How Different F1 Teams Are Meeting 2022 Challenges

If ever there was a year in which Formula 1’s masters of precision engineering were going to be tested to the limit, this is it.

With new spending limits on technical development aimed at reducing the advantages of the richest teams and limits on the number of some kinds of components that can be used, the need for engineers to make the very best of what they have got – and their capacity to meet this challenge – may be a key issue in this season.

As the F1 website noted, the technical challenges posed by different circuits can lead to some very different approaches, as various solutions are tried to maximise performance.

It highlighted the contrasting responses of Red Bull and Ferrari to the challenges of the Jeddah circuit in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, which has very long straights. The key issue for all teams this year has been the risk of porpoising and the need to take account of this when setting the rear wings, as well as balancing downforce and drag.

The approach of Ferrari was to give their wings a similar setting to Bahrain, despite the former being a medium to-high downforce circuit. Their approach was to come quickly out of corners to enter straights at higher speed, knowing that the amount of time gained from a fast entry would compensate for the deceleration that would occur by the end of the straight.

By contrast, Red Bull used wings with little drag, meaning they entered straights at slower speeds than Ferrari but were faster at the end of them.

While these teams tried out different approaches, Mercedes continue to struggle with porpoising, despite several experiments with different wing configurations aimed at solving the problem.

Lewis Hamilton has been feeling the pain of the struggles the car faces. He managed to finish third in Bahrain after both Red Bulls failed to finish, but could only achieve tenth place in Jeddah, although team mate George Russell finished fifth.

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