With the 2021’s ongoing saga of contested-car-parts, it seems like 2022 will be a more difficult time for the teams when it comes to the exploitation of the aero-elasticity. It began with Mercedes contesting Red Bull’s “bendy” rear wing in Spain, and continued with Red Bull taking an issue with the Mercedes’ one, that led to check-ups during the Qatar GP. The result of those is FIA cracking down on those things, with tweaks from 2022 in flex test, that are supposed to prevent any of the teams from developing anything even slightly questionable.
When it comes to the aero-elasticity, James Key, McLaren’s technical director believes that with the new 2022 technical regulations, the team will still have some possibility to play with it and with the designs put on their cars, but it will be increasingly harder for them to find solutions to exploit. As he said post Abu Dhabi GP: "I think the sensitivity of the aero-elastics has changed and I think that is well understood from the regulations that have been discussed at length, how to better manage components which can flex.
"Some of the tests are more stringent - rear wing tests, for example, will be a little bit tougher - and some of the things that happened [in 2021] with these areas have carried through to 2022 and I think there is a lot of attention being paid to that.
"The front wing in 2022 is a massive thing but it still has a very stringent set of guidelines on stiffness, so I think there will always be a few tricks to play but I don’t think there is going to be something easy to exploit.
"You’ve got a couple of different components on the car which can have a certain level of stiffness, which you could exploit legally, so there are various new tools to play with in 2022.
"It will probably become some form of issue I am sure, but it is not something the teams or the FIA are ignoring. It is a fairly clear area where we are very careful to regulate correctly for next year.”
With the new generation of the F1’s that will be introduced this season, it will definitely be interesting to see who did their homework correct, who didn’t really prepare and tried to copy their homework just before the class and who did not manage to solve any of the equations in their homework at all. It seems that the teams will still have a way to play with the rules and designs, but what will be the outcome of it and will FIA be able to track those things accordingly?