Despite the strict 2022 car regulations, McLaren technical director James Key believes there are still “subtleties” to be “exploited” by the teams.
The introduction of new cars in Formula One usually signals a period of innovation among the teams, with breakthroughs in how to best use the regulations to their advantage.
Because the overall goal of the 2022 vehicles is to promote closer racing, the rules that the teams must follow are tighter than in previous years.
Even though there are still “traps” for teams to fall into if they choose the incorrect path, Key believes that if they want to make the most of the rule changes next year, they will have to be clever.
“You could argue a more restrictive car has less wrong alleys to go down, so the chances of that are maybe less than you’d have with more complex regs right now,” said Key.
“Having said that I think there are a lot of subtleties, too, to be exploited and that’s going to be the journey in ’22.
“You’re not going to see double diffusers and that kind of huge innovation with these regs. They’re too restrictive for that.
“But there will be other clever ideas and ways of approaching things we will begin to spot as these cars get released.
“There are traps there. It may be your platform isn’t as optimum as someone else’s once you look at how someone has lined out their car for example.
“That’s a job for next year. That’s definitely not doable in season.”
With the new Formula 1 cost cap in place, and the cap lowering somewhat in 2022, there are now limits on how much money teams may spend on creating new cars, which could limit how much money teams can invest in improvements next year.
Despite the new rules and greater performance, Lando Norris confessed that he and McLaren are unlikely to fight for the World Championship in 2022 since they “just don’t have” some things yet.
However, Key noted out that how the teams use their money would have a big impact on how much money they can put into updating next year’s cars.
“As far as the cost cap is concerned, yes, clearly if you’re working at the cap then you are going to be watching the numbers very closely,” he said.
“But I suppose it’s the shape of your budget which really counts there, how much of that budget is a push into car development and so on. It’s probably a bit different from team to team.”
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