The history book lessons behind F1’s new 2022 ideas

Formula 1’s regulations might be heralded as creating an all-new car design for 2022, but that has not stopped teams rolling out some proven ideas from the history books.

The history book lessons behind F1’s new 2022 ideas

It is not really a surprise though, because teams do not forget the concepts that worked in the past and that may be relevant for the revamped rules package.

Here, we take a look at the key areas of the 2022 cars where some old ideas have been given a modern touch.

At the front of the car, we are seeing the emergence of two trends, given that the height of the nose tip and its overall design is much more constrained this year.

As a consequence, teams have set about either raising the central portion of the wing, or having it droop down with a higher outboard section.

Both designs have their pros and cons as they set up the airflow’s passage under the nose and then downstream for the rest of the aerodynamic surfaces.

We’ve seen teams venture down similar paths in the past in pursuit of performance and depending on what suits the prevailing regulations.

If we are looking for relevant old solutions, then we can’t really start anywhere other than with the Tyrrell 019, the original high nose solution.

Whilst it’s not completely comparable with what we have this season, it set the tone for what followed for decades, as everyone realised the importance of lifting the nose to get more airflow down the car’s centreline.

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Tyrrell 019

Tyrrell 019

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

There’s few cars in F1’s history that can be considered more elegant than the Jordan 191, though, a car which also featured a slightly raised nose tip and a front wing that swooped up to meet it.

It’s interesting then that even though the current cars are separated by 31 years and numerous design eras, there is a clear family lineage that harks back to the Jordan.

Aston Martin, for example, has chosen the high nose tip and centrally raised front wing for the AMR22, with the designers looking to drive airflow to the car’s underfloor given the increased potential it could yield.

Jordan 191
Jordan 191 1991 aero schematic

Meanwhile, the solution on the other end of the spectrum is something we’ve seen down the years too, with a lower central portion and higher outboard section.

This was a design largely dictated by the prevailing regulations, but obviously each team sought a different design to suit their own design parameters.

McLaren MP4-21 nose

McLaren MP4-21 nose

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Another area where we’re seeing old design concepts is the sidepods. It’s also an area of the car that has created a huge amount of variety up and down the grid, as teams approach the layout with their own interpretation of what is best.

The design must not only cater for the internal packaging of the radiators, intercoolers, oil coolers and electronics housed within, it must also consider the aerodynamic consequences they’ll have when crafting the external surfaces too.

The Aston Martin AMR22 was the first real challenger to emerge and brought to mind two different designs from the past.

The high waisted sidepod, hung well above the floor, is reminiscent of the ‘double floor’ concept that we saw Toro Rosso try in 2011, and which surely took inspiration from Ferrari’s F92A from 1992.

Toro Rosso STR6 double floor
Ferrari F92A -F93A section comparison

Both cars in the Red Bull stable also feature a distinctive ramp section at the rear, which slopes down to the floor to feed airflow into the coke bottle region.

This bears a resemblance to other designs we’ve seen in the recent past too, with Red Bull having sported ramped bodywork in 2013, just as Sauber had in 2012 with its solution on the C31.

Red Bull RB8 sidepod and exhaust changes (twin cross-under tunnel in new specification, old spec inset)
Sauber C31 'Coanda' exhaust ramp

If we want a slightly more modern take, the Racing Point RP20 was updated at Mugello with a B-spec package which featured new sidepod bodywork.

The RP20’s new side sidepod package had a sloped rear surface, albeit much shorter, which met with the floor surface much sooner.

Racing Point RP20 old sidepods detail
Racing Point RP20 new sidepods detail

The introduction of a more ‘vanilla’ set of technical regulations in 2009 resulted in the sport abandon the use of the elaborate cooling gills that had been deployed during the previous era, with solutions like the ones seen on the Renault R25 and Sauber F1.06 no longer viable.

However, the 2022 regulations permit them once more and offer the teams a genuine avenue of development. Furthermore, they now have more choices when it comes to offsetting their cooling requirements against the aerodynamic output of the car.

Renault R25 2005 rear suspension and brake
BMW Sauber F1.06 2006 sidepod louvre comparison

The floor is obviously going to be an area of intense focus over the next few years, with teams looking for the best way to exploit the new regulations and improve performance.

And despite the raft of changes to the regulations, the W13 emerged with a solution that's similar to one that we’ve seen before – and it’s a solution that both Mercedes and Aston Martin used in 2021.

The ruffled or wavy floor edge design was slightly different in its original form on the W12 (inset), as the floor had an upturned scroll on its edge that had the waves cut into it. On top of this, the team had another slat which helped draw the airflow out.

This was updated as part of the large upgrade package installed at the British Grand Prix, with the team removing all but the forwardmost wave from the upturned floor scroll.

The team clearly still believe the feature offers a performance benefit though, even if it is in a slightly different guise.

Mercedes W13 floor comparison
Mercedes AMG F1 W12 new full side
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