claim are direct from F1 tech. That’s why they’re not only bigger, but low profile. The tire market is massive and the wheel market is a little tiny niche market, which probably makes .00001% as much as global tire revenue.

      But I agree with the fact that they’re way too big and a ridiculous impediment to vision.

      1. The tire market is massive and the wheel market is a little tiny niche market, which probably makes .00001% as much as global tire revenue.

        Not a car enthusiast are you, Nick?
        Aftermarket wheels are a huge business globally, and that’s exactly why BBS, Enkei, OZ, Rays and several others have been throwing huge wads of money at F1 for many decades.
        Until this year, that is….

        More direct tech transfer happens in wheels than in tyres.

    5. Makes me wonder how they’ll perform in the wet. I can see them possibly directing the water back at the driver or even being ripped off from the force of it.

    6. I agree with this. I think the change in wheel size and the horrible wheel covers are possibly the only thing that they have got really wrong with the new regs. The new wheels are both ugly and unsafe. Then I don’t really get the road relevance arguments. These cars are nothing like road cars and seeing these wheels is hardly going to make people think, wow they look great.

      I don’t want anyone to crash and injure themselves but a few cars into walls on street circuits might change someone’s mind for future seasons regulations. I think the issue would have to be pretty severe to change minds at the top though.

  10. About COTD. As a current Ferrari fan this feels weird. After 2012 ferrari driver hasn’t been in the fight at the end of the season. It was just one race and tables have time to turn as there is 22 races left. They got the maximum points which is good but as we have seen, anything can and probably will happen.

  11. This city was bombed today. Yes, there’s another war where S. Arabia is an aggressor, but since they are allied to US this doesn’t matter. Why the hell is this race still going on? I don’t think their enemies from Yemen will cease their fire during F1 events. I think they have bigger problems than that.

  12. Getting his excuses in early is a sensible move for a man with penalty points on the board already in 2022…
    Love the family resemblance on the 3rd-generation Magnussen.

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