After completing more than half of the 2022 season, the Formula 1 teams have reached the summer break with the aim of continuing to improve and develop their cars, something that is currently very complicated due to the budget limit imposed by the regulations.
If a car has been born with the wrong concept, it will be difficult to modify its structure to go in the right direction, but even with the obvious design flaws of certain cars, the teams have some strengths that they can take advantage of.
For this reason, Formula 1 has published what they believe are the areas in which each car excels, although they also indicate the weaknesses of each member of the 2022 grid.
Red Bull RB18
Starting with the leaders of the classification, Red Bull, the top category sees an RB18 consistent in race pace, as well as reliable, which combined with the ability of Max Verstappen makes it fast on all circuits.
However, the extreme lengths to which the Milton Keynes engineers have tried to go caused them to initially suffer several withdrawals due to mechanical problems, which have been resolved as the year progressed. The speed in qualifying is not the best, as Ferrari has an advantage in this regard, but the Austrians have managed to show a balanced performance on Sunday, despite obvious tire wear, as was the case in Austria.
In second place is Ferrari, the team with the clearly fastest car, something that the eight pole positions of the Italians demonstrate. Another strong point is traction, which has enabled it to withstand Red Bull’s attacks on the straights at times, such as in Bahrain.
However, and the worst thing the F1-75 has shown to be is reliability, since the repeated abandonment due to setbacks in the 066/7 power unit has meant that those from Maranello have almost eliminated themselves from the fight for the titles. global.
At Mercedes they had a difficult start to the 2022 season with porpoising , but their radical concept in the W13 with hardly any sidepods has allowed the Silver Arrows to move up to catch up with the leaders. Their tire management has helped the Germans, as has downforce, although the rebound in their car caused them to take time to extract optimal performance, especially in qualifying, where they encountered the most problems at the start of the year.
Fourth-placed constructors Alpine stand out for having an A522 that is consistent in downforce, with a fast car in high-speed corners. Plus, its split power unit design has proven it can work, even though its reliability hasn’t been the best on the grid.
In the weak points there is still the lack of load with respect to the leaders, something normal, but that has been reflected in the Monaco or Imola circuits, where they only added 6 points between both drivers.
A candidate to be the ‘best of the rest’ is McLaren, which on tracks where downforce is not so important tends to do better, as they usually do. They haven’t been overly affected by porpoising , and they are good at managing the tyres, but the MCL36’s weak front end, both under braking and corner entry means that on long runs they aren’t the best.
With a heavy fuel load and worn tyres, the orange car is notoriously tricky to drive, as Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo can attest.
Alfa Romeo C42
One of the surprises of the season is Alfa Romeo, who have gone from being in the lower part of the standings to regularly fighting for points. His C42 is versatile, capable of being the ‘best of the rest’ at times, as its Ferrari engine allows it to be fast on the straights, plus they were the lightest car at the start of the year.
However, what has given them such an advantage has also been their biggest weakness, and that is that the Maranello engine has led to many retirements from the Hinwil team when they were in positions to score points.
At the bottom, but no less important, is Haas, which has been the team that has taken the greatest step forward. The Americans left behind being the red lantern to fight for the points, thanks in part to the improvement of the Ferrari engine, which allows it to be fast, even on tracks where downforce plays a key role.
However, their late development of the VF-22 has caused them to sometimes fall far behind when their goal was to stay in the fight in the mid zone. Until the last appointment before the summer holidays, Haas did not introduce its first major update package, so only time will tell if they have got it right.
If we were talking about surprises, now we have to do it about disappointments, and that is that AlphaTauri has starred in a clear decline in its performance. Those from Faenza, with their AT03, have a good car on tracks where traction is necessary, such as Monaco or Baku, but their low downforce has made them lag behind their rivals.
The lack of development has also been important, and has made it difficult to set it up, as I couldn’t find out what the maximum of the car was, something that adds to the problems with the Honda engine that they have suffered.
Aston Martin AMR22
The team that has been in the news in the first week of the summer, Aston Martin, has had a roller coaster in 2022. It was the first to show the true aspect of a new generation single-seater, but its definitive appearance was not seen until Barcelona, when They presented a car very similar to that of Red Bull due to the shape and concept of its pontoons.
In addition, in Hungary they introduced a new rear wing that the rest of the rivals are already studying, so their development capacity is demonstrated. However, the AMR22 has suffered from an obvious lack of downforce, which indicates that they have not followed the right direction despite wanting to follow in the footsteps of the RB18, so they will need to make changes if they want to give them a competitive car in 2023 . Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll.
The disappointment of the year is Williams, who promised a lot at the beginning of the season with their radical FW44, but have not been able to perform as expected. The British car has excelled at high-speed cornering and its ability to heat up the tyres, which is key when the tarmac is wet or in difficult conditions, but the same very different design has been what has held back the Grove.
The English engineers tried to surprise, and they did, although when the moment of truth arrived, both Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi did not have the ideal tools to fight for the points.