Bigger and heavier wheels and numerous safety changes have further increased the weight of the F1 car, so this year they are never heavier and never closer to the once unimaginable limit of 800 kilograms as many teams in the early stages of the new rules are struggling to lower car weight to a minimum of 795 kg.
The transition to 18-inch wheels added 2.5 kg per front wheel and 3 kg per rear wheel, which is 11 extra kilograms for the wheels only, and the total minimum weight limit has increased from 752 to 795 kilograms, or 43 kg more compared to 2021 due to safety changes, especially on the side parts of the chassis.
But even with a large increase in the minimum weight of the car, teams in the early stages of development of the new generation of cars struggle with being overweight, so some cars are more than 10 kg heavier than the minimum 795 kg.
Ten extra kilograms is worth about 0.3 seconds per lap, depending on the track, which is an eternity in Formula 1, so much of the team’s resources will go in the direction of weight reduction, especially for teams whose cars are significantly above minimum weight.
One of the teams that has a big problem with being overweight is allegedly Red Bull, reports German Auto Motor und Sport, referring to reliable sources from Formula 1 engineering circles, and according to the same sources, only Alfa Romeo does not weigh more than 795 kg.
This can be attributed, among other things, to the shorter wheelbase – for the first time since this year, the wheelbase has been limited to no more than 3600 mm and Alfa Romeo has a wheelbase of 3510 mm.
If a team manages to reach the minimum weight below the limit, it must supplement it with ballast to achieve a weight of 795 kg, but this ballast can be positioned extremely low which lowers the center of gravity of the car.
For comparison, last season the wheelbases were between 3600 and 3700 mm, with a tendency to increaseover the years because the greater wheelbase offers more space for better integration of power unit and cooling components, which offers aerodynamic advantages. Also, the larger floor area also offers greater aerodynamic potential.
McLaren is also doing very well in terms of weight with its MCL36, which is only a few kilograms above the minimum weight of 795 kg, and during the first pre-season test in Barcelona, the possibility of increasing the minimum weight was discussed, although it does not seem to happen.
“At first it was said that the weight would go up, but then there was a reversal,” Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko said in Barcelona.
The minimum weight in 2009 was 605 kg, in 2010 it was increased to 620 kg, in 2011 to 640 kg due to the mandatory KERS system and in 2014 there was a significant increase to 690 kg due to the introduction of complex hybrid power units.
Due to wider cars and larger wheels and tyres, there was an increase to 728 kg in 2017 while over the next four years there was a gradual increase to 752 kg for 2021.