Teams fear weight issues


What with the holidays we've all put on a bit more weight since Abu Dhabi. However, thankfully, unlike F1 cars, most of us don't have to adhere to a strictly enforced standard.

F1 however, where absolutely everything is mandated to within an inch of its life, sees the minimum weight limit increased by 38kg to 795 kg this year, and the teams are struggling to get anywhere near it.

"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," explains 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," he continues, "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."

Like that box of Celebrations, the extra helping of roast potatoes, Grandma's mince pies... it's those little extras that add the pounds and kilograms, and in the case of the 2022 car it's the bigger wheels, brake ducts and suspension shrouding.

"It's this dreaded creep," says Egginton. "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?

"This floor is very different, it's contacting the track a lot more than the old regulations. 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 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.

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Published: 03/03/2022
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