Formula 1: Fresh rules shaking up world’s fastest sport
Rally sports enthusiasts can look forward to exclusive coverage of the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship on SuperSport with the new season getting underway in Bahrain in March.
The contest is scheduled to run through 22 rounds in total before stopping in Abu Dhabi in late November.
While the 2021 circuit was all about the epic duel for the top honours between Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, this year’s ushers in a new era for the world’s fastest sport due to a slew of fresh rules that should make the contest the most unpredictable for many years.
The new regulations, which were initially set to come into force in 2021 but delayed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, seek to make overtaking easier, leading to more exciting on-track fireworks.
There are three main technical changes that you’re likely to see: ground-effect floors, new wing designs – both front and rear, and new regulations for wheels and tyres.
In terms of ground effect, 2022 cars have two long underfloor tunnels which effectively “suck” the race car toward the tarmac, ensuring more of the downforce is generated from under the car rather than the wings, a concept that was popular in the 1970s and ’80s in the F1 sport.
“You’ve created a vacuum,” said former F1 driver and current commentator Anthony Davidson, adding: “There’s suction to the ground, and you’re relying less on the wings to give you rear grip, and more on the floor.”
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The new wing designs, which will see the front wing very much simplified and the rear given a wavy but sharp look, should allow for airflow over the vehicle to be narrowed and ‘cleaned up’, thus allowing cars to follow closer to one another compared to previous years where the messy aerodynamic wake greatly affected those trying to overtake.
The drag reduction system where a flap of the rear wing folds away to allow for greater straight-line speed is still present but is likely to be less effective in 2022 circuit.
For the tyres and wheels, F1 will be embracing 18-inch compared to 13 inches previously, which are both aesthetically pleasing and should allow for better handling.
In addition, there are winglets over the front tyres and wheel covers which aid in ‘cleaning’ the aerodynamic wake.
All of these changes mean that every team has had to start with a blank slate for 2022, a situation that portends shaking up the order on the grid.
That doesn’t mean that Mercedes and Red Bull, the teams which dominated last year, won’t again be competing for top honours, but it should allow for the likes of Ferrari and McLaren to challenge aggressively, while the gap from backmarkers Williams and Haas could narrow to the midfield teams of Aston Martin and AlphaTauri.
Overall, this season’s rally cars are heavier and slightly slower than last year though you can bet that development will see that gap keep narrowing rapidly.
Interestingly, they are more aesthetically pleasing and should allow for much more exciting on-track racing, giving way to a greater level of competition across the grid, and in turn thrill for the show on SuperSport.
Viewers on DStv can follow all the mind-bending speed action of the fastest sport in the world from the comfort of their homes, offices or while on the go on mobile or on the DStv App.