These 3 rule changes will have the biggest impact on Formula 1 in 2022

Formula 1 will enact a major rule change in 2022. Initially intended for the 2021 racing season, the new rules have been delayed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The complete overhaul of the rules could significantly reshape Formula 1 racing.

Focusing on bringing the race closer together and making cars easier to overtake, Formula 1 and the FIA ​​have drafted a new set of regulations that will change the look, performance and race of cars throughout the season.

It’s easy to get bogged down in the technicalities and complexity of the new rules, but three big changes will have the biggest impact.


Formula 1 is all about aerodynamics. Teams spend tens of millions of dollars to design, simulate and test the aerodynamic efficiency of their cars throughout the season. Most F1 teams have their own wind tunnels, and this is one of the most effective tools for getting the most out of the car.

The current complexity of aerodynamic design is most evident in the barge panel and ground surfaces of an F1 car. Dozens of individual elements, called “flow conditioners,” help produce downforce and clean the air flow on and around the car.

By 2022, these complex elements will be eliminated from cars. The majority of downforce will now be produced by ground effect tunnels under the car. The front and rear fenders have been simplified, and the wheels have hubcaps and vanes to help direct dirty air away from the tires and into the rear fender.

The result of all the aerodynamic changes should be a race car that creates less dirty air for the next car without sacrificing downforce. This should make the race closer and make overtaking easier, but the most noticeable change will be the look of the cars.


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The suspension of modern Formula 1 cars is incredibly sophisticated and largely hidden from view of fans watching a race. The suspension of a current Formula 1 car has almost nothing in common with the average road car and uses components and principles that can be difficult to decipher. Using torsion bars, inertial dampers, push rods and lifting springs, Formula 1 suspensions are a symphony of high-level engineering that requires a team of vehicle dynamicsists to design.

The new rules specify that cars must ditch the torsion bars and lifting springs and go back to the simpler and less complicated configuration of the coil spring and shock absorber (shock absorber). It’s much closer to what you might find on a road car, and the rule is put in place to help control costs and reduce complexity.

This change can slow cars down initially. The current and complex suspension systems are well understood by the teams. Returning to a simplified system could have the effect of slowing cars down through corners until engineers figure out how to regain lost performance. It might take a few races, but expect the immense cornering speeds to return by mid-season.


F1 unveils new 2022 car ahead of British F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 14, 2021 | Race Service / Getty Images

Along with the overall appearance of the 2022 Formula 1 car, the other big change is the new wheel size. For decades, F1 cars have used 13-inch wheels and tires. In 2022, that changes to a much more modern 18-inch wheel and tire assembly.

The new 18-inch wheel was tested at the Yas Marina circuit after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and will be a focal point in the new year. Pirelli, which makes the tires for Formula 1, suggests that the size change will reduce the amount of heat that builds up in the wheel and tire as they slide across the racetrack. Less heat will mean longer tire life, and it will change the way racing teams plan their strategy.

Pirelli and the racing teams also believe that the smaller sidewall of the 18-inch tire will deflect less and reduce the amount of dirty and turbulent air around them.

It would appear that concerns about deflection of the tire sidewalls are a minor issue. Yet the reality is that Formula 1 cars are susceptible to tiny changes, especially related to aerodynamics.

The 2022 rule changes will be a revolutionary change in Formula 1. Their aim is to improve the quality of racing and make overtaking easier. It’s far too early to know if these changes will have the desired effect, but it will undoubtedly reveal which teams have the best engineering departments. Formula 1 has always been about change, engineering and pushing boundaries, and 2022 could be another epic racing year if drivers can adapt to the changes.

Related: DRS And 5 Other Formula 1 Terms You Should Know About

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