Motor sport

Why F1 2022 car launches will disappoint fans

It should be the season of hype and excitement, when new cars are finally seen and attention turns to testing potential, but that’s just not quite the case this year.

Maybe it will be when we see all the new cars and head to Barcelona because that sentiment is so far only fueled by a series of images released by Haas, but I feel that it will persist a little longer.

And I’m pretty sure the catalyst is Formula 1’s own doing.

The new regulations are hugely impressive in terms of their complexity and the amount of work that has gone into trying to develop a set of rules that will deliver cars that are as fast as their predecessors but achieve that performance in a very different way, so to promote closer races.

“The problem comes from wanting to shout about last year’s new cars”

It took a lot of input to get to this point from several stakeholders – the internal F1 task force in partnership with the teams themselves – although it has to be said that such a dialogue means that areas are still being defined, even to this day.

But that’s not really the problem. The problem stems from the understandable desire to shout about new cars last year to try and build anticipation. The 2021 season didn’t need any additional additions, it was capturing the attention well enough on its own, but with a new era to come, F1 was keen to promote the end result of all its hard work.

The regulations he had (largely) agreed with the teams and the FIA ​​allowed him to build a full-scale example and promote the look of the new cars around seven months before the teams themselves unveiled their designs. .

Images released by Haas gave a first look at the 2022 F1 cars, but they fall far short of the spec the team will use in testing.

Haas F1

And that actually led to a little problem. Because the F1 model was then used as the basis to put on all existing team liveries, so everyone had their own bespoke example if they wanted. It made sense at the time, as it created great content and great social media posts, but it was all quickly forgotten as the run-up to last year continued.

Now, we’re supposed to be excited about what each team will reveal ahead of testing, and we’ll probably be a little disappointed.

It must be said that the Haas launch was just a set of renders rather than actual images of a real car, with the finished product (in test spec) due to be rolled out to the pit lane on the day of the opening of the tests in Barcelona. But those renders didn’t exactly make a big splash.

“There will be an element of deja vu when it comes to teams showcasing 2022 designs”

Why? Because it looked a lot like last year’s F1 model, with a very similar livery to the one added to the Haas example. It’s not what it was – it was a true representation of the 2022 car in development with an updated livery for this year – but its familiarity tempers the excitement a bit.

And that’s what we’ll get with every car released online that isn’t the real thing. Unless the livery is significantly different from last year, there will be an element of deja vu when it comes to teams showcasing 2022 designs in their own colours.

It’s kind of sad to admit that the livery is a major point of interest when a new car shows up, because the technological brilliance that goes into each design – and the subtle or not-so-subtle differences between the concepts – deserves much higher billing. But those differences are often too hard to spot or extremely difficult to understand, and for those who like that side of things, they probably won’t be factored into this launch season either.

Teams have always hidden details and only unveiled base models in the past, but they’re pretty much forced to do so this year because the regulations are so drastically different from what’s happened before.