Driving new automobiles could be very completely different

(Motorsport-Total.com) – “It’s not like day and night. We still go fast in circles. But we have to change.” This is how Mick Schumacher sums up what matters to Formula 1 drivers during their first test drive before the start of the 2022 season. Because the new Formula 1 cars require different handling than previous material.

Charles Leclerc in a Ferrari F1-75 during winter testing in Barcelona

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The shift to ground-impact vehicles with larger wheels and greater weight has made its mark. You feel tight on the brakes, says Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc. “The braking distance isn’t that different from the way you brake,” he explains. “That has changed.”

Because the higher weight compared to the previous year is noticeable when braking. And the jump was huge, from 752kg in the 2021 season to 795kg in the 2022 season. With gasoline for the entire race distance, the current Formula 1 car weighs around 905kg at the start of the race.

How much weight does the car add to drivers?

That doesn’t play much of a role in fast clips, says Leclerc. “It feels great there. However, in the slow lanes, you feel the weight of the car more than ever.” According to Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel, the car is “less nimble” at lower speeds than before.

Fernando Alonso in the Alps is one of the drivers who openly regrets this: “He’s never nice from a driver’s point of view. You always want to drive faster and have lighter cars.” Vettel agrees with Alonso: “The car is very heavy. This [hohe] Weight is the only downside.”


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Especially since the situation in winter Formula 1 testing, according to McLaren driver Lando Norris, is just a snapshot. The greater weight is reflected in the response of the vehicles. “It just feels sluggish,” Norris says. “But you’ll get used to it quickly, and then the habit will feel like normal.”

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It’s really “not that bad” for Leclerc. He is fascinated by the new technology in Formula 1 and says he is enjoying the driving experience. The reason: “You have a brand new car and you have to adapt your driving style, you can also try something.”

“The last few years you’ve always needed more or less the same driving style, and you didn’t have to change much. This year, it’s been much more interesting for us drivers.”


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But the big question is: Will it be easier to follow the new Formula 1 regulations, as intended or not? World Champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull says he caught the first trend: “It looks like it’s gotten better. At least you don’t lose a lot of downforce and you don’t suddenly get a lot of oversteering or oversteering.”

Verstappen softens expectations from new regulations

At the same time, Verstappen dampens expectations: “One must not assume that [die Dirty-Air] It’s now completely gone and you can hang another car in the diffuser. Because in Formula 1, we’re still going really fast. But it seems appropriate. Good cars.”

The bottom line is that test engines can only provide limited information about how the new generation of Formula 1 will behave in racing. Schumacher: “In the end you will feel it only in the first race, where he has already improved.”


Photo gallery: In pictures: 2022 Formula 1 cars on the racetrack

Until then, “play,” Vettel said. “Bottom line, I hope the field is closer. That’s the most important thing. Last year it wasn’t a lot of fun at times. I hope we’re better at music this year and we can make a difference.”

There are more than enough variations this year. Vettel stated that he is “amazed” at how special the vehicles will be in 2022. “I was expecting the cars to look more alike,” he says.

“But it’s good to see how everyone has their own philosophy when it comes to car design. It remains to be seen who is right. I hope everyone is right. It would be great if all the cars were close together.”

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