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11th hour change to weight limits

NEWS STORY
18/03/2022

Regulation update issued on eve of season opener sees weight limit raised. making contemprary F1 cars the heaviest in the entire history of the Formula One World Championship.

As early as the opening test in Barcelona, teams were complaining that they were unable to get anywhere near the increased weight limit for 2022, which is 38 kg up on 2021.

"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," said AlphaTauri 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... etc... etc... so the thing's physically larger in some respects. Put those two things together, and you're adding mass to the structure.

"It's this dreaded creep," he added. "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," he admits. "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?

"And then on top of that, it's the 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," he concludes, referring to the fact that most of this year's cars appear to be overweight.

New technical regulations issued yesterday (Thursday) on the eve of the season opener, see the minimum weight increased to 798 kg, making contemporary F1 cars the heaviest ever in the entire history of the Formula One World Championship.

The increase follows pressure from the teams, most of which were keen to see the liit raised. However, while Alfa Romeo was against the proposal, the new for 2022 rules of governance allow changes to be voted through on a so-called 'super majority', whereby just eight of the 10 teams, along with the FIA and FOM, can invoke a rule change during the season.

During testing, a number of drivers spoke about the handling of these 'heavyweight' machines, Sebastian Vettel describing his Aston Martin as "lazy".

"The cars are different to drive mostly because they're so heavy," said the German. "You feel the mass and they feel a bit lazy. And speaking to others, everybody's having the same sensation."

"I guess that everybody's overweight, everybody's trying to find out how much the others are actually overweight," said Toto Wolff during last week's test in Bahrain. "That's why there was a tiny little step that was made. For us, it is part of the competition to reduce the weight.

"What makes it different this time is the cost cap that it will increase, but as long as it's the same for everybody whether there is a weight reduction or not, we are okay with that."

"We should not support that the current cars are a lot heavier compared to last year, and the things are increasing," added Mattia Binotto. "Furthermore, weight is never good for the sport and the speed.

"There have been discussions, we are discussing or at least we have increased by three kilos the minimum weight," he revealed. "I think that was a good compromise amongst all the teams, but I don't think we should try to increase furthermore because finally, as Toto said, it's an area of competition.

"And I think furthermore for the future again we should try to reduce, or not increase, the weight of the cars."

Another change in the updated regulations sees the allowing of a strut to support the floor of the car. This is in a bid to prevent flexing of the edges of the car floors, without which there would be accelerated fatigue and damage now that most teams are running their cars lower than last year in order to maximise the downforce generated via ground effects.

Check out our Friday gallery from Bahrain, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Wokingchap, 18/03/2022 11:58

"So now that all the teams have worked so hard to keep the weight under the 2022 limit, risking god knows what and wasting time and resources doing so, they needn't have. I hope we are not in for another inconsistent season"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by kenji, 18/03/2022 11:12

"Losing weight is the simplest thing in the world to do...just stop eating as much as you normally do. guaranteed to work.....easy as."

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3. Posted by Max Noble, 18/03/2022 8:26

"Well no “blurred lines” over limits there, they just all held hands and jumped over together… Classic. This is going to be a classic season on, and off track… cannot wait! :-)"

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