Let’s find out: Mercedes.
In January I wrote a post entitled “All the beauty of a regulation loophole”. It was about the changes to F1 for this year and brought information from Brawn. The author of the 2022 rules was talking about efforts to prevent current designers from repeating what he did in 2009: looking for an interpretation of the rules that meant an advantage on the tracks.
“Our group spent time looking at sensitive points in various areas to understand if we left something behind that would allow the team to change the design of the cars. Then came the phase where we tried to push the rules to find loopholes,” he explained. British in an interview with the New York Times. “But I can’t pretend I think we’ll find every loophole.”
When asked if he expected a new “double transmitter” to appear in 2022, he first said no. But then he launched: “You never know. Nobody expected that until it happened.”
The 2022 edition is likely to take place this Thursday.
Mercedes left F1 speechless as soon as it opened its pits in Bahrain, on the first day of the final combined test of the season. Like this? Where are the sidebars?
We are talking about ventilation and side radiators. They really don’t appear on the W13 that went on track today. The car is a cigarette with wings, suspension and wheels. The view is very different from the Ferrari model, for example, where you can put a dining table on the sides.
“We didn’t expect this idea,” said Brawn, who I think is somewhere between joy and disappointment. “It’s a very strong interpretation of the rules. Of course there will be a lot of debate about it. That’s what happens with the new rules. As much as we try to plug all the loopholes, and believe there were hundreds of them, the innovation in F1 is huge.”
But how did Mercedes do? And what is the benefit?
The main goal, as always, was to reduce air resistance. But how to do that if the Technical Regulation specifies the dimensions of impact protection poles?
Then came the Mercedes balcony. The regulation does not say that these structures need to be inside the exhibition. Bingo!
See the picture below, those sticks behind the front wheels, the markings and the red circles? They are SIS (Side Impact Structure), side impact protection structure. There are four poles, or masts, two on each side of the car. They are, within the law.
Demonstrations do not need to accompany them.
What are the benefits? In theory, the car will have more efficient aerodynamics than the competition. In practice, we have not yet seen. Tests hide a lot, we will only have a real trend of new things in the first free practices of the season.
But it’s worth thinking about: Mercedes showed this today, eight days before the opening of the World Cup. There is no time for anyone to copy it, at least in the first race of the year.
If he showed new things in Barcelona at the end of February, he would risk alerting the competition. This must mean that the results in the wind tunnel were promising.
I have written here a few times last year, it is worth emphasizing now: Mercedes rarely makes mistakes. It was brutal, very brutal.
The conflict predicted by Brawn has, of course, already begun. Horner told the German newspaper Auto, Motor und Sport that the invention appeared to be illegal. How does he know our car is illegal just half an hour after seeing it?”replied Wolff.
Red Bull initially denied its boss’s statement, but later said it “officially” had no comment to make. That is, Horner spoke.
Personally, as I wrote in January, I like these things. I repeat below what I wrote:
“I love the competition on the track, the duels, the knocking wheels and changing colors. I am interested in the relationship of the human machine, and this unnatural symbol, with the search for limits on both sides. – heroes, different beings but who jointly have control of speed.
But over the years, I’ve also learned to admire the game of chess, or cat and mouse, between lawmakers and engineers. It’s a constant challenge, with provocative levels and hints of lawlessness.
And my support, I admit, is for the ‘perverts’. I hope someone finds a loophole in the regulation rules, he has a good understanding, he changes the order of things, he creates chaos in the championship, he makes others run.”
Fifteen riders took to the field today. The best time was with Gasly, 1min33s902. By comparison, last year’s pole with Verstappen was 1min28s997. In other words, there is still a lot of room for evolution.
Sainz, Leclerc, Stroll and Albon completed the top 5. Hamilton, who rode the W13 in the morning, took 11th. Russell, who took the car in the afternoon, was ninth.
In terms of mileage, which is the most important at the moment, Red Bull is the team that traveled the most, 746 km, followed by Mercedes, with 660 km.
Haas rode only in the afternoon, and Pietro, who completed 254 kilometers. The American team asked their colleagues to do an additional test session on Sunday morning, as they missed half of today due to the delay of the plane that took their equipment to Bahrain.
Failed. McLaren, Alpine and Alfa Romeo opposed the bid.
F1 is not for the faint of heart.