• What’s New for F1 2022: Technical Regulations, Explained.

Every new season of Formula One is exciting. Different. Has an element of unknown. But 2022 is like no other season that has come before it...

Vastly different regulations have the potential to completely switch up the game. All the teams and Power Unit manufacturers have had to adapt to these new rules, and we'll soon find out just how different the end result looks, compared to previous iterations of F1 machinery.

The aim of these new regulations is to improve the on-track action, enabling cars to follow each other more closely, and therefore be in a better position to attack and battle, as well as having the potential effect of mixing up the competitive order. With every new change, comes a new opportunity.

For proof of just how ground-breaking these new regulations are, here's what James Allison, our Chief Technical Officer, had to say: "I've been working in the sport for over 30 years, and they dwarf everything else I have ever seen! I suspect if I were to dig out Wikipedia and go through every season of the sport that has ever been there would be nothing to match the scale of the change that comes with 2022." 

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The changes for this season are unlike any seen before and have allowed teams to push boundaries further than ever, in the hopes of creating the fastest car possible. It's a challenge that we have relished and an opportunity to prove, once again, what we - as a team and a collective - are made of. As James explains: "We see it an opportunity to show that we haven't just been lucky over the years. We haven't merely stumbled into a formula that is often talked about as the turbo hybrid era, as if we sort of stumbled into some God given right to have been dominant all these years.

"And when everything is as new as this, then everywhere you look in that regulation set, twice as thick as the old one, there is opportunity. There is opportunity, and of course there is jeopardy. And we try to pick our way through the potential minefield, picking up all the little boxes of treasure that might be set in amongst the landmines, to end up with a car that we hope will see us pitching at the front of the grid."

From an aerodynamic point of view, almost every element to this car is different from what came before. "They are a very much different shape, the complexity that we used to have around the bargeboard area is gone and the differences between the cars are going to be more in the surface shapes," explains Mike Elliott, our Technical Director. "So, I think all of this year's cars will look fairly similar, in terms of shapes, and the differences will be subtle changes in the aerodynamic shapes and the surfaces that we've got, particularly under the car.

"And probably the most visual bit of that will be the way that the floor works, which is going to make a big difference. It will completely affect the way that the car works. The rear-wing has got this sort of nice swoopy shape and I guess you could say the same about the front-wing. It's just something completely different to what we had last year."

It's not just the look of the new regulations that's different, it's also the way they are written, and the way teams have had to approach them. Mike explains: "Not only are the aerodynamics different but the whole way the regulations have been constructed are completely different. In the past we just had to fill boxes or shadow certain planes, but in this set of regulations we are given a base surface that we have got to work to, and we must stick within a certain tolerance of it. That's a completely different way of working for us."

For Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains, there are also significant changes for this season, with a frozen performance spec for the Power Unit from 2022 to 2026, when the new PU is expected to be introduced. So, HPP have been hard at work, squeezing all the performance they can into the engine before the season begins, because from that point onwards, only reliability upgrades will be allowed.

Another major change for 2022 on the PU side is the new E10 fuel. Hywel Thomas, Managing Director of Mercedes AMG HPP, explains: "There have been bio components in the fuel throughout the hybrid era. What we had was a requirement to have 5.75 percent by volume of bio components. The change this year is that percentage is going up to 10 percent, and also instead of it being open what bio component you use, you have to use ethanol."

But these changes and challenges are what racing is all about, and what HPP work towards and look forward to. Because it brings a fresh opportunity to get a jump on the competition. "With the new fuel, the freeze to performance of the PU over the course of the season and a whole new car, the whole new aerodynamics and fitting the PU within it, there is a huge challenge for everyone involved and especially the team at HPP," Hywel explains. "Of course, that team is super excited to have those challenges and we are really looking forward to the start of the season."

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One thing is for sure ahead of the first race of the season... no one knows what's going to happen, and it's a step into the unknown for everyone. James adds: "I am putting my fan's hat on and trying to anticipate what we can expect when the racing starts. Well, that is a difficult thing to anticipate in terms of what the pecking order will be, it's a difficult thing to anticipate in terms of exactly how everything will play out, but it's a brilliantly exciting thing to contemplate precisely because none of us know.

"One of the things that is the essence of the sport is not knowing, all of us have done our level best, in our team and everyone in every other team, to try to find a design and an approach that will be a happy match to this new regulation set." We'll only know how it all shakes out, when the flag drops for the first race."

For everyone in F1, the nerves, excitement, and anticipation that are always felt at this time of year will be on a completely new level, and we know it's the same for the fans as well. Only time will tell just how these new rules translate to the racetrack, but we definitely can't wait to find out!