Formula 1, mission accomplished? Not really. At least so thinks Mike Elliott, technical director of the Mercedes AMG F1 team. What perplexes the Brackley engineer is the regulation introduced starting from 1 January 2022 and which will design the single-seaters of the world champion Circus until the end of 2025.
The current regulation was drawn up to allow single-seaters to follow those in front more effectively, without having harmful turbulence such as to create a sort of barrier that would prevent overtaking.
According to Elliott, the objective of the FIA and Formula 1 has not been achieved. Or rather, it was only partially.
“Personally, also because we didn’t have the best car in 2022, I’m not a big fan of the new regulations. If we consider the goal, which is to improve overtaking, these have certainly allowed the cars to get closer to those in front, especially when cornering.
“But I’m not sure that in the straight we haven’t lost in terms of slipstreaming and drag reduction, so it doesn’t seem to me that we have seen more exciting races. We just had new rules to work with.”
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, George Russell, Mercedes W13
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Elliott added that, from a purely engineering point of view, the teams have approached the new cars with the same approach adopted every year: that of making the most of the imposed limits and gray areas.
“I think as an F1 engineer, in general, it’s just a set of regulations, a set of constraints that you try to deal with.”
“We try to make the fastest single-seater possible and, in a certain sense, we don’t care so much what the result is. The important thing is that there is a challenge to overcome.”
“I think it’s more important what the fans want. What is needed to produce really good racing and how do we get cars that make this possible? Have we taken a step in the right direction with these cars? Maybe, but I’m not sure “.
According to Elliott it is possible to create single-seaters that can follow each other even more both in the corners and on the straight, but in his opinion long-term planning is also necessary. F1 is considering introducing mobile aerodynamics from 2026, which will change the lift settings for the corners and straights.
“We should have something very different to what we currently have. But there are certainly technologies that could give us cars that can follow closely into the corners and still offer a drag advantage on the straights.”
“F1 and the FIA are working to define the regulations for 2026 and, if you look at what has been disclosed for the power units that will be introduced that season, we will need very different regulations for the chassis. to something that is a good step forward in this direction, concluded the Mercedes engineer.
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