In 2022, the brand new Formula 1 regulations will finally be implemented in the hope that the field will become closer together. F1’s choice to effectively hit a reset button has been made in the hope that there will be closer action on track and with it more spectacular racing. Formula One’s maestro of design, Adrian Newey, spoke out on the latest episode of Red Bull’s podcast ‘Talking Bull’ explaining how ‘It really is an enormous change, in every sense of the word.’
Ahead of the 2021 British Grand Prix, fans were given their first official look at a full-size 2022 specification F1 car. Every aspect of the 2022 car has been changed apart from the power unit.
The 2022 regulations were of course originally scheduled for 2021. However, as a result of a global pandemic in the form of COVID-19, this plan was pushed back a year. Nevertheless, F1 is no stranger to rule changes and past decades have seen V10s replaced gradually right up to the turbo hybrid power era which we are now in. Irrespective of this, Red Bull Racing’s Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey believes that the changes approaching are the biggest in the last 40 years:
Speaking in the latest episode of Red Bull’s ‘Talking Bull’ podcast, Newey explained:
“The big balancing act we’ve got now is we’ve got this huge regulation change for next season, I would say the biggest single regulation change we’ve had since the old ground effect venturi cars were banned at the end of 1982,” said Newey. “The only thing that really stays the same is the power unit. Everything else is different.”
Ground Effect aerodynamics were banned for safety reasons but elements have been present in some small way whenever F1 cars were designed in recent years. The aim of doing so, is to allow the cars to endeavour to travel in the dirty air and get closer to one another. However, in 2022 the infamous Venturi tunnels will return in the sidepods of 2022 cars.
Ground Effect works with Venturi tunnels. These tunnels force large amounts of air into a smaller area and then allow the air to expand. Origins of Ground effect in F1 is usually referenced with the incomparable Colin Chapman, the master of Lotus design. Therefore, one can only be excited at the prospect of Adrian Newey, a man with 10 Constructors’ Championships across three different teams (Williams, McLaren and Red Bull Racing) being let loose with such a technical design feature.
Unfortunately, genius ideas must also work in line with affordability seeing how the 2022 regulations will be combined with the year on year cost cap decreasing requirement. $175million per year for each team has already been reduced to $145m and the amount is set to continue being reduced in the coming years.
Such radical changes have not been lost on Adrian Newey at a time when Red Bull Racing is in a strong position to win both 2021 F1 Championships:
“We now have this balancing act, as do all teams of course, of trying to keep developing this year’s car because hopefully we have a shot at the championship, or certainly we do at the moment,” said Newey.
“Yet at the same time, we can’t just concentrate on that and ignore next year, so we’re doing our best to juggle those two balls whilst also coping with the latest cost cap, which as everybody knows has meant unfortunately we’ve had to shrink the size of the team in certain areas.”
It was widely reported that Max Verstappen’s DNF on the first lap of the British Grand Prix would cost Red Bull Racing an estimated $1.8 million. Then at the Hungarian Grand Prix, both Red Bull Racing cars were damaged after the concertina effects of Valtteri Bottas’ late braking.
Red Bull Racing’s Team Boss, Christian Horner, commented after the race on Sky F1 ‘Is he going to pay the bill?’ in response to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team Boss Toto Wolff offering his sympathy for a second consecutive race which saw one of his team’s cars result in large financial damages to Red Bull Racing’s RB16B.
Adrian Newey also revealed during ‘Talking Bull’ how the cost cap combined with recent repair work will impact the team:
“The busy second half of the season is obviously a huge load on the race team itself in terms of the travel and the time away from home and it’s a strain on the factory in terms of consumption of parts,” said Newey.
“Obviously with the last two races, there’s also been a heavy drain on the factory because of the amount of accident damage we’ve now got to contend with. But in terms of the actual development of the car, the number of races doesn’t particularly change it.”
This will be music to the ears of Red Bull Racing fans and all fans of F1 who want to see the best teams battle it out with each other. Yet with another planned 12 Grand Prix events scheduled, any further damage may have long lasting effects to Red Bull Racing for the next five years.
As a result of this, should the cost cap and fear of planning for new regulations result in teams not fighting closely together for fear of the damage which it may cause – then F1 will have failed.
We are in the midst of the greatest F1 season in a decade and the prospect of Max Verstappen and Sir Lewis Hamilton choosing not to make a move for fear of the financial ramifications on the team – is not the essence of the sport.
Adrian Newey says that there are enormous changes coming in 2022 but no one wants to see it change the titanic battle taking place in 2021.
Ayrton Senna famously declared ‘If you no longer go for a gap that exists you are no longer a racing driver because we are competing.” Now, it seems there is genuine concern that ‘If you no longer go for a gap that exists…you are thinking of the bill.’