According to Formula 1 authorities, this was perhaps the biggest rule change in history since 1950, when the first British Grand Prix was held at Silverstone. But the goal of this change was very simple: to create better conditions for racing, and in return – to attract a larger audience.
The complexities of the new regulations stem from one thing: it was decided to limit the aerodynamics of cars from 2022. This was to make fighting on wheels much easier from the drivers’ point of view, which would translate into a much higher quality of display.
The great feelings are back in Formula 1
This was the element that fans complained about most often in recent years – fast, sophisticated cars meant drivers couldn’t follow another car. This made it impossible to fight wheel by wheel at a distance of several laps in a row. It all comes down to overtaking in areas of the DRS system (which includes opening the rear spoiler, which increases speed significantly). And that killed all the emotions during the competition, because overtaking is no longer an art.
Finally, it can be said that the fans got what they expected. In Bahrain, Charles Leclerc battled Max Verstappen for the win, and their rivalry sparked excitement for the next few laps as the two traded the lead. In the end, Monaco won past teammate Carlos Sainz, hinting that Ferrari wanted to get back on top again. And he has everything to reclaim the title after 15 years, since the last Italian stable was Kimi Raikkonen.
– The first edition of the “new” Formula 1, after introducing far-reaching changes, is optimistic and this first swallow may bring spring. In Bahrain we had a lot of fighting, above all for the race lead – which was missing in previous seasons, of course, with the exception of the controversial previous season of 2021 – says Mikowaj Sokoz, Formula One Sport .pl commentator.
He also adds, changes to the regulations have slightly altered the balance of power in this area. Mercedes had a problem, recent weaknesses came to the fore, and the ambitions and hopes of some teams were already suppressed at the start. However, we must remember that the situation this season can change very quickly. The key will be understanding the new builds — not necessarily how quickly patches can be prepared, but the precise identification of areas where you can gain something or deal with weaknesses — he explains.
In addition to the fight at the top, there is another main aspect – the cars are finally significantly different from each other, which should also please fans. The diversity of projects in individual teams is encouraging, and it is not the first time that it has been demonstrated that people working in teams are able to develop different interesting concepts. Despite very different ideas in terms of suspension and aerodynamics, the pace of the battling teams in the early part of the season was similar and the entire stake was exactly equal – Mikowaj Sukoff notes.
Big changes as race director. And it works!
But the battle was not lost behind the backs of the leaders. Last season in Bahrain witnessed 43 overtaking maneuvers, and the result was the fifth for this season. There were as many as 77 of them this year. And although this is only the first round of the season, it is very clear that the revolution is having the intended effect – there are many fights on the track and it is not just about overtaking in the area with the DRS. However, the question remains whether the battle will be possible on tracks that have hitherto not been crossed, as in the streets of the Principality of Monaco or in Hungaroring.
But besides the organizational revolution, another important change was coming. Michael Massey is no longer the racing director. Since then, his role has been alternately played by Nils Wittich and Eduardo Freitas. Each of them will be able to benefit from the advice of Herbie Blash, who has helped Charlie Whiting for many years. Wittich and Freitas are both routine riders – one gaining experience in the DTM series and Formula 3, the other – in endurance races including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
And you can already see that they know very well what they have to do in their position. In Bahrain, Nils Wittich was the racing director and his first decision was to everyone’s satisfaction. In recent years, nearly every track has had different track boundary rules. Wittich made a clear announcement – from now on, the track is limited to the white lines of the track. This will not change with any of the following races.
However, Mikowaj Sukoch shy away from such positive reviews. – It looks promising. However, it is worth remembering that one small spark is enough to unleash a storm. At the moment everyone is more focused on technical innovations and the new openness from the sporting side – I have no doubts that some controversies will return sooner or later, but it is very important here to build the right authority between drivers and team managers from the start – notes an Eleven Sports commentator.
– It appears that the new structure – and support for race management by remote advisors or eliminating unnecessary communication pressure from teams – will work better than existing solutions, but here we need time and first contested positions to fully assess the situation – Sokó ends.
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