That said, it is important to remember that it is only an interpretation of the future, as the teams themselves remain free to develop their own aerodynamic concepts, albeit with more restrictions than in the past.
The move to a more ground-focused single-seater certainly poses exciting new challenges for the design teams, but it is inevitable that they will also use their current knowledge to deliver performance.
So let’s take a look at some of the areas where we know teams will be willing to introduce their own DNA and where the design of the prototype car does not delve too deeply into the possible outcomes.
The 2022 Formula 1 car launch event on the Silverstone grid. Front detail
Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images
The front wing and nose cone are incredibly important in an F1 car, as they provide the first point of contact for airflow.
The front wing will have a maximum of four planes in 2022, as shown on the prototype. However, the performance objective will prevail over the aesthetic one, as the teams will not only be able to have adjustability in the two upper profiles (see below, right), but there will undoubtedly be differences in their shape as well, especially in its connection on the endplate and with the nose.
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The two different sketches produced by F1 also highlight how teams can make different design decisions regarding nose shape and length, as this structure is incredibly important in achieving an aerodynamic symbiosis with not just the front wing. , but also with the surfaces below.
Notice how the combination of the front brake duct fence and wheel wake deflector is shaped to accommodate the upper spoiler, which also has a groove (we’ll see a lot more of this from teams when optimizing their designs, along with different contours and flow conditioning surfaces where possible), and also features a lower tail section that helps disrupt the wake created by tire sidewall deformation.
Obviously this will become an area of intense development for the teams as they optimize flow and turbulence around the front wheel, with the lower apron flap, also pictured, able to offer assistance in conjunction with the Common aerodynamic surfaces that teams use to smooth and manipulate airflow.
This includes – but is not limited to – the brake line inlet, the fins, and the steering and suspension arm fairings.
2022 F1 car
Photo by: Formula 1
This top view allows us to appreciate the length of the ground edge fin and the fences used to help guide the air flow into the subsoil gully section. This section has been raised considerably compared to the current generation of single-seaters to help maximize flow in the tunnels at the bottom of the ground.
On top of that we have the pontoons, which feature a heavily sculpted entrance on the prototype and is an area that will likely be very different for the teams as they look for ways to balance aerodynamic efficiency with the cooling demands of their power units.
The same can be said for the rest of the pontoon bodywork, the transitional bodywork around the Halo, and the shape of the air intake, all of which have customization potential for teams.
The treatment of the ground edges on the prototype car is slightly different from the scale model that F1 introduced in 2019, highlighting an area where we should see some development work by the teams, especially as it is already a hotbed. of upgrades for them, as they are often seen playing with this area of the car.
Some of that knowledge will be transferable and they will try to use it to improve flow conditions ahead of the rear tire, along with the potential to shape the ground right after as well.
The full-scale show car showed a lot of additional design maturity compared to the wind tunnel scale model when we also looked at the rear of the car, indicating how much design divergence will be possible.
The beam spoiler has been split into two elements, and the twin mounting pillars have been further streamlined, while still serving a purpose, taking the gooseneck shape that many teams already have.
F1 was left without including the DRS activator pod or flap mechanism on the full-scale show car, but the system remains in 2022 to aid overtaking, with the hinges visible on the tunnel model. wind that was shown in 2019.
The rear brake duct flaps hanging next to the diffuser will also be an interesting avenue in terms of development for the teams, not only because of their proximity to the diffuser wall, but also because they have already been trimmed by 2021, proving their value in influencing. in the flow around the back of the car.
Wheel covers will also return to F1, having been relegated after the 2009 season, when teams had them mounted statically inside the rim. This time, however, they must turn with the wheel.
Its design is also more restrictive, although as we can see from the difference between the full-scale show car, with its design similar to a garbage can lid, and the wind tunnel model, with its flat panel design, there will be ways teams can customize them to suit their own needs, including the segmented version shown in the sketch.
The 2022 Formula 1 car launch event on the Silverstone grid. Front wheel detail
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
2021 F1 rules model
Photo by: Giorgio Piola
2022 F1 Car segmented wheel cover
Photo by: Formula 1
So while the real cars of 2022 won’t be radically different from what we’ve seen so far, it’s in the details that teams can make a difference.
And in a sport where minimal earnings are the key to success, it’s these subtle differences that could prove key in the fight for glory next year.