F1 is introducing entirely new technical regulations for 2022 as it looks to make the sport more competitive.

The changes for this year include a move from 13-inch to 18-inch tyres with wheel covers, simplified bodywork and front wings, and a ground effect floor.

Looking ahead to the development race in 2022, Key believes teams will improve their cars quickly throughout the season but is confident there will be convergence up and down the field by the end of the year.

“It happened in 2009 with some really upset aerodynamicists running around the office saying ‘oh, it’s not the same anymore’ and we realised there’s a whole load of things you can do but it’s a bit more subtle and complicated,” Key said in Abu Dhabi last year. “So I think it’s that sort of situation with 2022. I suspect we will see some differences some ideas on different cars. 

“It will be interesting to see what people have done. I think the development rates will likely be extremely high. I think the nature of these regs are probably going to equal out a bit quicker than what we have now simply because there are so many different ways of doing things on the current cars. 

“There’s always a different, a new solution, a new avenue to be seen. I think we’ve still got a lot to learn, everyone’s got a lot to learn with the ‘22 cars. We’ve got to correlate them on track, got to see what everyone has done. There could be some real changes out there when we’ve seen other people’s cars. 

“We’ve got to see how you perform against others etc. and work out the strengths and weaknesses against the competitors. We’re all in the same boat as teams in that respect. I think that would cause a lot of jumps in development and ideas as we progress in the first half of the season.”

Key thinks by 2023 teams will have a firm understanding of the regulations and thus have similar concepts and potentially similar looking cars.

“In terms of ‘23, I suspect things will become more similar because certain trends probably will be identified by each team by then,” he added. So we’d have begun to understand what has worked for us, what hasn’t worked as we’d have hoped. 

“Whether that means cars will look more similar? That’s too early to say but teams will have a better idea of how to approach the ‘23 cars.”

The 2022 F1 cars will take to the track for the first time in Barcelona on February 23.