The development of new cars in Formula 1 usually heralds a moment of innovation, also for teams, that must find the best way to use the regulations to their advantage.
The goal of this upcoming Formula 1 season is to have exciting races with almost equal cars and therefore a fight, not among the usual, few teams.
However, the rules that must be followed are stricter than those of the previous years.
With the new regulations, teams have to be very careful and try to work on details that could make the difference, as there are several restrictions, which also include the aerodynamic side of the cars.
Engineer James Key, Technical Director at McLaren believes they will have to be smart and crafty if they are to make the most of next year's rule changes.
“Technically we've got less tools to play with it but typically that breeds a lot of ideas you'd never have even entertained with the current cars with the many more tools you've got to deal with,” Key said to Motorlat and other selected media.
“So you tend to look, even though it's less efficient in many ways,” – he continued –“At areas where you can gain a little bit more performance because you've otherwise got less tools and more restrictions on the aerodynamic side and indeed the suspension side as well.
“The suspension is also very simplified compared to what we're used to,” – he said – “ You actually get quite innovative at times like this; it happened in 2009 when aerodynamicists were running around the office saying 'it's not the same anymore' and you all kind of realise that there's actually a whole load of things you can do. It's just a bit more subtle and complicated.
Everyone, included Key, expect to find very different cars, because each team is working on a project that has never been tackled before, which will surely bring news and spectacle to the public.
“I suspect we'll see some differences of ideas on different cars. It'll be interesting to see what people have done.
“I think the development rates will likely be extremely high; the nature of these regs are probably going to equal out a bit quicker than what we have now simply because there's so many different ways of doing things.
If in the last past years the changes we saw on the cars were "foreseen" in some way, after a season that perhaps had seen them lacking in some aspect, in this 2022 season, the cars seem to be unpredictable in many ways, even for the designers and engineers themselves.
“We've still got a lot to learn... everyone has got a lot to learn with the '22 cars,” - Key stated - “We've got to correlate them on track and got to see what everyone has done; there could be some real changes when we see other people's cars.
“We've gotta see how you perform against others and work out your strengths and weaknesses against your competitors.
“We're all in the same boat, and I think that will cause jolts in development and ideas as we progress in the first half of the season and across later in the year. That will coalesce into parts on the car.
“I think teams will certainly have a better idea how to approach their '23 car compared to '22."
The Technical Director of the English team then explained how, according to his point of view, it will be more important to work and try to improve the weaknesses of the new cars, rather than focusing on the strengths.
“It's more of a case of trying to have a car that attacks the weaknesses more than retaining the strengths. The nature of '22 cars is probably a little easier to maintain some of the strengths we have, but strengths are also relative.
“It means it's harder to develop because certain things that maybe you would have taken before which you don't take now and you want to give it more time.
“But I think the '22 cars being so different, the strengths and weaknesses... whilst they're still similar to what you would like to achieve now to go a step quicker, it'll be interesting to see how they pan out against others to be honest.”