After Bahrain, drivers are mixed on F1 2022
On Sunday, at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Formula 1 entered a new era. For the first time, the drivers were able to test the new generation of single-seaters in racing conditions. From now on, the contribution of the ground effect in the aerodynamic support generated by the car takes on more importance, thus making it possible to reduce the dirty air when a driver passes, and therefore to better follow him in the turns. .
And the first feedback from the pilots on this subject is rather encouraging. After the Bahrain Grand Prix, many were delighted to be able to follow their prey in the race. However, Fernando Alonso thinks the problem lies in the difficulty of overtaking. In order to attempt a maneuver, the attacking drivers will always need significantly more speed than the car in front of them, which is usually possible when a car is equipped with new tyres.
“It was really easier to follow each other”analyzes the Spaniard. « We had already noticed this during testing, but overtaking is still not as easy as it looks on TV. I think all the overtaking we saw today is due to cooler tyres, that allowed the cars to be two seconds faster per lap. I came across a few cars that were two seconds slower and overtook them in a few corners. And I also saw cars that were two seconds faster than me, who overtook me in two or three corners. In my opinion, the tires remain the determining factor, not the ability to follow each other. We have to see, we need to do more races. »
His teammate, Esteban Ocon, thinks the 2022 regulations are « a step in the right direction »although he argues that the DRS is now less efficient compared to previous generations of single-seaters. “DRS is less efficient than before, and suction is also less powerful in general”explains the Frenchman after his seventh place in Bahrain.
« I think you can overtake each other, you can follow each other by being much closer than before. The car is less affected when it is following another one, so we are going in the right direction, although there is still a aero loss. On the other hand, the suction effect has been reduced. I think what makes overtaking easier is the difference between a new rubber and a worn one. »
George Russell (Mercedes) leads Esteban Ocon (Alpine) in free practice
For his part, George Russell did not highlight any big difference, whether in the wake of another car or in relation to the behavior of the tyres. “It is sure that it is not worse to follow someone”admits the Mercedes driver. « Bahrain is still complicated because of the asphalt, but the tires don’t show a big improvement compared to last year, you still slip a lot. And that’s made complicated by the weight of the cars, which are 40 or 50 kg heavier. It’s not as fun to ride. »
Lando Norris, who had a nightmarish weekend at the wheel of his McLaren, says he expected better in a single-seater that lacked downforce. « It was hard »underlines the Briton after a sad 15th place. « It wasn’t as good as I expected, which is a little frustrating. I expected a bit more. When you get close to someone, you always slide like you should at the rear and then you lose the front, the tires heat up and you end up on the edge of the precipice. I would say it’s slightly better, but you still lose a lot of downforce. I would say everyone’s expected a little better. »