vettel aston martin bahrain f1 test

Vettel: Better to jump on city bus rather than the simulator

vettel aston martin bahrain f1 test

Sebastian Vettel joked that driving a city tour bus would prepare drivers better than any simulator for the challenge of wrestling their heavier 2022 Formula 1 cars around tight and twisting layouts such as Monaco.

This F1 season’s cars have been designed for the most radical rules overhaul in decades, aimed at allowing drivers to follow each other closely in a bid to improve the racing spectacle.

But with a larger proportion of downforce now generated from their undersides, the changes have resulted in cars that, while quick through high-speed corners, struggle into tighter turns.

Required to weigh at least 795 kg with the driver in the cockpit, a limit that is set to increase to 798 kg before the start of the season, they are bulky, which makes them even more awkward to navigate through sharp, slow turns.

The F1 cars are also longer than they have ever been, which should make the tight streets of Monaco a challenging proposition; some fear the Grand Hotel hairpin might resemble a parking lot, while Rascasse on lap one might be very interesting according to pundits.

“Maybe it’s better to jump on the city bus rather than the simulator before the race to get the preparation done,” Aston Martin’s four-time world champion Vettel told reporters during Saturday’s final day of pre-season testing in Bahrain.

“The cars now are different. The first thing that stands out is the weight, the cars are a lot heavier, it’s just more inertia, more mass, and it makes the cars a bit ‘lazier’ to drive so, therefore, the driving has to adapt,” explained Vettel.

The 2022 F1 cars are also stiffly sprung and fitted with larger 18-inch wheels with thinner sidewalls

Notably, they are not as good at smoothing out bumps as their 13-inch predecessors. As a result, and because of their revised aerodynamics, the cars were seen to be “porpoising” or bouncing excessively as they generated and then lost downforce at speed on the straights.

Teams have dialled this phenomenon out to a large degree but the cars at the end of pre-season testing were still giving drivers a bumpy ride.

“I’m pretty sure I can expect to have a sore back after Sunday’s race,” said Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“On a full day of testing, you might need to take a bit of paracetamol in the afternoon…” joked Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.

Vettel said if the cars delivered on their promise to improve the racing spectacle, it would all be worth it: “That will make up for the cars being a bit unpleasant when it comes to stiffness levels or the tyres maybe falling off or the cars generally being very, very heavy.”

As for the final test, the four-time F1 World Champion reported: “We ran through our programme and completed a lot of laps this afternoon, which capped a positive three days of testing in Bahrain.

“Lap times are largely irrelevant, so our focus has been on increasing our understanding of the AMR22. I am happy with the progress we have made, and we know it is going to be a long season of constantly trying to find further improvements.

“Everyone is coming across similar challenges and that’s part of the game. I think reading into lap-times is even more difficult this year but, behind the usual leading teams, it is a tight pack, so I expect fierce competition.

“Nobody really knows where they stand yet, and this coming week will be important in making sure we hit the ground running in Bahrain,” added Vettel. (Reporting by Abhishek Takle; Additional Reporting by GP247)