The primary indicators of Formulation 1 automotive pace in 2022

( – The first day of testing in Barcelona has already given an impression to Formula 1 fans of what they can expect from the new era. The central question was: How fast are the new Formula 1 cars compared to last year?

How fast is the new generation of Formula 1 cars?


Before the tests, it was said that the cars could get closer to the 2021 cars, although it was initially said that the cars would be significantly slower due to lower downforce.

The first impression from the test is that the teams may not have recovered the compressive strength they had expected. Lando Norris’ best lap lap was 1m19.568s, which was still far behind the results of previous tests in Barcelona, ​​which is a good indicator of the car’s overall performance.

In the last test in Barcelona 2020, Lewis Hamilton finished the first day with a time of 1:16,976 minutes as the fastest. A day later, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas followed suit with a time of 1:15.732 minutes. Hamilton took first that year with a time of 1:15.584 minutes, which was a bit faster.

The comparison with last year is more difficult as there were no winter tests in Barcelona. However, the new Curve 10, which was not there in 2020, was already driven there.

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However, the 2022 cars seem like a step backwards if you want to get a loose idea of ​​performance from testing. Hamilton’s start last year was 1min 16.741secs, nearly three seconds faster than Norris’ best time.

Compared to 2021

Of course the teams are clearly far from working in the new car frontier. They certainly aren’t driving on low fuel yet, and initially it’s about checking the system and car balance – less about lap times. However, the question is: What is possible?

Let’s take a closer look at Norris’ lap. In the 2021 Grand Prix grid, the McLaren driver was 20th, directly ahead of Nikita Maspin M Haas, whose time was 1:19.807.

Comparing the individual sectors, it can be seen that Norris wasted his time against Haas in Sector 1, but got stuck again in Sectors 2 and 3.

Lando Norris
Sector 1: 22.385 seconds
Sector 2: 29,740
Sector 3: 27443

Nikita Mazepin
Sector 1: 22.232
Sector 2: 30.036
Sector 3: 27,539

There doesn’t seem to be a dramatic cornering depending on whether the car is in fast or slow sections. This is in line with Lance Stroll’s statements that the new cars are not in a world apart from their predecessors: “They are very different in many ways, but they are similar.”

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If you look at top speeds, you won’t find Norris above any. In addition to the characteristics of the car, this can also be due to the engine modes.

Max speed during testing
Peak measurement: 314 km/h
Finish line: 280
Sector 1: 281
Sector 2: 301.2

Nikita Mazepin
Peak gauge: 324
Finish line: 286
Sector 1: 289
Sector 2: 300

It will be interesting to see how much the pace increases in the coming days. Because at some point, teams also want to get a rough indication of what the speed looks like with less fuel.

That should give us concrete first answers about how accurate the theories are about new cars going fast on straights, worse in slow corners and strong in fast turns.

strong reliability

What was particularly surprising on day one was how reliable the new cars were. The cars proved to be very resilient and didn’t raise any red flags.

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Max Verstappen pulled off an impressive 147 laps, and thus mileage almost the same as last year with almost the same car as in 2020. What was interesting: Red Bull was not surprised by the high mileage, but in fact wanted to drive more.

“We set ourselves an optimistic target of 700km and were able to get three laps less than that,” says race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin.

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