The 2022 Formula 1 season will see one of the biggest technical rule changes the sport has ever seen. In a bid to make closer racing, F1 has introduced a completely new set of regulations which could change the pecking order completely.
AlphaTauri technical director Jody Egginton has been involved in F1 since 2005 and has played a key role to make the team a real midfield contender against Ferrari, McLaren, Aston Martin and Alpine. He has broken down the questions the engineers have been asking as they continue to build and prepare their 2022 machines.
"Stating the obvious, the regulations are different in many areas," Egginton told RacingNews365.com. "In terms of an awful lot of research and development has gone into making sure we can meet the chassis crash regulations, there's a lot of effort gone into that.
"On the aero side, obviously, it's a huge project. Nearly everything's different in some way. The philosophy of the car is different, it's a car with a 'tunneled' floor so you are re-evaluating that from first principles, what's going to make this car tick.
"We always talk about rake, is it a low rake car, a high rake car? What's the interaction of this tyre with the car? Then the tool set, you've got to achieve all the things you want to achieve is very much limited and very different.
"Now we can play around with percentages on brake ducts to generate certain flow structures and control tyre wake. There's a set of standard features now, which you must abide by so the tool set you've got to try and get the flow structures to do what you want a limited.
"So you're looking elsewhere and you'll be evaluating again. What can I get from my front suspension geometry in terms of downwash or something that can control the vortices? What's the behaviour of these tyres in terms of lower tyre wake? How are we going to get the floor to perform, there's a big inlet on the front of the floor. How am I going to drive that? You have all this philosophy.
"So you're starting off creative, you look in a number of different car concepts is the wind tunnel, trying to take the goodness from all of it and construct it, then go again with the next route.
"A lot of what we know now the principles are valid, but the regulations are different enough that you question the things that you were comfortable with knowing the answer with from the previous regulation."
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One of the most distinguishing features on the 2022 F1 car is the wheel discs which are there to reduce the amount of outwash (airflow) which will decrease the dirty air coming out of the back of the cars.
The current specification of F1 car causes a following car to lose around 50 percent of their downforce. From next year, this could drop to approximately 10 percent, this creating close wheel to wheel racing.
"We're looking at ways to get the flow structures where we want to we can get the performance out of the car," explained Egginton. "But to be fair, there's a lot of head scratching, it's good stuff. There will be some clever solutions, and we'll learn as we go along.
"We are evaluating absolutely everything, trying to find new ways and be dismissive of nothing. You might go down the road two months and say, 'our floors evolved dramatically lets come back again'. You've got all these legality volumes that you can fill the you might not want to fill them all so there's an awful lot of work.
"I think you need an open mindset but also, you've got to conduct proper experiments. You can't jump around too much because you can't afford to say, 'we'll come back to that later', you've got to get a result.
"But keep in mind that you might come back to it again, and try and mix it with something else. I think we're working very methodically but creativity is pretty important."