Teams’ developments won’t undermine push for better racing in 2022 – Key | 2022 F1 season
McLaren technical director James Key is confident F1 teams’ development programmes will not undermine the series’ goal of producing closer racing next year.
A radical overhaul of Formula 1’s technical regulations will come into force for the 2022 season. The extensive changes to cars’ aerodynamics are being made in a bid to greatly increase drivers’ abilities to follow rivals closely during races.
While admitting that F1 teams will likely find solutions to improve car performance that could compromise the purpose of the new regulations, Key believes any such impact should be minimal.
“It’s early days because there’s still a lot of research to be done on a ’22 car and how it works but certainly there’s a lot of effort that’s been put into the regulations to keep them true to their objective,” Key said in response to a question from RaceFans.
“When there were potential loopholes or areas of sensitivity which could work against the ability to follow closer than we do now then they were discussed and typically closed down or modified in some way.
“I think where we are now, probably if you released cars mid-2021, then you get something pretty close. Beginning of the year, I think they’ll still be certainly a lot easier to race than current cars, as teams begin to exploit the finer details of them. So that would drift a little bit, I suspect.
“But then ’23 will be a year where some adjustments can be made to try and offset anything which works against the principles of closer racing.”
Key said it’s “too early to really understand” the full implications of the change but he’s confident teams’ developments won’t undermine F1’s goals. “I think the regs are rigid enough to try and enforce the principles behind the cars pretty well.”
The new 2022 technical package is the result of a multi-year project between Formula 1 and the FIA, including the involvement of FOM’s managing director of motorsport, Ross Brawn and chief technical officer Pat Symonds. Key says the process through which the regulations have evolved has been an effective one.
“I think it’s been a great project that Pat and the guys have done,” says Key. “It’s absolutely the right way to develop new regulations by going to the heart of the matter, particularly these aerodynamically-led regulations, which predominantly these are.
“Obviously we’ve got tyres and other things as well, but predominantly it’s trying to get these aero characteristics into shape so we can improve racing. So it’s a fantastic project to be able to do because you do have all the freedoms. You’re not constrained by the constraints that teams have to work within.
“But the objective is to develop regulations while F1 teams might say is to make whatever you’re facing go as quick as possible. So we will find, you know, routes through this, which maybe haven’t been considered during that period simply because our objectives are different.
“What I think has been positive is the fact there has been a lot of interaction over a long period of time now on how these regulations have been developed and teams have been proactive and inputting into that as well. So I think, yes, there are constraints, but the objectives kind of outweigh what F1 have done versus what a team would do.”
2022 F1 season
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July 22, 2021 at 01:18PM