Formula 1 has returned to the forefront of fans’ minds once more as the new 2022 cars hit the tracks for the first time this year.
2022 will see the biggest overhaul in changes within F1 and, as such, two pre-season testing events have been allowed to take place.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is once more playing host to the first pre-season testing event where franchises will be able to test out their new cars with the new regulations as well as spy on their competitors in a bid to gain the upper hand ahead of the first Grand Prix in Bahrain on Sunday 20 March 2022.
The second testing will take place just eight days ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton look likely to resume their rivalry with the Dutchman hungry for another Championship and Hamilton looking to avenge his 2021 tale.
The end of 2021 should have been a magical time for Red Bull and Verstappen as they celebrated the 24-year-old’s first ever Championship but the final race and title decider ended shrouded in intense controversy which has only just been resolved.
As a result of the fallout, the FIA removed Michael Masi from his position as the F1 Race Director and implemented further regulations in a bid to improve the racing for the 2022 season.
If these regulations weren’t enough, 2022 was already set to be an exciting year for Formula 1 as the cars were set to undergo major transformations in order to promote better racing and provide more parity between the lowest and highest ranked teams.
Here is all you need to know about the new regulations ahead of the 2022 season.
Following the Abu Dhabi fiasco, the FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem announced new regulations to be implemented ahead of the 2022 season separate from those regulations that will be seen on the cars.
Virtual Race Control Room
This new decision-making technology will be similar to the Video Assistant Referee seen in football. It will offer real-time connection with the FIA F1 race director and help apply the sporting regulations using the most modern technological tools.
Toto Wolff’s rage at Michael Masi during the final lap of Abu Dhabi has encouraged the FIA to change direct communications between Team Principals and the race director.
While it will still be possible to ask questions to the race director, it will be according to a ‘well-defined and non-intrusive process’.
Michael Masi’s decision to unlap just the cars in between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen was the main cause for all of the changes we are now seeing. This procedure of unlapping behind the safety car is set to be reassessed by the F1 Sporting Advisory Committee and will be presented to the next F1 Commission ahead of the first Grand Prix in Bahrain in March.
New Regulations to the Car
What was supposed to be introduced in 2021 has now been introduced for the 2022 season. All manufacturers and franchises will have a cost cap of around £110 million in order to attempt to bring the biggest and smallest teams closer together when racing.
As with every new development in F1, safety is a main priority. In the new 2022 regulations, the chassis now need to absorb 48% and 15% more energy in the front and rear impact tests respectively.
Following Romain Grosjean’s crash, the cars are now designed in such a way that the power unit should separate from the chassis in a safe manner without exposing the fuel tank.
Anthoine Hubert’s fatal accident at Spa in 2019 has also been incorporated into the new regulations and a longer nose section has been implemented to help disperse the energy in a crash along with stronger chassis sides to resist T-bone incidents.
18-inch low-profile tyres have been introduced to the car for the first time. The Pirelli compounds were designed in order to help reduce the amount the tyres overheat when sliding and will also help reduce the sidewall deflection changes and resulting aerodynamic wake effect that occurs.
A feature that was last seen in 2009, wheel covers have returned along with over-wheel winglets. Wheel covers will send airflow through the wheels and should be a way for teams to increase their downforce as well as addition to the chaotic aerodynamic wake that comes off the cars.
Wheel-winglets will help control the wake coming of the front tyres and aim to direct it away from the rear wing.
The front wing in 2022 will be a completely new shape to what was seen previously. It’s new job will be to generate consistent downforce when running closely behind another car as well as ensuring the front wheel wake is well controlled and directed down the car in the least disruptive way possible.
Meanwhile the rear wing will feature new ‘rolled tips’. The shape and position of the new rear wing is set to create a rotational airflow which will collect the rear wheel wake and roll it into the flow exiting the diffuser and reduce the amount of ‘dirty air’. The narrower wake, the easier it will be for the following car to drive as it will have less disrupted ‘clean air’.
F1 has been working hard over recent years to introduce fully sustainable fuel and 2022 will see the bio-component ratio rise to 10% instead of the 5.75% it currently sees. There will be a move to E10 fuel: E standing for Ethanol and 10 referring to its percentage.
Ethanol must be a second generation biofuel made in a sustainable way and will therefore have a near-zero carbon footprint.
A key feature of the new 2022 regulations are linked to the downforce and increasing the ability for closer racing. A key change for implementing closer racing has been to place the aerodynamic emphasis on ground effect to create the downforce and while this is not a new principle in F1, having first come into prominence in the late 1970s, the 2022 car’s underflow downforce will be better preserved within the tunnels.
When is the first Formula 1 Grand Prix of 2022?
The Bahrain Grand Prix will kick off the 2022 season on Sunday 20 March 2022 with practice and qualifying taking place on Friday 18 March and Saturday 19 March 2022.
Sky Sports F1 will continue to show all the footage from the race weekend.
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