Tech Draft: Ranking F1 constructors after Round 2 of 2022

Tech Draft: Ranking F1 Teams after Round 2 of 2022 season

Tech Draft: Ranking F1 constructors after Round 2 of 2022

Formula 1 has a new pecking order after the introduction of the new regulations, and Tech Draft ranks the ten Constructors after round two of the 2022 season,

Periodically throughout Formula 1 history, there have been periods of time where significant design change has been required. At times the change has been mandatory due to technical regulative change such as that we are witnessing now at the start of the 2022 season, and other times it has simply been due to the need to keep up with the competition as they innovated.

Quite often these periods of change have brought about a shift in competitive ascendency as some teams adapt to the change with immediate effect, and some not quite so well.

To date in 2022, F1 teams have progressed through the two phases of pre-season testing, and the first two Grands Prix of the Championship, and so I thought this point in time might be an interesting time to rank and review the Constructors in a preliminary manner.

Rank 1: Scuderia Ferrari – F1-75

Sublime lines and a unique bulkier sidepod concept aren’t all that is good about the F1-75. It is fast. Although the Scuderia haven’t necessarily been able to rid itself of the scourge of the ground effect bounce the most effectively on the grid, it appears as though they have been able to subdue it somewhat, without needing to compromise outright downforce by raising ride height, and consequently being able to also minimalize wing settings.

Ferrari have clearly demonstrated that they are the most effective at mastering generating and maintaining the temperature of the new 18” tyre carcass as well, seemingly giving them an advantage in qualifying, and strategic flexibility in the races.

The brand new for 2022 Ferrari 066/7 power unit is a completely new design in which only the ERS and battery have been carried over from 2021, and it looks to be the 2022 class leader.

Rank 2: Oracle Red Bull Racing– RB18

Surprisingly, Red Bull seem to be the only team who have mastered the full mitigation of the dreaded “porpoising” behaviour that has been the dominant technical challenge in 2022 so far for all teams, although at times even the RB18 can be seen to be bouncing ever so slightly.

Most technical pundits who have had the opportunity to witness on-track running this season so far seem to agree that the RB18 looks the most stable in corner entry and mid carry, and speed trap and GPS data convincingly points to the Red Bull being the quickest in a straight line.

The RB18 isn’t perfect though, and the team openly admit to having difficulty in generating tyre carcass temperature, possibly compromising one-lap pace in qualifying.

Contrary to the power unit reliability rumours post Bahrain, Red Bull’s only reliability issue to date has been what was actually the common issue experienced by both RB18’s at that race which was due to fuel bladder vapour lock venting, and appears to have been resolved.

Rank 3: Haas F1 Team – VF-22

A third rank for the team that is clearly performing in an outstanding manner after the last two terrible seasons they endured, and a 2021 without having scored any points at all. At the moment the VF-22 looks to be a stable platform that not only looks after its tyres but is responding in a predictable manner to the changes that the Haas engineers might apply to it.

With a greater allotment of development resource available for the next six months to it due to its low 2021 finishing position and the new 2022 resource handicapping system, and a brand new Ferrari power unit that is performing well, 2022 is looking good for Haas.

Rank 4: Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN – C42

Like their Ferrari-power sibling team Haas, Alfa Romeo have been one of the early season surprises for 2022.  The team was one of the earliest to start making inroads in finding a solution to “porpoising” and hasn’t really looked back.

Whilst not necessarily being a standout in any specific technical area, the C42 seems to be consistent across the board, and blessed enough to be carrying the new Ferrari power unit in the rear.

Another team to watch as the season progresses due to the resources available to it to develop further.

Rank 5: Scuderia AlphaTauri – AT03

There was much anticipation and even expectation that 2022 was going to be AlphaTauri’s opportunity to shine, but with the seasons highlight so far being Yuki Tsunoda finishing 8th in Bahrain, it hasn’t turned out that way.

The AT03 has been beset with power train issues, however these issues have generally been attributed to the associated AlphaTauri’s proprietary hydraulics, rather than the Red Bull Powertrain (nee Honda) systems.

The AT03 has been carrying noticeably more wing than its sister team’s RB18, which points to ground effect platform related behavioural issues.

Rank 6: BWT Alpine F1 Team – A522

Alpine seem to have mitigated high speed bounce reasonably effectively, although their solution certainly seems to involve compromise of downforce to some degree with ride height changes, and this seems to be reflected in their inability to carry as much mid-corner speed in higher speed corners in comparison to the faster opposition.

However, there is little doubt that the completely new designed Renault E-Tech RE22 power unit is not wanting in any way at the moment.

Rank 7:  McLaren F1 Team – MCL36

After what appeared to be a promising start in the first pre-season test at Barcelona, McLaren seemingly regressed at the next test at Bahrain, and haven’t really seemed to recover.

Like most teams, high speed bounce seems to be an issue for them

Rank 8: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team – F1 W13

A tough pre-season set the tone for what were for them very mediocre results in Bahrain and Jeddah, and unfortunately there is no doubt that Mercedes is in deep trouble.

The W13 appears to be suffering from “porpoising” the most in comparison to any other car on the grid. Their mid-corner low-speed carry appears diabolical even though they are compensating for their ground effect deficiencies with much draggier rear wings, and the GPS data is clearly indicating that their already frozen 2022 power unit is wanting.

I have read and heard on numerous occasions that the W13 has so much ‘obvious’ potential to unlock, but I just can’t see it and it has me wondering what it is that I’m missing!

Rank 9: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team – AMR22

Aston Martin surprised many when their 2022 F1 car, the AMR22, was unveiled with what looked like a bulky aerodynamic concept.

They struggled with “porpoising” from day one of pre-season testing, and with what has been identified as a chassis with a very small setup window, they haven’t been able to get themselves in it at all.

Another team that has had no option but to compensate bouncing solutions with more than desirable draggy wing settings.

Rank 10: Williams Racing – FW44

Williams surprised many when the FW44 was revealed with an aerodynamic approach that was far from conservative.

Their very minimalistic sidepod approach seemed full of promise, but early pre-season testing presented significant “porpoising” and rearwards floor edge flexing that has required robust bracing.

Williams had to raise their ride height to battle the bouncing and compensate downforce with draggier wing settings to compensate.

Considering the resource advantages afforded Williams by the regulations, their start to the year in comparison to their 2021 lower grid competitors is disappointing.