TECH DRAFT: MY 2022 F1 HOPE

TECH DRAFT: MY F1 2022 HOPE

The first Tech Draft in 2022, looks at the changes Formula 1 will undergo with the new aero rules and why we might finally celebrate a season to remember.

Greetings fellow GP247’ers. Indeed, it has been quite a while since I contributed, but in the words of my countryman Daniel Ricciardo: “I never left”.

Instead, my beloved wife has recently been through a medical ordeal, and my time was better spent next to her as she went through the healing process. Luckily for us, she’s out of the woods, and life can now proceed as though nothing ever happened.

On to the business of F1

Now, before I move on to what I really want to focus on, I have a point that I wish to make as a belated Tech Draft’s closure for the year that was.

Whilst the 2021 F1 season for me was one that had the potential to be one of the greatest, it was precipitated as a seemingly contrived result, and needs root cause analyses by an independent body with a commitment and resolution from the FIA and Liberty to the corrective actions that would be the by-products.

However, it should not be a singular process in reactive isolation, but a precedent step in a new continuous improvement process for the quite convoluted and at time archaic regulative framework under which F1 is administered.

A very smart and successful person once told me something that many have read and heard before: “Don’t blame the person, blame the system.”

Now that I have that off my chest, let’s wipe the slate clean and move on to 2022. Or can we? Let me justify my cynicism here.

Often in F1, a quantum technical shift in regulations has resulted in an arbitrary team taking a significant advantage. Many would believe this happens due to technical excellence, or even luck. I believe the reality is that it is due to good planning and resource.

An even more exciting 2022 F1 season on the cards

The 2022 F1 beast is one that was essentially conceived more than 2 years ago and in an environment with a very defined, and indeed declining, resource framework. With a financial cost cap in 2021 which is even less in 2022, wind tunnel and CFD penalties derived from the level of success that a said team achieved in 2021, the resources available for that team to design and manufacture revision 1 of their 2022 design has been more restricted, and their ability to research and develop as the season progresses even more so.

Add to this the most technically restrictive rule-set in history – one less sensitive to the nasties of the turbulent wake evils of modern times – and to me it is quite possible that the performance of the new F1 is tied up in a rigid tight little box if you will, one where grids are spread by less time, and the competitive diversity broadened to the extent that we can celebrate, finally and in reality, a season to remember for all the right reasons.

I do believe in the cost cap, the development penalties, the change in wheel/tyre size, the brake material limits during a race weekend and the new aerodynamic regime; however I don’t believe in the abolition of the J-damper, or the sporting framework.

And most importantly, I don’t believe in the definition of what the powers that be refer to as Sustainable Racing.

I absolutely agree that a very important component of sustainability is the way which F1 relates to fuels and their environmental impact, but I feel as though sustainability should be broader and inclusive of the instantaneous performance of an F1 car during a Grand Prix weekend. Time differentials of up to 8 seconds per lap between a qualifying and a race time are solid evidence towards the concept of contriving a race result as I mentioned earlier, along with DRS.

F1 at a juncture, I am not sure it even realizes that

Whilst its founders, administrators, and owners might feel that they have found the pot of gold revenue jackpot because of the conclusion of 2021, it is quite possible that they have lost sight of the fact that the true Yellow Brick Road leads all the way back to that on which F1 was founded on, over 70 years ago; and that is: Sport.

For F1 to become truly sustainable, it must remind itself and stay true to the concepts of what sport is, a competition to become the best in a fair and unbiased environment.

Regardless of the statistics relating to the 2021 season and its finale, F1 right now is not that, and it is not sustainable at all.

My greatest hope for 2022 is for change.