Teams may get new F1 car designs ‘really badly wrong’, says Allison

Mercedes chief technical officer James Allison suspects one or two teams will get their new 2022 Formula 1 cars "really badly wrong" amid the jeopardy of the all-new rules set.

F1 teams are currently putting the finishing touches to their 2022 car designs ahead of the first pre-season test that will take place at Barcelona in Spain from 23-25 February.

The new designs are a complete overhaul of the regulations, with the ground effect challengers aimed at making the racing better and closing up the grid.

But while it is too early to make any predictions about the pecking order, Allison believes the scale of the rules overhaul makes it inevitable that not everyone will get their new designs right.

PLUS: Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

And he suggests that some outfits could face a difficult year by getting their interpretation of the new rules wrong.

Speaking in a Mercedes video that previews the 2022 rules, Allison said: “Everyone in our team, and everyone in every other team, will have done our level best to try to find a design and an approach that will be a happy match to this new regulation set.

“And we'll all get to find out together at the start of this season, in the races that unfold from there, exactly how that shakes out.

“I would imagine, given that the cars are so new and so different, that one or two cars on the grid will have got it really badly wrong. And they will have a terribly painful year.

“I would imagine that all of us to some degree will have left things on the table that we just didn't anticipate. And we will look at other cars and think, ‘oh, why didn't we think of that?’

“Then we'll be scrambling around to try to get that idea onto our car as fast as possible, so that we can claw our way, from whatever position we land in that first race, forwards. Or, if we're lucky enough to be in front, to keep the attacking wolves behind us.

“It's going to be quite a rush and definitely something that's going to keep us all from having too much sleep for the whole of the season.”


Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

While Mercedes has the most to lose by the change of rules, having won the constructors’ championship every year since 2014, Allison says the German manufacturer is actually excited by the challenge that has been posed.

“When the regulations change in such large measure as these ones, then we approach that with all the fun and relish that that challenge deserves,” he said.

“Our job is to look for technical opportunity and regulations, and then use our combined wit and skill and all the effort that we make collectively, to try to find a configuration of car that will be better than anyone else's approach to it.

“When everything is as new as this, then everywhere you look in that regulation set, [which is] twice as thick as the old one, there's opportunity.

“There's opportunity. And of course, there's jeopardy, and we try to pick our way through the potential minefield and pick up all the little boxes of treasure that may be set in amongst the landmines, to end up with a car that we hope will see us pitching at the front of the grid.”

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