The pre-season testing session will not be useful for us to understand the real scale of values ahead of the first Grand Prix of the 2022 Formula 1 season as each team has carried out different programs and this week of data analysis will be very important to extract further performance. However, they certainly provided a lot of food for thought given the various concepts that were proposed by the teams.
Those who feared a Formula 1 with a similar design for all cars have been denied for the moment, as we are waiting for a normal convergence of ideas and solutions that will take place over the following months.
Scuderia Ferrari certainly impressed everyone with a project that Team Principal Mattia Binotto immediately defined as “courageous”, with an approach to work more open to extreme and innovative solutions, defined as “open minded”, without the fear of being courageous.
A definition – that of open minded – which is also pointed out by David Sanchez, Head of Vehicle Concept. Interviewed by the Formula 1 official channel F1TV, the Ferrari engineer discussed about the sidepods project which had been analyzed by some enthusiasts through CFD analyzes which showed how the concept chosen for the F1-75 with large but hollow sidepods produced slightly more downforce than a basic conformation, with significantly less drag and therefore better efficiency, as confirmed by formu1a.uno.
“I don’t think it was exactly accurate, but I was impressed by the details these guys managed to get” – he says with a relaxed smile – “If I look at the type of sidepods that are on the grid, I see a lot of variety. That is one of the few areas where enough freedom has been left in the forms and volumes of the new regulations. On our side, we did a lot of research with a very open minded approach because it was too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that whatever we have learned in the last 10 years with the ‘size zero bodywork’ concept should also be used on these machines. We tried to keep an open approach, explore various solutions, see what we liked and what we didn’t and in the end we chose this “. – he explained.
A hint with these words may have been made to what Mercedes has decided to do with the W13 which, unlike Ferrari, features very tapered sidepods in a version renamed ‘no sidepods’. A configuration also tested in Maranello in the preliminary stages of the 674 project, but later discarded in favor of the one that was then brought to the track in the F1-75.
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The 2022 regulations are revolutionary and have updated aerodynamics, the concepts associated with it, and developed with the previous generation of machines. Having passed to the ground effect has also entailed several side effects, with the floor having taken on even greater importance and it, together with other factors introduced in the 2022 cars, have also placed the accent on driveability.
“The game changer of these cars is the ground effect. In the past we were used to an aerodynamics dominated by having to control the turbulence of the front and rear wheels. With these new floors, an extra dimension has been added to aerodynamics. All concepts are trying to extract performance from these new floors, while maintaining the knowledge we have acquired in the past. I think we have been developing the cars for some time and we can say that the floor itself is dominant in what we are doing.” – he continued.
This radical change in aerodynamics, however, also had other consequences that David Sanchez and his team – but not only – had to face in the study and development phases of the 2022 Formula 1 cars.
“Aerodynamically these cars have to run low and stiff and this has consequences on other aspects (mechanical and structural). The concept relies heavily on extracting the potential of the new floor and making sure that the downforce is “good” and above all usable. Plus we have new tires, simplified suspension and heavier machines. All of this could have an impact on driveability, if you are not aware of these aspects. Together with the aerodynamics, we therefore pushed to ensure that this generation of car can be driven at least as much as the previous one “.
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