The 2022 Formula 1 world championship is just a memory. The focus, therefore, can only be shifted to the next season which will start on March 5th at the Bahrain International Circuit. In this period of the year the activity inside the factories is very intense. The complex package that makes up a single-seater, designed with the aid of digital modeling technologies and whose effectiveness has been simulated in wind tunnels/CFDs, begins to take shape in the “real” context.
One of the most important milestones in the creation of new cars concerns their compliance with the stringent chassis construction and homologation criteria governed by articles 12 and 13 of the technical regulations. The first of the two is related the construction of the survival cell (chassis, ed), the second defines the safety structures of the car and all the homologation processes necessary to ensure that each car is suitable for racing.
The first team to communicate the passing of the tests was the Haas team, on 12 December. The increasingly demanding safety requirements have made this test very difficult for the teams as they are constantly looking for solutions which are the best according with the aerodynamic choices in compliance with the current technical regulation. In this sense, the geometry of the Mercedes W13 “B” is emblematic in correspondence with the completely visible side impact structures which, in the intentions of the team led by Mike Elliot, has an evident aerodynamic function.
Just the Brackley team, exactly one year ago, did not pass the side crash tests similarly to Red Bull which instead failed to pass the first frontal test. Except for the American team, no other team has officially communicated passing the crash tests, which in itself does not mean failing to pass the tests.
Many teams, in fact, in the past have deferred this important step in order to maximize the design/simulation phase to exploit all the available time. There is also a mystery about the homologation of the Ferrari 675 chassis, unlike last season when the tests were brilliantly passed in the second half of December 2021.
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In recent seasons, the certification of the crash tests performed in the Bollate CSI was almost always achieved in the month of December. The unprecedented silence regarding the outcome of the tests can have different interpretations. The recent change at the helm of Ferrari’s sports management may have slowed down the “normal” operation of the technical area, in the midst of the handover between Mattia Binotto and Frederic Vassuer.
Another hypothesis leads to greater secrecy on the part of the Italian team, regarding any milestone achieved by the 675 project in order not to grant any information, even if marginal, to competitors. The most suggestive assumption, according to information reported by the Formula Uno Analisi Tecnica website, concerns the allocation of extra time that the Ferrari Racing Division has decided to spend to make the most of the resources in the aerodynamic design phase. A sort of fine tuning of the project so dear to the British teams who, by virtue of this approach, have often failed the first crash test attempts, achieving the necessary homologation only later.
The undisputed force of the 2022 Formula 1 world championship, the Red Bull RB18, as often happened to Adrian Newey’s cars, did not pass the first frontal crash tests. Nonetheless, it knocked out the competition. If this rumour is confirmed as it seems, it is legitimate to assume that the next single-seater of the Prancing Horse could differ significantly, in terms of aerodynamics, compared to the F1-75.
All this unlike the Haas VF-23, which by virtue of an evolution process of the aerodynamic appearance could have passed the homologation tests well in advance thanks to the substantial continuity of the chassis geometry with last season’s model. A likely hypotheses that offers food for thought and above all hope that the 675 project can finally live up to the high expectations of the Scuderia Ferrari fans.