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Formula 1 Bahrain GP

F1 teams have stripped back liveries in bid to save weight

Formula 1 teams have been forced to strip back their liveries and remove paint from their cars this year in a bid to shave excess weight, it has emerged.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR22 Nico Hulkenberg, Aston Martin AMR22

As teams have pulled their 2022 cars together, they have faced a tremendous battle to try to hit the minimum weight limit.

For although F1’s minimum mass increased from 752kg to 795kg for this season, the majority of squads could not get anywhere near that target.

As a compromise, and to prevent an expensive arms race in a bid to cut car weight down, an agreement was reached for the minimum weight to be increased to 798kg for the start of the season.

However, even that has proved to be a challenge for some teams – which is why they have been looking at all areas they can to lose any excess they still have.

A close inspection of cars at last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix shows many of them have areas of paint missing – and are instead stripped all the way to the raw carbon fibre.

This included the McLaren, whose airbox has changed from orange at the launch to be black now, and Aston Martin – which has even taken to removing paint from areas of its sidepod such was its determination to get the weight down.

Aston Martin Racing AMR 22 detail

Aston Martin Racing AMR 22 detail

Photo by: Jon Noble

Aston Martin’s chief technical officer Andy Green said that although the overall weight benefit seemed small, anything that could help was welcome.

“Weight is a big, big issue,” he explained. “These cars are heavy by regulation, and to get down to the regulation weight, it's a challenge.

“We went through the whole car from front to back, and we took paint off wherever we could. I think in total we saved about 350 grammes.”

Even teams at the front are facing a headache in getting the weight down, especially as they bid to bring improvements to the car.

Mercedes reckons that its team and Red Bull are the most overweight on the grid at the moment.

Team boss Toto Wolff said “If I would make a best guess then probably Red Bull, ourselves, are from the top 10 cars, we’re probably the most overweight. And then there are some that are on the weight or just above it.

“That’s quite a lap time advantage or disadvantage. But you need to be clever about it. Some have taken the decision to go light, and they are benefiting from that at the moment. I think there is, for us, definitely room to improve, and to chip away some of the bits that we have on the car that are too heavy.”

Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan added: “It's tough to get these cars below the weight limit. Then the more they evolve, particularly in the early running of them, they are liable to creep up.

“Then that requires some light-weighting efforts to get that weight back off again. Everybody's fighting the same battle. Where we stand relative to everybody else, you'll have to ask the FIA, but it is a good fight.”

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36

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