The Formula 1 cars that start the new season in Bahrain this weekend represent the biggest year-on-year change for 40 years – and possibly ever.
Aerodynamicists in the F1 teams – such as myself – have been working on their designs on and off since 2019, and this weekend represents a time of extreme anxiousness and high excitement as we find out for the first time how well we have interpreted the new rules.
To the untrained eye, the cars may not look that different from those that ended the 2021 season. But in fact the rule book has been thrown out and the regulations started again from scratch.
The shape of almost every part of the car has changed. Not only that, but there is a bigger visual difference between the cars from the various teams than there has been for some time.
I work as a senior aerodynamicist in an F1 team, and this article is intended to guide you through what’s changed and why, plus the key areas that will decide who is quick and who’s not.