Sainz: "Quite different" feeling of 2022 F1 cars an open secret among drivers

Carlos Sainz Jr says it is an open secret among Formula 1 drivers that the 2022 cars are behaving ‘quite different’ in simulators compared to the current models.

The 2022 Formula 1 car launch event on the Silverstone grid. Nicholas Latifi, Williams, George Russell, Williams, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Mick Schumacher, Haas F1, Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Nikita Mazepin, Haas F1 and Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri

F1 teams are still working on the designs of cars built to next year’s all-new regulations, but have already put models in to their simulators.

McLaren ace Lando Norris prompted some intrigue recently when he suggested that the 2022 version he had initially run was ‘not as nice’ to drive as current machinery.

Ferrari driver Sainz has had a lot of running in the 2022 car at his team’s Maranello simulator, and he says that Norris’ perception of next year’s feel was not unique.

Asked by Autosport if he shared Norris’ views on the 2022 car, he said: “This is the million dollar question that there is around the paddock.

“We know how our car feels, and between drivers we are like, ‘how does yours feel?’

“I think there starts to be a tendency in the paddock, and the drivers, that we are all going in the direction of: ‘wow, this is quite different and quite far from where we are, and from how the car feels now.”

The 2022 cars take away much of the current reliance on downforce generated by aerodynamic flow over the car – and instead they rely much more on ground effect.

That means that how the car handles, especially in corners, will have a very different feel inside the cockpit.

Sainz added: “It is going to be a big change, and maybe we are, between each other, kind of starting to accept that this is going to be quite a change.

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari with  2022 18-inch Pirelli Zero

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari with 2022 18-inch Pirelli Zero

Photo by: Pirelli

“And the rumour around the paddock is really starting to go quite in that direction: without having to tell you anything basically [about the car], because I cannot talk about it.”

Sainz says that he has been working on the 2022 simulation models since the start of this year, and is clear that Ferrari is throwing everything at the project.

“I've been driving it since January or February and I've been on top of that car a few times this year,” he explained. “The last session was last week.

“Also after every Pirelli test that we've done this year with the tyres, we've tried to go back and check the tyre model, and tried to put it on the car.

“There's a lot of work being done on this 2022 project, the whole factory is working as much as they can. It is flat out and we see it at Ferrari as a good opportunity.

“Will we be able to win or not? This is a different question. But the will and hours and intention for sure is not lacking.

“And obviously from the driver side neither, because I've been on top of that car in the sim a few times already.”

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