Brawn is keeping track of the 2022 season

Former F1 boss Ross Brown has commented on the 2022 rule change as the culmination of years of efforts to improve the quality of racing.

While there is no doubt that great progress has been made with the Technical Regulations to make it easier for cars to follow each other on the track in 2022, this season has not been perfect. Red Bull’s dominance put an end to title doubt shortly after the summer break, and while the quality of the racing was reasonably good, it wasn’t the dramatic improvement some had hoped for.

Ross Brawn, one of the main architects of the 2022 tech revolution, readily admits that the situation is far from perfect. The former championship boss, however, insisted that it was utopian to dream, especially given that some of the key issues at the start of the season had more to do with the teams than F1. asked the British to rate the new rules out of 10. “I think 8 or 9/10, that’s what we want”he replied. “Looking back, we shouldn’t have done some of the things we did. You remember there was a time when teams said the rules were too restrictive and the cars would all look the same. As a result, we released some ballast under pressure and gave more freedom in certain areas. They exploited us! But this is Formula 1, you know it’s going to happen.”

Teams “won” with porpoising

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

During the first events, porpoising was on everyone’s lips, the aerodynamic phenomenon affected most teams and continued to be a headache for Mercedes. Brawn, F1 officials and the FIA ​​all knew that ground effect coming back to the fore could result in a hunt, but the former assured that no one expected the situation to be so worrying.

“I clearly think poaching has been a bigger problem than expected.”he explained. “By definition, a ground-effect vehicle can be frozen in its concept. Those of us who experienced this a few years ago probably knew better how to approach things, Adrian [Newey] especially. I don’t think so [la Red Bull] had any problems.”

On the other hand, the Briton felt that some teams were greedy in their search for continued support. “We all know that with a ground-effect vehicle, you can’t rock hard and stick it to the ground. It’s too risky.”he added. “I think some teams are desperate to roll on the floor and look for a potential performance. [avec des suspensions] as difficult as possible. But we can’t do that in real life.”

“They were stuck at that point because they had designed a car that worked in that window. It was pretty hard to get out of it, especially when they saw the performance loss outside that window and they didn’t want to go there. I think they all found a good compromise. We didn’t change the rules and today there’s very little porpoise. So a bit of a lag at the start and a bit of a distraction, which was a shame.”

A more compact peloton

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Although the aim of the 2022 rules was to allow cars to move closer together to increase the chances of overtaking, drivers have not seen major improvements in this terrain. In particular, Sebastian Vettel wondered if the money and energy spent on developing these new rules was really worth it.

is asked by Motorsport.comVettel explained: “[Les nouvelles règles] it’s always been difficult, but let’s put it this way: this year the big effort was to overtake cars and follow each other more closely. But I think there is no big difference [avec 2021]. We’re following each other closer, but there’s less drag, so you have to be closer to overtake.”

“As for the wheels [18 pouces]the main goal was to improve the ride quality, but I don’t think there is a big difference. I don’t want to say it’s a failure, but certainly a lot of effort has been made and not all of it has been successful, let’s put it that way.”

According to Brown, without active aerodynamics to deliberately slow down the leading cars, it’s impossible to create a car that’s as fast as the other with clear field. However, the engineer claimed that several under-the-radar improvements helped improve the quality of the race.

“What we don’t talk about often and what we’re increasingly realizing is wheel-to-wheel interference”noted. “We all think [aux perturbations en file indienne]but we didn’t realize the impact until we started working and creating models that we could walk around. [le fait de rouler] side by side.”

Stefano Domenicali and Ross Brawn

“So in scenarios where a driver is trying to keep a tight line through a corner with a guy next to him and he goes wide, it’s because he’s losing downforce. As soon as a car comes up to him, he loses grip. And we haven’t really run that scenario. With these cars, [ce phénomène] very little [important]. So I think in wheel-to-wheel battles with two, sometimes even three cars in the corners [les pilotes] now they are more sure that nothing strange will happen to them.”

“The other feedback I’ve gotten from drivers, because I was really excited when we introduced these cars, is that they’re predictable. The balance doesn’t change drastically. Downforce, but you know what the car is doing. You don’t have it. That downforce, that overshoot, that unpredictability that was there last year. “

Brawn also thinks it’s wrong to make direct comparisons between the old and new generation cars, as standing still would do F1 a disservice: “You have to remember that the cars we had were getting worse and worse. Without Hola, they would have gotten worse and worse. Who knows what 2022 F1 would have looked like if we had continued for another year. [avec l’ancien règlement] ? Who knows what 2023 F1 will look like? So, not only did we find the direction we thought was better, but we went off the road that put the cars we were going on out of the race.

A new state of mind

According to Brown, regulation’s greatest success lies not in results on the track, but in its impact on the attitudes of leaders and managers. He proved that rules designed to improve the show can only be beneficial.

“I think it was a huge success. What’s important to me is that the principle has been confirmed and now it should be very high, if not at the top, on the list of future rule changes. , [à savoir] How well can you race these cars? I think we’ve seen that both anecdotally on the track and objectively in the data. There were even skeptics and those who wondered if it was worth it, saying, ‘It’s better than before.'”he concluded.

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