The performance of the 2022 Formula 1 cars is already close to what the teams expected to have by the end of the season, according to Pirelli.
Lewis Hamilton’s fastest lap in the first pre-season test was 1m19.138s, 2.4s slower than his pole position time for last year’s Spanish Grand Prix – around the usual difference observed between the first test and qualifying a few months later in Barcelona.
The teams were also far from reaching peak performance with the new cars as they had a lot of correlation and validation work to do, shown by the fact that lap times dropped by just half a second from the first on the third day when this progression is generally one or two seconds. .
Most teams have helped Pirelli develop tires for the switch to 18-inch wheels this year by rolling mules in 2021 and providing estimated levels of downforce for Pirelli’s off-road work.
The team’s estimates were meant to project the car’s expected performance at the end of the 2022 season and Pirelli says the real cars are already close to those simulations.
“The performance of the car is impressive as it is only 1.5 seconds slower than the fastest lap of last year’s race,” said Pirelli Motorsport boss Mario Isola.
“Last year it was 1m18.1s and considering the same compound they were running 1m19.6s [in the first test] so they are very fast.
“And I expect a fairly high rate of development over the course of the season, as always happens when you have a completely new car.
“We asked them to provide simulations with the performances expected at the end of the season.
“For us, it’s helpful in designing the tire that needs to last the whole season – and they’re not far off from the simulations they’ve provided.
“So I think it will be very interesting to see how these new cars develop.”
Aston Martin technical Andrew Green predicted at car launches that it “won’t be long before they replace the downforce levels we’ve seen in 2021” as the cars “will evolve from dramatically” in the coming months.
Teams always find the biggest gains at the start of a new set of regulations, and this year should be no exception as the changes have put teams on a steep learning curve with high-impact aero setups. ground and stiffer.
This means that 2022 cars generate lap times differently. They produce less drag but are lightning fast at high speeds due to the emphasis on aero ground effect.
As they also weigh 43 kilograms more in total, have heavier low profile tyres, run stiffer suspension with no hydraulic trickery, and generate less aerodynamic load at low speeds which means they suffer in the hardest corners. slow.
But there is also potential for improvement at low speeds as teams understand their set-up better and because more time is spent in those corners, which is where significant relative gains can be found.
Importantly, Pirelli echoed sentiments shared by senior F1 and FIA officials that the faster-than-expected nature of the new cars should not undermine technical efforts to improve the difficulty with which pilots can compete.
“It’s a bit too early to tell, but we are confident that we have a tire that is strong enough for the whole season,” Isola said.
“When I mentioned the simulations, this year’s simulations were less accurate than usual because of the new package.
“So I can’t tell you if the simulations provided were really something expected at the end of the season or if it was more of a guess in some cases.
“But the message was that these cars are very, very fast. When we’ve spoken in the past, we had in mind that they’re maybe three seconds per lap slower than the 2021 cars and that’s not is not good for show.
“I think it’s not, they’re quick and I’ve also had feedback from drivers as they tried to follow another car that they felt this new aero package was working as intended.
“They feel they can attack more, they feel they lose less downforce than last year.”
Thank you for your opinion!