How 2022's Formula 1 tech arms race could impact 2021

Formula 1's tech arms race will intensify on 1 January as teams can commence CFD and windtunnel work on their designs for the all-new 2022 regulations

How 2022's Formula 1 tech arms race could impact 2021

Working on aero for the new era, which was postponed from 2021 due to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been prohibited until now although teams have had sight of the regulations to plan ahead.

Simulation work was restricted by the FIA to ensure teams with more resources weren't able to steal a march and further widen the disparity over those squads operating on tighter budgets.

The 2021 season also marks the start of F1's new sliding scale system for aero development, with simulation time available to teams governed by championship position.

As the 2020 manufacturer's champions, Mercedes will only be able to use 90% of the 100% reference - equivalent to 80 hours of windtunnel time, with 320 runs and tunnel occupancy at 400 hours.

For each position lower, the percentage increases by an increment of 2.5%, with Williams able to use 112.5% for finishing tenth in 2020.

This means Mercedes will have 72 hours, 288 runs and 360 hours of occupancy, whilst Williams will have 90 hours, 360 runs and 450 occupancy hours.

PLUS: How Mercedes ambition produced the fastest F1 car ever

The tilting scale grows to an even more significant number from 2022 onwards, with the lead constructor allowed just 70% of the agreed windtunnel time, while increments between each constructor double to 5%.

In the knowledge that it will be impacted more heavily than its competitors by the impending changes, Mercedes has spent a large portion of this season concentrating its efforts on 2021 with a view to also starting work early on its 2022 car.

The development of its record-breaking W11 receded after introducing a new front wing with a different flap configuration at the Tuscan Grand Prix in September, with Toto Wolff explaining at the Eifel Grand Prix that development had ceased "a long time ago".

In that same period, Red Bull and Ferrari made a raft of changes to their cars aimed at reducing their deficit to Mercedes, culminating in Max Verstappen's victory in Abu Dhabi.

Both teams also trialled components that will feature on their cars in 2021.

PLUS: The developments that hint at 2021's F1 designs

Ferrari's changes included a rear wing endplate design similar to that seen on the W11 and altered positioning of the plough on its nose, impacting flow through the inlets it creates beside the nose tip.

The Scuderia also added a series of arched flaps on top of the turning vane's footplates, made changes to the bargeboard and sidepod deflectors and trimmed its front wing upper flap.

Meanwhile Red Bull introduced a new rear upright featuring a triangular opening that allows air to flow through.

PLUS: How F1's teams developed their cars over 2020

A small winglet was added on the outside of the halo's frame to adjust flow down over the sidepod and engine cover, while multiple changes were made to the RB16's front wing, with a single pillar rear wing appearing in Abu Dhabi.

Its wastegate pipework was also reconfigured to a more conventional location in conjunction with changes to the centre of the diffuser.

shares
comments
Lewis Hamilton awarded knighthood in New Year Honours list
Previous article

Lewis Hamilton awarded knighthood in New Year Honours list

Next article

Vettel: Mick Schumacher needs to "find his own path" in F1

Vettel: Mick Schumacher needs to "find his own path" in F1
Why Mercedes believes it can make the step F1 needs to fight Red Bull Plus

Why Mercedes believes it can make the step F1 needs to fight Red Bull

The 2022 Formula 1 season was Mercedes' leanest for a decade, achieving just a solitary pole and grand prix win. Yet the team is confident it has got the tools it needs to cast that disappointment aside and return to the front of the field again next year

How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history Plus

How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history

It’s 60 years since BRM achieved its goal and Graham Hill led the team to a world title double. But that was just part of the remarkable story of a unique team that at times overstretched its resources and had its fair share of disappointments

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2022
The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever Plus

The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever

OPINION: The effectiveness of DRS in Formula 1 remains a topic of debate as the winter break gives a chance for reflection on the racing we saw in 2022. For all of its detractors, perhaps an experiment where DRS is cast aside and the impact this has on racing is in order to truly understand its merits in modern F1

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2022
The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Plus

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

Formula 1
Dec 7, 2022
How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Plus

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start Plus

The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start

While it launched the F1 career 
of a future world champion, STUART CODLING recalls that the BT60 was also the final nail in the coffin of a once-great marque 30 years ago. Here is its story

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2022
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Plus

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Autosport in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022