The images of the 2022 Haas Formula 1 car have gone around the world having been the first ground-effect single-seater to be seen, albeit only in rendering. Tuesday will be the turn of the Red Bull RB18 and we will be able to get a clearer idea of what this year’s cars will be like after the regulation changes.
The VF-22 showed its own personality resulting from the work of Simone Resta who differentiates it from the model car presented by the FIA and FOM to give a concrete vision of the new rules designed to allow Formula 1 cars to follow each other and thus provide more possibilities for overtaking and an improved show.
And, according to the rumors filtering from Maranello, the F1-75 that is being assembled in the Gestione Sportiva will be quite different from the Haas which, therefore, should not be called …a little Ferrari despite the fact that t may have the rear of the Maranello team’s car (engine, gearbox and suspension).
It is very likely that the cars in the presentations will be F1 cars with different hidden solutions to prevent them from being copied too quickly, because at least at the start of the championship we will have quite different cars which will then converge a little at a time towards the more performing solutions.
Those who have guessed the basic choices will have a double advantage: in addition to having the most competitive Formula 1 cars from the start, they will be able to spend the money destined for development to increase performance, while others will first of all try to fix the mistakes made.
It is therefore legitimate to ask whether we will see extreme cars already at the start or the result of some compromise that allows converging towards the most popular concepts during the season.
We have already said that weight will be an important variable in 2022 projects: the 795 kg F1 cars struggle to stay within the weight limit, so a shorter wheelbase could save a few kilos (remember that 10 kg are worth in Barcelona, which will host the first pre-season testing session, about 0 “3).
How is it possible, for example, to lengthen (or reduce) the wheelbase without redoing the entire car? The simplest was the last example seen in F1, namely the one used by the Lotus E21 in 2013, when by moving the front suspension arms away from the chassis it was possible to widen the wheelbase for the Italian GP in Monza by 10 centimeters to find a more suitable balance and make the tires work with the right energy and improved aerodynamics.
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The solution was tested by Kimi Raikkonen in free practice but was then removed because on the track the technicians had not found the two tenths that had emerged from the simulation. A mistake that would cost dearly now given the budget cap.
The stratagem, however, could become topical again if there are designers who have gone too far in one direction (long wheelbase: 3,600 mm) or the other (short wheelbase 3,400 mm).
According to Motorsport Italy, the F1 2022 cars can be developed following two design strands: the first similar to that of the Haas, with the engine placed very close to the body and a long transmission box, useful for having two Venturi tunnels that find ample space before the rear extractor.
Otherwise we will see a car with high and narrow elements that will reach up to the rear: in this case it is conceivable that the engine will be moved a little further back and the gearbox is short, to have a long duct under the sides. There are two different ways of interpreting the same rules, but then it will be the track to indicate to the chief designers which is the most efficient concept and there will be a run-up to the most correct solutions.
With cost constraints it will become a more difficult exercise than in the past: the budget cap will limit developments and corrections, so in the first year we should not be surprised if we see very different performances between the cars, going against the trend with the choices that inspired the rule makers.
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