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The history book lessons behind F1’s new 2022 ideas

Formula 1’s regulations might be heralded as creating an all-new car design for 2022, but that has not stopped teams rolling out some proven ideas from the history books.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

It is not really a surprise though, because teams do not forget the concepts that worked in the past and that may be relevant for the revamped rules package.

Here, we take a look at the key areas of the 2022 cars where some old ideas have been given a modern touch.

At the front of the car, there has been an emergence of two trends, given that the height of the nose tip and its overall design is much more constrained this year.

As a consequence, teams have set about either raising the central portion of the wing, or having it droop down with a higher outboard section.

Both designs have their pros and cons as they set up the airflow’s passage under the nose and then downstream for the rest of the aerodynamic surfaces.

Teams have ventured down similar paths in the past in pursuit of performance and depending on what suits the prevailing regulations.

If 2022's designs can be compared to relevant old solutions, then the Tyrrell 019 suffices as a starting point - having been the original high nose solution.

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While it’s not completely comparable with what's on the grid this season, it set the tone for what followed for decades, as everyone realised the importance of lifting the nose to get more airflow down the car’s centreline.

Underbody geometry of the Tyrrell 019

Underbody geometry of the Tyrrell 019

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

There’s few cars in F1’s history that can be considered more elegant than the Jordan 191, though, a car which also featured a slightly raised nose tip and a front wing that swooped up to meet it.

It’s interesting then that even though the current cars are separated by 31 years and numerous design eras, there is a clear family lineage that harks back to the Jordan.

Aston Martin, for example, has chosen the high nose tip and centrally raised front wing for the AMR22, with the designers looking to drive airflow to the car’s underfloor given the increased potential it could yield.

Meanwhile, the solution on the other end of the spectrum is something seen down the years too, with a lower central portion and higher outboard section.

This was a design largely dictated by the prevailing regulations, but obviously each team sought a different design to suit their own design parameters.

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR22

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR22

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Another area where older design concepts are resurfacing lies in the sidepods. It’s also an area of the car that has created a huge amount of variety up and down the grid, as teams approach the layout with their own interpretation of what is best.

The design must not only cater for the internal packaging of the radiators, intercoolers, oil coolers and electronics housed within, it must also consider the aerodynamic consequences they’ll have when crafting the external surfaces too.

The Aston Martin AMR22 was the first real challenger to emerge and brought to mind two different designs from the past.

The high-waisted sidepod, hung well above the floor, is reminiscent of the ‘double floor’ concept that Toro Rosso tried in 2011, and which surely took inspiration from Ferrari’s F92A from 1992.

Toro Rosso STR6 sidepods

Toro Rosso STR6 sidepods

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Both cars in the Red Bull stable also feature a distinctive ramp section at the rear, which slopes down to the floor to feed airflow into the coke bottle region.

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This bears a resemblance to other designs seen in the recent past too, with Red Bull having sported ramped bodywork in 2013, just as Sauber had in 2012 with its solution on the C31.

A slightly more modern take of that solution could be seen on the Racing Point RP20, which was updated at Mugello with a B-spec package which featured new sidepod bodywork.

The RP20’s updated sidepod package had a sloped rear surface, albeit much shorter, which met with the floor surface much sooner.

The introduction of a more ‘vanilla’ set of technical regulations in 2009 resulted in F1 abandoning the use of the elaborate cooling gills that had been deployed during the previous era, with solutions like the ones seen on the Renault R25 no longer viable.

Renault R25 cooling louvres

Renault R25 cooling louvres

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

However, the 2022 regulations permit them once more and offer the teams a genuine avenue of development. Furthermore, they now have more choices when it comes to offsetting their cooling requirements against the aerodynamic output of the car.

The floor is obviously going to be an area of intense focus over the next few years, with teams looking for the best way to exploit the new regulations and improve performance.

And despite the raft of changes to the regulations, the W13 emerged with a solution that's similar to one seen before – and it’s a solution that both Mercedes and Aston Martin used in 2021.

The rippled floor edge design was slightly different in its original form on the W12, as the floor had an upturned scroll on its edge that had the waves cut into it. On top of this, the team had another slat which helped draw the airflow out.

This was updated as part of the large upgrade package installed at the British Grand Prix, with the team removing all but the forwardmost wave from the upturned floor scroll.

The team clearly still believe the feature offers a performance benefit though, even if it is in a slightly different guise.

Mercedes W13

Mercedes W13

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

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