by Chloe Sun ’24
Published Apr. 7th, 2022
As the Ides of March approaches, we come closer to the beginning of the highly anticipated 2022 Formula 1 Season. With thrilling changes on the way, the upcoming season will bring forth a new era of F1 racing driven by automotive innovations and intense rivalries drawing fans worldwide.
Coming off a decisive victory at Abu Dhabi last year, Dutch driver Max Verstappen looks to challenge the dominance of seven-time champ Lewis Hamilton, a classic rivalry between young upstart and experienced veteran that projects to shake up the F1 ranks.
The 2022 season will also see rule changes that bring forth greater unpredictability on the grid. These rule changes were originally scheduled for 2021, but the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic slowed the process, forcing fans to wait until now to see these rule changes in action.
Fans are eager to see the results of new innovations in vehicle design, as the trend of aerodynamic overhaul continues to create cars with greater traction and less wind resistance. However, the problem of “dirty air” then arises. As vehicles gain speed, they also produce turbulent, low-pressure air behind them (a.k.a. dirty air), which reduces the aerodynamic performance of the following car, resulting in fewer interactions between vehicles and less entertaining races.
This season, the F1 officials have released a simplified blueprint for teams to follow, tackling the issue of dirty air with various new design choices, such as modified front and rear wings, both working to narrow the airflow of the cars.
One notable change is the comeback of the “ground effect”, two underfloor tunnels which create suction between the track and the racecar, increasing downforce. This technique was popular during the ‘70 and ‘80s, and it is now modified to be brought back onto the track.
Like other sports, F1 suffered from the coronavirus outbreak throughout the 2020 and 2021 seasons, and it is a major relief to see the beloved motorsport get back onto its feet, ready to start fresh, embrace change, and most importantly, begin racing again. Whether you are in it for the tedious, technical long run, or you are just here for some speedy fast cars, this new season of F1 will certainly reach new levels of thrilling entertainment.