As Formula 1 steps into its new era in 2022, the sport’s revolution is well underway. With new cars designed to new regulations written in a new way, teams face new challenges. Racecar Engineering sat down with Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 Technical Director, Mike Elliott, and Managing Director of Mercedes HPP, Hywel Thomas, to explain what they believe are the biggest challenges of the new formula. According to Elliott, ‘The regulations are engaging in two ways. The first is that we’ve got a completely different shape to the car so the way it’s going to perform aerodynamically is entirely different. That’s a big challenge because a lot of the understanding you’ve gained over the last few decades you have to put to one side and learn something new. That’s what we’ve been doing throughout 2021 and through the winter.
‘The second challenge is the way the rules are written, which is completely different to the previous regulations. The old rules gave designers boxes to design elements. That often saw the furthest surface right on the edge of the boxes, forcing a vertical and horizontal interface at the corner of said box. The new regulations are written around CAD surfaces, and teams must design within tolerances to the CAD surfaces. Fundamentally, the 2022 regulations turn many of the sharp 90-degree intersections into sweeping sections due to the structure of the rules. Because the rules are completely new, you’ve got to approach them in a new way.’