With the F1 2022 campaign a month over, one of the burning questions and theories is around the new rules and regulations which were introduced for this year and beyond. Naturally there are questions about it working or not and if it made racing better or not.
Looking at the picture from outside, the pecking order hasn’t changed much but it did put Mercedes on the backfoot while Red Bull maintained its position with Ferrari gaining. The mid-pack is close as ever but the larger impact has been on wheel-to-wheel racing. The regulation change was largely done to help lessen dirty air and following.
And to some extent, it did help drivers to follow well and fight their competitors. When Red Bull and Ferrari went head-to-head, there was good fight for the lead. Even in the mid-pack, teams closely matched had some solid fights for track position and points. The drivers are generally positive about the change with certainly more to come.
Here’s what some of the F1 team bosses said:
Tom McCullough (Aston Martin): “Yeah, obviously the FIA came up with a set of regulations with certain aims. Our jobs, as engineers, is to understand those regulations and try to make as fast a car as possible. The cars obviously can follow closer. The overtaking differences are also dependent on tyres and degradation and obviously the different circuits. The issues that we encountered at the start of the year – and I think most teams to certain levels did – with the porpoising and the bouncing, weren’t ideal. But the FIA have looked to address that with a regulation change and the AOM metric they brought in this year as part of that too.
“So, overall, yeah, I think I think it has done what was set out to be achieved. It’s been a challenge from an engineering side, it’s actually been fascinating, I think you learn more with a big regulation change, especially when you’re not as strong as you want to be, I think you learn even more. But the guy to the left of me here and the team that he’s a part of, they’ve shown over the season, how it needs to be done. And that’s a benchmark for us all to be chasing the job that Red Bull have done.”
Paul Monaghan (Red Bull): “I wouldn’t want to say that these regulations are good, bad or indifferent. Personally, I think they’re a little constrained in that the cars are quite similar and our freedoms are curtailed, compared with previous years, perhaps. If the aim was to get the cars to run a little closer to one another, it appears to have achieved that, which was one of the aims, shall we say? It’s not really whether we like the rules or not, it’s how well we can work to them. And some very kindly said we’ve been fortunate perhaps and hit a rich seam of development from the outset of it, and drawn the benefits.
“So, in terms of exploiting the regulations, we appear to be… all the teams appear to be capable of doing so, as Tom noted, the porpoising is a feature of a ground effect car, and it bit everybody to greater or lesser extent, and circuit dependency. The FIA, as noted, brought in the AOM, and some regulation interpretations applied for Spa, which affected everybody. I think there would have been a natural convergence to eliminate it, perhaps it was accelerated. And that’s where we find ourselves in Brazil, race 21, isn’t it? There are some minor changes for next year, which everybody will have to learn and adapt, and try to exploit and on we go.”
FX Demaision (formerly Williams): “I’m a bit new in the sport, so to say that the result is achieved, I don’t know. I mean, when we are looking at the technical data of the team, you look at your cars and don’t really look at the old races. So I’m not really the right person to answer this question. I’m sure, I mean, we have to do everything we can to help the sport and make it more attractive. And so we’re happy to discuss with the FIA and keep pushing and getting in that direction and ask if they’re happy and if they’re not, the FIA should come back to us and we can try to make better rules and make it more attractive for people, if it’s the number one priority. An engineer will always try to use the rules as much as he can to make his car faster. But the FIA needs to then make sure we would go in the right direction in terms of the show. But that’s not the technical director’s responsibility normally.”
Otmar Szafnauer (Alpine): “Well, I’ve been looking back. I think there are a couple of objectives, one of which was to bring the field a bit closer together and I think that’s been partially achieved. I think the racing is a little bit closer and then the other objective was to get most of the downforce or the predominant amount of the downforce from the floor, such that overtaking can be a little bit easier and I think overtaking is a bit easier. But it’s still, at some circuits, it’s difficult, still requires DRS and sometimes even with DRS, we still struggle to overtake, but I think it’s proved to be an entertaining season and I think from an entertainment standpoint the new formula has delivered.”
Guenther Steiner (Haas): “Yeah, I think the regulation worked. We have to differentiate between financial regulations and technical. I think financial worked. The teams are closer together, all the teams have scored points this year. There are two battles going on still, at the end of the season, when the World Championship has been decided, between fourth and fifth and eighth and ninth at the moment. So I think on that side, it worked. Obviously, as we saw, with the breach of the budget cap, we need to do some refinement, work on that regulation, penalties and so on but it’s a completely new concept and we can’t expect it to be too perfect the first time.
“On the technical regulation, I think that it worked as well, it made the racing better. You can get, as Otmar said, you can get a little bit closer car to car. It will never be perfect with a car with wings on, that you don’t lose downforce when you’re behind the car, but it went in the right direction and there are improvements, always, there’s always margin to improve the technical regulations. So I think if we keep on working on it, we are on the right way, but in general, as Otmar said again, the entertainment value is better, I think. A lot of people watch Formula 1, because there are always battles everywhere, and I think for that it was a very good step forward.”
Andreas Seidl (formerly McLaren): “Yeah, fully agree with what Otmar and Gunther said. I think it was a very good starting point for these new technical, sporting and financial regulations. And I think now with time and with the budget cap, especially, let’s say the effect of it washing out over the next few years, I think it will get even better. And I think one very positive aspect as well from this season is the job Pirelli has done as well because if we look at this season, I think not many times we actually had similar discussions compared to previous years where there was always a lot of criticism around the tyres, which is a very positive aspect as well, from my point of view of this season and shows that Pirelli really has done a great job.”
Here’s FIA expanding on Sporting Code changes
Here’s Ross Brawn on F1 weekend format
Here’s F1 drivers on the 2022 changes
Here’s F1 2023 entry list
Here’s fan creating metal version of F1 theme