F1 teams running overweight in 2022

The AlphaTauri AT03

Formula 1 teams have struggled to design their cars on minimum weight for the 2022 season despite that figure rising for the coming campaign.

The minimum weight for an F1 car, as revealed by Speedcafe.com last April, has risen from 752kg last year to 790kg.

Despite the hefty 38kg increase, it’s believed most teams have still produced cars some way above that figure.

“The changes to the safety related regulations… in order to meet, to pass these tests we’re having to add mass and structure to the chassis,” explained AlphaTauri’s technical director, Jody Egginton.

“On top of that geometrically, the regulations have changed with regard to the minimum sizes of some elements of the chassis, so the cockpit volumes, etcetera, etcetera, so the thing’s physically larger in some respects.

“Put those two things together, and you’re adding mass to the structure.”

However, design considerations to ensure the car meets requirements in terms of driver comfort and safety do not explain the significant increase in weight.

Other factors such as the larger wheels and tyres also contribute, which also require larger brake ducts. It all adds up.

There’s also shrouding around suspension arms too which serves both to improve the airflow but also add weight.

“It’s this dreaded creep,” Egginton said.

“None of it’s a surprise – it’s incredibly hard to do an underweight car. I can’t underestimate that fact, it’s very difficult.

“And with a new set of regulations, you’re forced to learn some new tricks and understand the regulations and see where you can optimise weight.

“But year one, you want to get your car out, you want to get through homologation, you want to start learning.

“What you don’t want, when you’ve got six days of testing, is bits dropping off it.

“So you’re balancing this risk and reward – how lightweight can we make it [versus] how long are the bits going to last?

“This floor is very different, it’s contacting the racetrack a lot more than the old regulations,” he added.

“The last thing you want is to be leaving large pieces of floor on the track because you’ve done that.

“So I think a lot of teams, we’ve certainly kept that in mind.

“And then on top of that, it’s budget cap. You’ve got to be spending your money wisely.

“So it’s a balancing act. It’s challenging. It’s tight. It’s a focus, weight management, on our side, but it’s not really a surprise to me [that cars are overweight].”

Formula 1 teams last week completed the first of two planned three-day tests.

Ferrari showed strongly, logging more miles than any other team, and doing so without interruption.

At the other end of the spectrum were Haas and Alfa Romeo Sauber, which suffered lengthy delays.

Teams will next head to Bahrain for the second pre-season test from March 10-12, remaining there for the opening round of the season just over a week later.

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