There is always a great deal of anticipation and excitement centered around F1 testing and team car launches pre-season. However, with new 2022 regulations, stakes are higher for the teams as levels of uncertainty increase over what to expect in terms of car performance and competition on track.
Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies expressed his views on the new regulations and raised some concerns over the possibility of the cars having a similar appearance to one another ultimately resulting in the exact same car by the 2023 season.
“There is less freedom, definitely, we are all excited, because it’s going to be completely different compared to . But how different the cars will be from each other? We will see,” he said.
“I think the first go at it, we may see enough difference to our liking, all of us. I think the first go at it, you say: 'OK, that’s not too bad.'
“But then I think the question we all need to ask ourselves is once six months have passed, and more importantly, once one year has passed, so once you have redone your car for 2023, will we all turn out to have exactly the same?
“I’m not telling you that it’s not enough yet. I’m just telling you, let’s have a good look, including the media and, in early 2023, to see if there is still enough differentiations and room for teams to make a difference.”
Although the risk of producing similar-looking 2022 challengers exists at the moment with teams implementing new aero packages under stricter regulations, the FIA ensures that there will be enough differences similar to how it has been in recent years.
Nikolas Tombazis, the head of single-seater technical matters at the FIA, explained how difficult it is to differentiate between the cars unless you are a trained F1 expert.
“It is difficult to say, because it depends on how expert your eye is and your point of reference,” Tombazis stated.
“I will point out that with the current [pre-2022] generation cars, when actually the conversation [about new rules] was had in 2019, were all rendered to be white and shown to team members like teams principals and so on.
“Not all of them could get all the cars right and say which cars were which. So even current  cars look quite similar, and it's difficult to say at what point they start looking different.
“I think you will be able to recognise different cars if you're sufficiently expert in Formula 1.”