The 2022 Formula 1 season has brought news in every way. A new leading team, a regulation that is making life difficult for some teams, problems in the current constructors’ champion or lack of reliability for the world champion.
These are five of the big analysis points after the first three races of the season.
The new Formula 1 regulations for 2022. Does it work?
The new Formula 1 regulations are what have caused much of the changes we have seen. The category sought to make cars less sensitive to dirty air, thanks to the return of ground effect . The idea was to encourage being able to follow other cars closely and eventually make overtaking easier.
The direction that F1 has taken seems to be the right one, since, according to the data collected at the start of the season, part of what was sought has already been achieved. The drivers themselves have been the ones who have ensured that it is easier to follow a car than before, and Verstappen pointed out that downforce is still lost when following another car, but that it is more gradual and the car remains predictable.
Riders are more confident to be able to fight toe-to-toe without destroying their tires when in the wake of a rival, even though Pirelli still has room for improvement on its product.
These first signs collected are encouraging, but there are two main considerations to take into account. First of all, at the moment everything depends on the decisive fight between the teams that are in front. This was noticeable in Australia, where there was a lack of tension in the fight for victory, unlike what happened in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
On the other hand, the regulations are not enough to say goodbye to DRS, which on many occasions has been key in overtaking. If F1 wants the drivers to do the talking on the track, this should apply to overtaking and the use of DRS on overtaking, but it’s not yet feasible.
The Ferrari F1-75 for the 2022 F1 season is fast, but also predictable
Ferrari has achieved exactly what it set out to do last year. The Scuderia has recovered some of its former glory and has once again been a candidate for victory in every Grand Prix in which it participates.
The Italians made the decision to stop working on the 2021 car and it has paid off since they put their new car on the tarmac. They are leaders of both world championships, drivers and constructors, and prominently in both.
Ferrari have designed a relatively simple car, except for its sidepods, but they have achieved an extremely fast single-seater, but this is not the only remarkable feature of the F1-75 .
The single-seater has proven to be versatile and fast on three different circuits. Imola will be different, but there is little reason to believe that Ferrari cannot perform on a given track.
Also, the F1-75 is predictable and when it comes to making adjustments, the car will do what the team expects. For example, the basic simulator settings turned out to be correct on all three race weekends, indicating good correlation.
The balance of the new car is familiar to the drivers and porpoising doesn’t seem to be much of an issue. In Australia the car bounced quite a bit down the straights but proved to be very solid under braking and through the corners. The car, for now, gives both Ferrari and the tifosi every reason to be optimistic about what is to come.
Red Bull’s RB18 has potential, but 2022 F1 season looks rocky
Red Bull can compete with Ferrari at top speed, as they demonstrated in Saudi Arabia , where they drove with less downforce. However, there are two big differences with the Italians.
The first is reliability, one of the great key factors when it comes to winning a World Cup. Two technical problems in three races for Verstappen contrast with the strength of his 2021 car. His title chances are not gone yet, but Red Bull is under pressure.
Horner assured in Australia that he preferred to make a fast car to a slow one, but surely he would also prefer to have a fast and reliable car, as the Ferrari has proven to be.
The other big difference with those from Maranello is the good balance of the car. The RB18 is difficult to balance, which has led to increased tire wear. The Adrian Newey -designed car is fast when they get the set-up right down to the millimeter, but achieving the latter has been tricky.
In addition to this, the car has to lose a lot of weight, since it is estimated that it is ten kilos above the limit set in the regulations. Facing all this at once is not easy, but there is no time to lose.
Mercedes still does not hit the key in 2022, but its Formula 1 takes advantage of the opportunities
Red Bull are not the only team yet to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, having focused on the intense fight for the 2021 title. Mercedes may be above them in both championships, but they have shown less speed .
The W13 looks like it has the potential to be a good car, as well as an interesting one, but it’s largely blocked by porpoising. Anthony Davidson , former Formula 1 driver and current manager of the Mercedes simulator, has already given his opinion on the matter.
The 2022 engine doesn’t look like much compared to the leaders, but porpoising is the biggest factor as it prevents them from developing other details, and it’s also an aspect they didn’t get a good look at in pre-season testing.
Their usual trick of not going flat out in winter to confuse rivals meant they couldn’t see the problems it would cause them, and they lost three of the six days of testing prior to the start of the season as porpoising was not seen. neither in the simulator nor in the wind tunnel.
At Mercedes there is still a lot to do, as they cannot trust that they will continue to have the same luck that they enjoyed at the start of the season, even if they have managed to get the most out of it.
Is Aston Martin the new Haas? What does Sebastian Vettel want from his team for 2022?
If Mercedes has run into problems, the concerns of the customer teams that assemble its engine are even greater and Aston Martin does not stop taking hits.
Those from Silverstone are the only team that has not scored in any of the races and is the last in the table. Sebastian Vettel’s absence from the first two races did not help the team, but his return in Australia was anything but triumphant.
The German signed for Aston Martin when it was still Racing Point and it was all the rage, but after a 2021 in which the team could only stand out in a couple of races, Vettel pinned all his hopes on the change of course due to the new regulations, but the turn was in the wrong direction.
The costs of fixing the damaged cars at Albert Park could affect the development of the AMR22, the last thing the team needs.
The Mercedes engine is also not what it was before, which, added to all the internal problems, the budget cap and the accidents, there is a lot of work to be done at Aston Martin, which has inherited the last leading position from Haas.