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New Rules, New Cars: F1 Looks to Next Year – The New York Times

Following one of the most intense championship battles in Formula 1’s history this year, ending on Sunday with Max Verstappen of Red Bull winning the drivers’ championship, the sport will enter a new era in 2022 in an attempt to further improve the show.

The cars will look strikingly different after a major rule change governing aerodynamics to help one car follow another more closely and aid overtaking.

“There has long been this suspicion the cars were not very friendly when they were racing each other,” Ross Brawn, Formula 1’s managing director motorsports, said in an interview.

“The performance of the following car was affected very badly by being in the wake of the car in front. It starts to lose performance the closer it gets, and that doesn’t aid good racing.”

When Brawn — a former technical director at Ferrari and team principal at Mercedes who won the drivers’ and constructors’ titles with his own team, Brawn GP, in 2009 — joined the Formula 1 Group in 2017, he set up a research group “to chase raceability.”

The takeover of Formula 1 by Liberty Media Corporation in 2017 ensured that there was a budget to tackle the issue.

“There’d been no resource committed to this area,” Brawn said. “The rules had been developed by the teams who had all the knowledge, the expertise and the funding.

“The regulations evolve through proposals and suggestions from the teams. They never made it a priority to make the cars friendly to race each other. Suddenly there was resource made available.”

The research group, working with the F.I.A., the sport’s governing body, set about trying to understand the reasons for the loss of aerodynamic performance and designing a car that would allow the drivers to race wheel to wheel on a more regular basis.

The group first constructed a computer model of one car following another to assess the problem. Once that was understood, models were built and tested in a wind tunnel.

The car, which was the creation of Formula 1’s interpretation of the rules, was unveiled at this year’s British Grand Prix. The 2022 cars will also have Pirelli’s new 18-inch tires after decades of the sport using 13-inch tires.

The 10 teams will then produce their own cars based on the Formula 1 design. They will take those cars to the track for the first time in preseason testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain from Feb. 23 to 25. The first race is in Bahrain on March 20.

“Our process won’t stop,” Brawn said. “Once we see the new cars race, we’ll see the solutions the teams have come up with, and we’ll evaluate them and make sure we’re not losing the momentum on this initiative …….

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/15/sports/autoracing/formula-1-next-season.html

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