This season’s single-seaters will be the heaviest in history. Is it a problem ? Our verdict.
With the new regulations put in place this season, Formula 1 cars must be measured at 795 kilos, with the pilot on board (but without gasoline). That is 43 kg more than in 2021.
An overload attributed to the arrival of 18-inch wheels, the appearance of “mudguards” on the front wheels and an even reinforced hull. The “2022” F1 cars will be the heaviest single-seaters in the history of the discipline.
Yes, it’s serious
In the early 1990s, Senna, Prost or Mansell fought with single-seaters weighing 505 kg and less than 4.50 m in length. Grasshoppers as agile on the track as they are spectacular to watch when stationary. Thirty years later, the profusion of fins and the dynamic lines of the new Formula 1 cars do not hide their Norman wardrobe silhouette… which makes overtaking even more complicated in Monaco. Nearly 5.40 meters now separate the nose and the diffuser, a length greater than that of a Mercedes S-Class.
With a full 110 kg, the F1 version “2022” are now close on the scale with the Indycar (730 kg without driver and empty) or Formula E (903 kg). However, the latter “carry around” a 385 kg battery! At a time when the automotive industry seeks to subtract every kilo on production cars, Formula 1 regulations are once again sailing against the tide. What makes it less justifiable in the boards of directors. And could discourage some interested builders.
No, that’s not a problem
A spectacular Formula 1 is a Formula 1 that drives fast. And the 2022 single-seaters should not suffer any significant chronometric setback, despite their mass up by 5%. The return of ground effect, less wear-resistant Pirellis and a better ability to ride in a peloton will compensate for the pounds gained this winter. Moreover, the weight/power ratio of a 2022 single-seater is 0.8… A value close to the technical sheets of the 1990s. And above all incomparable with other motorsport disciplines. For an Indycar single-seater, the ratio slightly exceeds the bar of 1.
Especially since the overweight accumulated over the past few seasons is the result of hybridization (necessary for a green image) and an additional effort made on the safety side, with reinforced hulls. Finally, this situation is transitory. Ross Brawn, the sporting director of F1, is already working on a regulation more light with a view to 2026. The single-seaters could quickly regain their wasp size.
Formula 1 minimum regulatory weight:
- 1989 : 505 kg
- 1994 : 515 kg
- 1995 : 600 kg *
- 2003 : 605 kg *
- 2013 : 642 kg *
- 2021 : 752 kg *
- 2022 : 795 kg *
* with the pilot on board
Illustration: Julien Jodry
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