Red Bull Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey says F1's 'new-era' 2022 rules initially didn't appeal to him, claiming they left him "cold" when they were announced in 2019.
As Red Bull started designing what would become this season's RB18, Newey believes he and the Red Bull team eventually found the challenge to be enjoyable.
"I’ll be brutally honest, when I first read the regulations, they kind of left me cold,” he told The Red Bulletin. “And I do still feel that there are a few things that were perhaps missed opportunities.
"But it’s obviously easy to be critical. As we got into them, then I actually started to enjoy them. They made it quite complex. I think I can speak for the whole team—that overall, we’ve really enjoyed the challenge of this new set of regulations.”
With the rule changes for 2022, Newey expected many teams to turn up with cars that look similar in design, which certainly looked the case after the pre-season car launches.
However, by the time Bahrain pre-season testing took place a lot of the teams turned up with their own interpretations of the rules.
He added: “It has been a surprise, but a good one. When we first looked at the regulations, the initial reaction was that all the cars are going to look the same.
"As you get into them, it is true of some areas—around the front wheels, the rear wheels, the brake ducting, the nose and upper rear wing and end plates. As we feared, those areas look very similar across the grid.
"But the sidepods are actually very open, and we now have this happy situation, in my view, that just about every team has come up with its own different interpretation of the best aerodynamic solution.”
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Newey sees big shift in F1 midfield
Even though Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull are still the top three teams, the teams in the midfield are edging closer to being regular podium challengers, according to Newey.
"Alfa Romeo and Haas have moved further forward than ever before and McLaren and Aston Martin have fallen back slightly," he said.
"If you look at the last major rule change for this in 2009, you also see Ferrari and McLaren relinquishing their dominance to Brawn and Red Bull. These kinds of rule changes quickly lead to a changing of the guard."
Newey said he still keeps an eye on the competition by observing them on the grid pre-race, then later checking the photos to see if anything caught his eye.
He said: "I myself also walk around the grid, looking at other cars. I honestly have nothing better to do at that moment. If I see something there, I look back at the photos later."
Video: F1 pit-stops under two seconds are allowed (and THIS is why)
At the Mexico City Grand Prix, McLaren became the first team to complete a sub-two second pit-stop since the introduction of the new F1 pit-stop regulations, changing all four tyres on Daniel Ricciardo's car in 1.98 seconds.
So how did the team do this, and what changes have been made to F1's pit-stop procedure in the last couple of years?