Formula 1 | The pontoons are not the central element of the new F1

Pontoons are not the element

During the presentation of the F1 2022, the differences between all the single-seaters at the level of the pontoons were very striking. From the very wide sidepods of the Aston Martin to those almost absent from the Mercedes, all the technical solutions have been covered by the teams.

While the oscillation and flexibility rules will change next year, leading in particular to a slightly raised flat bottom, Andrew Shovlin thinks the pontoons will also change. The director of on-track engineering at Mercedes F1 explains in any case that these parts will evolve on the W14 in line with the rest of the concept.

“I think if the rules change next year it will change the way people think about their car development” Shovlin said. « They always say the fastest car is the one with the best concept, so today it’s Red Bull. It’s hard to say what it will be like next year. »

« Have not fixed what our car is going to look like. We are still exploring different concepts. And this process will continue for some time, but we are just looking for what will give us the best development opportunity in these new regulations to come. »

It is crucial to decide during the winter

Tom McClullough, Aston Martin F1 Technical Director, explains why the AMR22 has sported two very different sidepod shapes this year, with one evolution radically changing the sides of the single-seater.

“Obviously in the development phase we took two different paths. We actually designed the chassis to accommodate two different radiator installations” explains the engineer.

“When the season started, we chose to go back to an earlier development path we had, closer to the current Red Bull. But as Andrew says, the regulations change next year.

« And we’ve learned a lot in this year. But from a cost containment point of view, there’s only so much you can do in the season. So now is the opportunity , over the winter, to decide what is the right way to go about getting the most performance out of the car. »

« No better or worse concept »

Pierre Waché, Red Bull’s technical director, doesn’t think the sidepods should be given more importance than any other part of the car when doing development. In any case, he expects to see many more solutions on the track next year.

« I’m not sure there’s a better or worse concept, I think it’s only part of the puzzle, this kind of pod, the invisible part. And for sure if you develop your car around a certain concept, if you change it, it will be difficult to find the benefits » notes the Frenchman.

« I think you have to be very open-minded about how you see the car and the concept of the car for the future. As Andrew mentioned, you know the rules change next year. I’m not sure everyone will converge on one concept. »

« It’s more in how you see the new rules, how you try to sort and what you try to achieve with a concept. Because that’s part of the problem. You have to understand how to do the floor around the car, the pontoons, and how to try to fix or direct the flow. »

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