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Resta explains the challenge presented by the VF-22

NEWS STORY
06/02/2022

Simone Resta, who was seconded to head Haas' technical operation by Ferrari, just over a year after returning to Maranello from Alfa Romeo, talks about the American outfit's new car.

"There were two main project challenges with this car," he explains. "The new requirements of the chassis construction were one. With FIA Regulations, the 2022 monocoque has been heavily modified for safety reasons. The strength requirements are a lot tougher with some areas being more than 150 percent stronger. This required a significant amount of reinforcement with respect to 2021, with a relevant impact on weight. Conversely, the weight of the car is a challenge by other factors as well.

"In terms of creating a new car, it's probably the most complex project in the last 20 years," he admits. "I've been really participating in a lot of launches in different positions, and I must confess, I can't remember such a big change in the last 20 or so years.

"So it's really a big one. There's a lot of expectation, a lot of uncertainty about what the others will do. We've been working on this so hard, for so long that all of us are really all uncertain about what to expect in the winter test.

"It has also been a challenge at times when creating such a radically different car when internally we're also creating new processes and structures as the team has been created. It's hard to appreciate starting with an entirely new department and being tasked to lead such a project.

"Although it has been a challenge, I can't stress enough how proud I am of the team we have built over the past year," he continues. "With new team members, many from Ferrari, and working very closely with Dallara, we've now got a fully-fledged design office in Maranello.

"If we look back a year ago to where we are now, I think there has been a dramatic step forward and if we could take the staff we have now and go back to this time last year, it would've been fantastic to start the project with them.

"It's important to highlight that we are still in the early stages of our development and transition, we will still grow a lot this year and finesse areas and skillsets. I expect that we'll see the best deployment from this team in one year after developing the car and in general just more time working with each other."

While the images released today are renderings, Haas has told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that though the renderings represent an early development stage it is not simply a "reimagined" version of the original F1/FIA images. The American team, whilst not revealing what stage of development the images represent, admit that the car will look marginally different come pre-season testing, though few changes are expected before the season opener.

Asked the age-old question of evolution and revolution, he relies: "The biggest change is the aerodynamics, and from that perspective it's a complete revolution because the regulations are so different.

"The brakes and the brake ducts are a big change as well," he adds. "Not a revolution per se but very different compared to previous years.

"In terms of the car itself, other than the steering wheel, pedals, and extinguisher, there are no carryovers. Everything must be changed essentially.

"In certain aspects, freedom is limited compared to previous years, but the devil is in the detail, so I suspect that we will see a vast difference in performance across all cars.

"The challenges around the weight of the car from various aspects has been made apparent," he adds. "We've seen a progressive improvement in terms of expected performance week after week though, so I believe there's potential and opportunity to develop the car throughout the season and I expect all the teams will develop their cars significantly during this season."

Asked if he kept watch over what was happening on track last year, or was the focus fully on 2022, he admits: "I spent a good amount of time at the beginning trying to get up to speed as fast as possible with the team and workings, but then lifted off as early as possible on what was happening on track.

"I went to a few races until September, and I work closely with Ayao Komatsu (Director of Engineering) and his group so it didn't need to become my focus, and similarly we employed that strategy with the aerodynamics group and the design office.

The decision not to develop the '21 car in-season last year has given us more time and bandwidth to focus on the '22 car, which was clearly a plus for ourselves.

"As a technical organization, we tried to reduce to a minimum the focus on the VF-21, with the race engineering members leading the project home."

"Haas has been working with Ferrari since 2016," he continues, "and in those years the collaboration has been progressing step-by-step and we're doing our best to build on this and keep improving the efficiency of the collaboration. I've been at Ferrari for a long time, so I know the team well and this has helped and I'm pleased about the end result.

"Ferrari is supplying several components to us although the supply perimeter has changed this year as a result of the new components classification regulation.

"My overwhelming emotion is being pleased about the work we have done," he concludes, "I'm quite proud.

"I think it would be difficult to do more. That doesn't necessarily mean that we will achieve all our objectives but I'm always realistic. I think there will be progress this season if all goes well and there aren't any surprises."

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