The drivers’ first impressions of ‘futuristic, aggressive’ 2022 F1 car

Formula 1’s new-look car for the championship’s rules overhaul in 2022 has been met with overwhelmingly positive early feedback from the drivers. 
The drivers’ first impressions of ‘futuristic, aggressive’ 2022 F1 car

F1 unveiled its first full-scale mock-up of what the 2022 cars will look like in a specially commissioned design that was unveiled at Silverstone on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix. 

It is expected that there will be some visual variation between each of the teams’ final 2022 cars as they build their concept according to their interpretation of the regulations and use their own livery designs.

Thursday’s special ‘F1 One Begins’ launch followed the early renders and models that were released back in 2019 when the rules were originally intended for introduction this year. Rather than revealing anything 'new', it was simply a presentation of a life-size version. 

After seeing the new car up close in the flesh for the first time, the drivers provided their initial impressions, with the feedback following a similar pattern in the form of a resounding thumbs up. 

“I think it looks good, it looks futuristic,” commented Alpine’s two-time world champion Fernando Alonso. 

 “I don’t think that there will be a big difference to what we see today. I think the regulations are quite strict, there is not maybe the freedom that we had in the past.

“Obviously there will be different philosophies for different teams. They will not look exactly the same as what we see today. But that will be for a expert eye. I think for the normal people it will look not too different to what we see today."

Fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz added: “I really like the car from the front back, I think how aggressive it is, the aggressive looks, plus the rear wing looks different and more aggressive than the current ones. I think it’s just cool in general.”

The drivers’ first impressions of ‘futuristic, aggressive’ 2022 F1 car

Charles Leclerc, who has already had his first taste of experiencing Ferrari’s 2022 car in the simulator, said: “We can already tell it’s quite a different car to drive, but as Carlos said, it looks cool and aggressive.

“It looks nice. Hopefully, it’ll be quick and will improve racing, which I think is the most important thing. Let’s see how it goes.”

In contrast to some of his fellow drivers, McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo suggested that not all of the car was pleasing to look at, though the Australian did say he is a fan of the “old-school” rear-end. 

"I like the rear of it,” he said. “The rear looks pretty old school, it reminds me of 2008, with that style - which is cool. The front is very different, but like all things, the more you stare at it, the more normal it will start to look.”

The car - which comes amid F1’s biggest-ever overhaul to the technical and financial regulations - has been produced with the target of promoting closer racing, enabling drivers to battle harder on track.

The drivers’ first impressions of ‘futuristic, aggressive’ 2022 F1 car

It features a ground effect floor design and has much simpler wings to make the cars less prone to turbulence and subsequently more raceable. 

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly described it as “exciting”, while Williams driver Nicholas Latifi reckons F1 has taken the right direction with a “fresh look”. 

“It’s been a few years now where the look of the cars has been fairly similar, not many changes year-on-year,” the Canadian added. 

“It’s fresh and besides the looks itself, there are noticeable aerodynamic elements that are quite different. Much more simplified and not as many complicated aero elements on top of the car.”

While the FIA has warned F1 fans not to expect the new 2022 cars to bring an “overnight” improvement to the quality of wheel-to-wheel racing, detailed simulations have left F1 confident that its targets will be met. 

F1 technical chief Pat Symonds claimed the simulations used to define the final 2022 car were equivalent to 471 years' worth of computing on less sophisticated machinery. 

(L to R): Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 at the 2022 Car Launch.
(L to R): Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing and Lewis Hamilton (GBR)…

“It’s interesting, very different to what we are used to," said current championship leader Max Verstappen. 

“The most important thing is that we improve the racing and can race closer. If this is the way forward then I’m all for that.”

His main title rival Lewis Hamilton believes the new era of cars will provide the drivers with a “serious challenge” but thinks “it’ll be amazing for the fans and the sport” if it leads to better racing. 

Williams driver George Russell said he welcomed that F1 is finally prioritising changes to improve the quality of the overall show, rather than simply focusing on pure speed. 

“I’m excited,” he explained. “The idea behind the changes is the right idea and I guess we just have to wait and see when it hits the track if it performs as we all hope. 

“But it’s definitely the first time the sport’s ever had a working group towards making racing better and that, as a driver, is all we want.

“There’s been a lot of interest in making the cars just faster and faster and faster and the racing side of things has been secondary. Now, everyone is really pushing to have a car that allows us to race, allows us to push, and I really think this will provide that. 

"Obviously we are still six months away until we will hit the road in winter testing, but I think overall, it is really exciting and the sport and the future is looking great.”

George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing - 2022 Car Launch.
George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing - 2022 Car Launch.

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