F1 teams expected to play ‘a few tricks’ to exploit 2022 rule changes

Formula 1 engineers will perform some “trickery” to capitalise on the sport’s new regulations, according to McLaren technical director James Key.

After a thrilling 2021 season which saw Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen dominate throughout, F1 has drafted in new regulations to shake up the sport in pursuit of greater variance.

The sport will see a change to the aerodynamic composition of the cars. While simplified front and rear wings should result in minimal turbulent air created as well as enabling cars to follow through technical sections across all the circuits on the schedule.

And after much discussion and debate surrounding rear wings and more stringent FIA tests, Key has shed light on the impact they will have next season.

“I think the sensitivities around elastics certainly have changed,” Key said. “It’s well understood that from the regulations that have been discussed of late with how to better manage flexible…I shouldn’t say flexible components but components that can flex and make a difference is probably more accurate.

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“Some of the tests are more stringent I think so the rear wing tests, for example, will be a little bit tougher. Some of the things that have happened earlier in the year have carried through into ’22 and I think there is a lot of attention being paid to that.

“Front wings similarly, and the front wing in ’22 is a massive thing but it has still got a stringent set of guidelines on stiffnesses. So I think there will always be a few tricks to play but I don’t think there’s going to be something easy to exploit there.”

Key maintains “a certain level of stiffness” to the car can be exploited through the big ground-effect floor and the return of big wings.

He added: “There are various new tools to play with in 2022. It will probably become some sort of issue I’m sure, but it’s not something that the teams or the FIA are ignoring.

“It’s a fairly clear area where we need to be careful to regulate correctly.”

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