F1 2022 cars may struggle to follow at high speeds, says Tost

Formula 1’s 2022 cars may still not be able to follow each other close enough in high-speed corners, reckons AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost.

AlphaTauri AT03

The FIA has introduced all-new regulations for this season in a bid to help cars race each other better. The cars have shifted away from generating much of their downforce from wings, and are instead more towards a ground effect concept.

But while F1 chiefs are hopeful that the changes will improve things a lot, Tost is doubtful that the problems of car wake upsetting following cars will be eradicated completely. In particular, he thinks that at high-speed turns drivers may still struggle to stay close to the cars ahead.

“I think in the slow-speed and the mid-speed corners, the cars will be closer together,” he said after the reveal of his team's 2022 AT03.

“I have some doubts for the high-speed ones because, with these wide cars and the big tyres, there’s always some dirty air behind them. Therefore, I’m not sure that it will be so easy to follow. Let’s wait and see after the first test.”

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As well as the new rules being aimed at improving the racing, it is hoped that a tighter cost cap, plus more balanced aero restrictions to help smaller outfits, can help close up the grid - although Tost predicted that the cost cap's true impact would only be felt in 2023.

AlphaTauri technical director Jody Egginton is hopeful that there will be less of a spread across the grid in 2022, although is mindful that an all-new rules set means one squad could have found a good performance advantage.

“Although everything is quite restricted by the regulations, it’s possible that one team has found a very special solution and will therefore have a performance advantage,” he said.

“It’s not easy to estimate where the teams will be, because everything is new, from the mechanical to the aerodynamic side, but I personally hope that the cars will be closer together.

“Realistically, we will only have an idea of how well Scuderia AlphaTauri will perform after the first tests, and we’ll have to wait until after the first two or three races to have a better picture.”

AlphaTauri AT03

AlphaTauri AT03

Photo by: AlphaTauri

Egginton also suggests that the early phases of the season could lead to a lot of design convergence, as teams starting copying the best solutions that others have implemented.

“With the change to the aero regulations being extensive, there is clearly a lot of scope to experiment with new ideas and new aero concepts,” he explained.

“But at the same time the new regulations also provide an increased risk of going down the wrong development path.

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“I am quite sure there is plenty of scope for teams to come up with innovative aero solutions. But, at the same time, I expect that the hidden details of aero development will be a significant contributor to what teams are able to achieve from the aero regulations.

“I’m pretty confident people are going to turn up at the first test with an interesting range of interpretations of the regulations and this will provoke discussion and investigation of possible development directions for all the teams’ in-season development plans.”

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