The new Formula 1 season brings a number of changes to the technical, sporting and financial regulations – MAXF1 presents an overview of the changes ahead of the new 2022 F1 season.
New aerodynamic concept
To improve the quality of racing, Pat Symonds’ Formula 1 technical team has written a new rulebook that should improve the quality of racing by reducing aerodynamic losses during close following other cars, a major weakness of F1 cars over the past few decades.
Greater focus on the car floor, which now has large Venturi channels under the sidepods, will allow less turbulence and less air resistance than previous cars, and some standard parts like wheel covers and air deflectors on the inside of the front wheels should also help.
Drivers had positive comments after the first tests and believe that it is possible to follow the car in front of them easier, but due to lower air resistance, the slipstream and DRS effect are lower, so we will have to wait a few races for the final judgment.
With a year of delay, Pirelli introduced new 18-inch tyres that grew in diameter from 660 to 725 mm, the front wheels weighing 2.5 kg per wheel more and the rear 3 kg more. The tyres should allow drivers to push more on longer runs with less overheating and Pirelli still offers five components of dry weather tyres, three of which will be delivered each weekend.
Power unit freeze and new E10 fuel
Engine manufacturers had to homologate a 1.6-liter V6 engine, turbocharger, MGU-H, exhaust system, fuel and lubricants by March 1, 2022, and by September 1 they must homologate the MGU-K, control electronics and energy store.
After that, engine development is frozen until the introduction of the new generation of power units in 2026 with an exceptional situation where some manufacturers have problems with reliability.
The weight of the F1 car has increased once again, this time from 752 kg to 798 kg due to larger and heavier wheels and numerous safety improvements. On Thursday before the first weekend of the season in Bahrain, the FIA announced a new revision of the sports regulations in which it increased the minimum weight by 3 kg, to 798 kg.
Cars from 1996 to 2002 weighed at least 600 kg, from 2003 to 2009 605 kg, in 2011 due to the mandatory KERS limit system increased to 640 kg, and in 2014 due to new power units to 690 kg, which by 2022 is gradually grew to 795 kg.
Dropping Thursday as a media day
To shorten the four-day program to three days, media commitments for drivers and teams will be completed on Friday morning, and the first and second free practice sessions will begin later.
Elimination of Q2 tyre starting rule
Unlike previous seasons, drivers are allowed to start the race on whichever tyre set they want, not on the set where they drove the best time in Q2, which has been the case for drivers in Q3 in seasons before.
At least two free practice sessions for debutants
Each team must provide at least two opportunities per year in the first free practice for drivers who have a maximum of two F1 races behind them to give new and inexperienced drivers a chance to get used to the requirements of Formula 1.
The FIA reacted to the events in Abu Dhabi
New FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has replaced Michael Masi, and will be replaced by Eduardo Freitas from the WEC Series and Niels Wittich from the DTM, while Herbie Blash will be the permanent Senior Adviser.
A virtual control room was introduced (as a VAR in football), direct communication between team representatives and the racing director is abolished while the procedure was revised for the restart of the race.
“If the clerk of the course considers it safe to do so, and the message “LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE” has been sent to all Competitors using the official messaging system, all cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car.”
“This will only apply to cars that were lapped at the time they crossed the Line at the end of the lap during which they crossed the first Safety Car line for the second time after the safety car was deployed.”
“Having overtaken the cars on the lead lap and the safety car these cars should then proceed around the track at an appropriate speed, without overtaking, and make every effort to take up position at the back of the line of cars behind the safety car. Whilst they are overtaking, and in order to ensure this may be carried out safely, the cars on the lead lap must always stay on the racing line unless deviating from it is unavoidable.”
Unless the clerk of the course considers the presence of the safety car is still necessary, once the message “LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE” has been sent to all Competitors using the official messaging system, the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap.”
Another change ahead of the new season is that drivers must stay in racing suits during the post-race celebrations and be buttoned up to the neck, ‘not open to the waist’, as are TV interviews and the FIA’s post-race press conference.
Also, after last year’s Verstappen touching Hamilton’s car at the Brazilian GP, the FIA added a new rule that ‘drivers must not violate parc ferme protocols in any way’.
Change scoring format for incomplete races
Formula 1 has announced a new scoring system for incomplete races like last year’s Belgian GP to avoid future similar situations where drivers get half points for just a few laps.
Last year’s Belgian GP was driven exclusively behind a safety car due to heavy rain and poor visibility, but the Formula 1 leadership was criticized for deciding to drive enough laps to be awarded points.
So far, it has been enough to drive two laps in order to be awarded half points, and for more than 75% of the laps driven, full points were obtained, regardless of whether those two laps were driven behind a safety car.
But as of this year, the FIA has changed the rules and now it is necessary to drive at least two laps without a safety car, which means that according to that rule, no one would win points at last year’s Belgian GP.
Three sprint weekends at Imola, Red Bull Ring and Interlagos have been confirmed, and the results of the sprint still decide the starting order. But the statistical pole position as of this year belongs to the driver who drove the fastest time in qualifying.
The circle of points winners in sprint races is expanding and now applies to the top eight riders (8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1).
Larger difference in scale for aerodynamic testing
Last year, the fifth team was the reference with 100% of the time in the wind tunnel, and the first team had 90% of the time from the fifth while the last had 112.5% of the time.
This year, the seventh team is the reference with 100% of the time, but the first team in the 2021 rankings has 70% of the time in the wind tunnel while the last has 115% of the time.
For the first six months of the year, last year’s construction order is taken into account and from June 30 by the end of the year construcors’ standings on June 30 is taken as a reference.
The budget cap was introduced last year at $ 145 million, and this year, according to the agreement, the budget is reduced to a maximum of $ 140 million, but from an additional $ 1.2 million for each race above 21 races (142.4 million if there are 23 races).