F1’s 2022 cars are “worse” for overtaking at tracks like Mexico City – Magnussen

2022 Mexican Grand Prix

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The changes made to Formula 1 cars to aid overtaking in 2022 may make passing more difficult in today’s Mexican Grand Prix, says Kevin Magnussen.

F1 overhauled its technical rules this year to increase the amount of downforce generated underneath the cars in a bid to improve the race. Drivers have been generally positive about the change, though Magnussen believes it has been less effective, and even negative, at tracks like Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

“This year I would say most tracks are better for overtaking with these cars,” said Magnussen. “But some tracks, it’s worse. And this might be one of them.

“At a track where you’ve got these low-speed corners and then long straights, I think this new car’s a little bit worse because slipstreaming is less.”

Magnussen reached Q2 in qualifying but a five-place grid penalty for an engine change will drop him to the back row of the grid. Given his inevitable penalty, Magnussen said the team used qualifying to test changes to the car.

“I still tried to go out, we treated qualifying a little bit like a test,” he said. “Changed the rear wing, changed the floor, changed the front wing because we had some suspicions about what we were running.

“So the car did change around a lot and we had to really go in a completely different direction on the front flap to get the balance to be similar. So there’s some stuff to look at.”

He will start today’s race 19th, two places behind Alexander Albon, who is also concerned about the difficulty of gaining places in the race.

“You think it would be easy to overtake here but it’s actually quite difficult,” said the Williams driver, “and there’s some cars here that are faster than we expected.”

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2022 Mexican Grand Prix

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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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5 comments on “F1’s 2022 cars are “worse” for overtaking at tracks like Mexico City – Magnussen”

  1. We’ll see.

    1. Indeed we will @jerejj!

  2. We keep hearing that the slipstream is worse with the new cars yet when we have seen quite a bit of slipstreaming and some good racing/overtaking resulting from it on the 1st laps of races before DRS is switched on.

    The slipstream may not be as powerful as with past cars but it’s still plenty powerful enough.

    For instance last weekend at COTA the slipstream seemed plenty effective enough to be drawing Alonso closer to Stroll before they touched & had they not made contact the slipstream would have given us a nice side by side fight into the braking zone.

    1. F1 in figures
      31st October 2022, 8:14

      Large-scale slipstreaming only occurs on the opening lap. At COTA there was a strong headwind, which made the slipstream more powerful. Combined with DRS this gave the attacker an unrealistically large advantage. It seems the cars can follow more closely this year, but normally this effect is largely negated by the weaker slipstream effect. In Mexico nothing really happened at the beginning of the race; that horrible stadium section is still the greatest overtake-killer in the world, so no-one got within striking range.

  3. As always, when racing drivers are speaking we normal plebs must remember that if they say “there is NO grip”, what they actually mean is “there is a tiny bit less grip than optimal”.

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