Gary Anderson’s verdict on the 2022 F1 car track
Over the years I have been lucky enough to see Formula 1 cars built to all sorts of regulations, including the first generation of ground effect cars in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
After focusing on the cars from a technical point of view on the first day of testing, I was able to observe these new cars from the side of the track for the first time during the morning and post- midday.
To give those of you at home who don’t have TV coverage of the tests to watch but want to get a feel for these cars a reference the main impression is that they look more like a race car .
The last generation looked good, but this news is more like a “complete” car from front to back that is proportional – and as I always say, it’s important that race cars have the air as fast as they go.
The only thing that looks a bit amateurish when looking at the cars are the front fender endplates. These are big, tall and just a little too big. They’re what I would call the A1GP aesthetic where something is there to look fast and fast rather than for good technical reasons – but teams like it because it creates more ad space so it’s is good for the marketing side.
But if you look at the cars coming towards you on the straight, you can see the differences from the front fenders. The AlphaTauri with the raised central part, the flatter Mercedes and everything else as I explained in detail in a previous article.
There is no one size fits all and we are going to see differences for a while and as the fans always say they want to see differences between the cars.
One of the things I was researching today was porpoising which became a big talking point. This is when the rear of the subfloor gets too low to the ground at high speeds and effectively stalls causing the rear to rise as the aerodynamic load goes away and creates a kind of wobble in the car.
I’ve seen a lot of cars do this and maybe the Alpine is the most visible and the Ferrari looks very bad on this if you follow the F1 social media feed as this video shows:
— Formula 1 (@F1) February 24, 2022
That may be true, but having watched Carlos Sainz in the morning and Charles Leclerc in the afternoon, including down the main straight as they approach top speed, I haven’t seen this happen . But maybe it was in the early afternoon, when I was walking around the pit lane.
If you’re going to fix porpoising, you need to fix it before it starts. Letting it start means you’ll end up with what the Ferrari shows in this video – trying to regain control of the car after the porpoise has started is a waste of time.
Dynamically, all the cars seem relatively well sorted so early in the race under the new rules. Yes, you can see points where the car has no grip on one side or the other, but the teams have all done a good job.
The AlphaTauri is the one that stands out for its tidy appearance. It’s a good workhorse, you might say, and responds to what the driver wants. It’s kind of a solid benchmark against which to compare others as it doesn’t seem to have any particular issues – however, I wouldn’t be surprised if its fastest lap was achieved on less fuel than the big boys who usually focus only on racing simulations and don’t get too excited about lap times.
Some cars have a little understeer here and there, but this balances out when the driver puts the throttle back on and uses some of the rear tire grip for acceleration.
What is noticeable is that the drivers have to respect the curbs much more, the sides of the floor are now level with the middle of the floor, so there is no longer the 50 mm step on the sides of the floor that existed under the old rules.
So you need to stay well clear of yellow sausage curbs, and even be careful around corners, like the chicane where you might have already monstrous the curb. Hopefully this will alleviate the issue of track limits as drivers will need to be very disciplined and be more precise behind the wheel or else they will damage their cars.
As the group of cars looks relatively good, and perhaps because we’ve yet to see anyone really exploiting anything like peak performance, it’s hard to pick one particular car that stands out.
Among the usual favorites, the Mercedes looked a bit strange. Looking through turns 7-8, left-right down the hill to Campsa, the car seemed to wander and be a little imprecise at the front end.
This meant that George Russell was not always on a consistent line, while Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri was always consistent.
The Williams looked a little tricky at times, a car the driver also had to be careful of. If Alex Albon or Nicholas Latifi pushed too hard the forward or the back could lose grip, but that was easy to manage.
The Aston Martin looked quite impressive, with plenty of laps logged today. Again the car is consistent, the driver can put it back in place lap after lap and both drivers, in particular Sebastian Vettel, seemed to have a good idea of what was under them.
The Ferrari looks quite nice and fast. Leclerc could attack with the car and it seemed to react which was reflected in the lap time. One thing that stood out was how aggressive the sound was when the driver applied power. Leclerc was able to put the accelerator back decisively – more than any other car.
None of this means that Ferrari is the fastest, but it looks like the car is running well. I didn’t see Sergio Perez’s Red Bull that much, but other than it seemed to bounce reasonably down the straight, it was consistent through the corners.
But there’s still a feeling that a lot of these teams and drivers are holding back and I’m sure there are more to come – it’s still the same, 10kg of fuel is still around 0, 3 seconds per lap.
The teams are still developing their understanding of the cars and working to resolve porpoising issues and understand the behavior of their designs, so we’ve yet to see what looks to be a spectacularly growing generation of cars. .