F1 2022 innovations less obvious than double diffusers

Formula 1's most clever ideas for the new 2022 regulations will be far less obvious than the famous double diffusers, reckons McLaren technical chief James Key.

F1 2022 innovations less obvious than double diffusers

With teams having pretty much switched off development of their current challengers, factories are now almost entirely focused on making sure they hit the ground running with the new rules era next year.

Amid such a major regulations overhaul, teams will be looking to try to exploit any potential grey areas and unlock the kind of performance advantage that Brawn GP had in 2009 when it led the way with double diffusers.

However, F1 chiefs have worked extra hard to make the 2022 rule framework much more watertight when it comes to loopholes, with teams unable to innovate in many areas that they could previously.

And for Key, while that means there won't be any headline-grabbing tricks that will be obvious, that does not mean there are not a lot of smaller concepts that can still be rolled out.

"I think there's a lot of subtleties in there to be exploited," he explained. "And that's going to be the journey I think in 2022.

"You're not going to see double diffusers and that sort of huge kind of innovation with these regs. They are too restrictive for that.

"But there'll be other clever ideas and ways of approaching things which we'll begin to spot as these cars get released. So I think there's probably less traps there."

One of F1 owner Liberty Media's ambitions with its new era of grand prix racing is to level up the playing field, and offer hope for midfield teams to gun for the occasional win.

Key reckons that some elements of the new rules, like the weighted aero development regulations that hand more wind tunnel and CFD time to the slowest teams, could prove important in helping those further back.

"It's really difficult to say where it's going to play out," said Key. "When you've got new regs like this, the most terrifying part of the year is that first qualifying session where everyone actually shows how quick they are.

"I guess we're not going to know until qualifying in Bahrain, ultimately, next year, exactly where people appear to stand. And even that can throw you a few oddballs at times.

"But I think there's several advantages for being further back in the championship, with the CFD and wind tunnel benefit that you get from that, which is really important for a 2022 car.

"It was great to finish third last year, but it did have a minor effect on how much development we can do with our tools compared, to an eighth, ninth or 10th position team. So they've definitely got a little advantage there."

The 2022 Formula 1 car launch event on the Silverstone grid. Rear detail

The 2022 Formula 1 car launch event on the Silverstone grid. Rear detail

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

But Key still has faith that the quality of the staff at the top outfits will be enough to keep them ahead when the 2022 cars hit the track.

"The infrastructures, the legacy, the methods, knowledge and culture that you have in a winning team does give a little bit of an advantage," he explained.

"You've got that kind of belief and confidence, you've got the tools that you believe in, and are tapped into those tools.

"I think some of the legacy of what larger teams have, even though they have to cut their budgets, all the investment that has gone on before and all the research that's allowed them to do well, will still give a bit of a buffer and a bit of an advantage.

"So I suspect the pecking order will probably be reasonably similar. But hopefully it will be closer.

"I suspect it'll be a bit spread out to begin with because I'm sure everyone is still kind of immature with their knowledge of these cars when they get launched.

"But hopefully, as time goes on, and with a slightly more restrictive regs, it will draw things closer, and we'll see how that pecking order drops out."

Read Also:

shares
comments

Related video

Austin bumps set to "complicate" USA F1 weekend
Previous article

Austin bumps set to "complicate" USA F1 weekend

Next article

O’Ward: Herta has "everything to be successful" in Formula 1

O’Ward: Herta has "everything to be successful" in Formula 1
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021