With the arrival of new aerodynamic regulations this season, teams had to start from a blank page for the design of their new F1. And some, if not all, still struggle to understand why their single seat works on some circuits and not on others.
Mercedes F1 is probably the best example of this: the W13 was in pole position in the Hungarian Grand Prix thanks to George Russell, but then failed a few weeks later in Spa at a very different track.
And even Ferrari, which produced the successful F1-75 on all circuits, also had its share of surprises. Jock Clear, the engineer in charge of performance within the Scuderia, explains why his team has sometimes been surprised by poor performance or, conversely, by excellent performances.
“If we had the answer to all these questions, then we would have a miracle solution. It is very difficult to solve these problems.”
“We see some teams getting results in the race while others tend to go backwards, and it’s a real puzzle to solve all that. That’s why we don’t have an easy job, and why it’s so interesting to us and to you, the media. .”
“Honestly, we still don’t understand exactly what happened at Spa. We have ideas that we obviously relied on. Then we got to Monza, which is similar to Spa in terms of downforce, completely different to others, and we had a feeling of understanding what happened to us Belgium.”
“We can discover other things later in the year, we are always learning. No team knows all the details, we play in a game where everything is related to what others do and sometimes, in other areas, it is almost a game of chance.”
“I think it’s because these regulations are brand new. There’s always going to be a learning curve and the development of a car that meets the new rules, and that’s the case for everyone.”
“At the beginning of the year, a lot of people were asking us, ‘Why is your car so fast early in the year?’ Again, it’s a family game. We probably had it figured out better than others who were still trying to figure out where their car was.”
“That’s what makes the new regulations so interesting. Of course there is pure performance of the car but also understanding, and the drivers themselves have to understand how to drive it.”
“For quality drivers like Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc or Carlos Sainz, you expect it to work from the start. But they are human. They work on their talent every day and they have progressed during the year. Maybe they understand better now.”