Carlos Sainz thinks some “big jumps” will occur in the forthcoming season as teams work out how to make their all-new cars faster.
One by one, the 2022 challengers are being unveiled although the constructors have taken care not to show their hand too much, with Aston Martin and McLaren somewhat keener than Haas and Red Bull before them to reveal what they will be taking to the track.
Ferrari will present the F1-75, which is their car for the much-changed regulations, on Thursday February 17, six days before Sainz and his team-mate Charles Leclerc begin a three-day track session in Barcelona where they will get used to driving it.
What the pecking order will be when the competitive action begins is difficult to predict, but Sainz thinks the inevitable fast rate of development means it is unlikely to be a static hierarchy throughout the season as it has been in recent years dominated by Mercedes.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) February 13, 2022
Asked if the new cars are likely to be faster or slower than their predecessors, Sainz, quoted by Marca, said: “I think, at the beginning, they should be slower than the last generation.
“We have to remember in the last generation we had five or six years of development and now the car is in the first year of the new generation.
“But I think the progress will be super-fast and at some point, the cars will become so fast that it will be a big jump.
“If a car that is 40 kilograms heavier can be close to the performance of last year’s car, it would be an interesting change.”
Asked for his take, Leclerc concurred and said: “We can’t say too much because that would be giving information to the competitors, but obviously I feel the cars are heavier.
“Maybe at the beginning they are slower than the cars of previous years.”
Leclerc also quantified the difference ground-effect aerodynamics will make to the spectacle of racing, with the new rules having been created to generate closer action by reducing turbulence when one car follows another.
“Basically, the changes were made for better racing, so the car behind can follow the car in front more closely,” affirmed Leclerc.
“I think last year we were losing 47% downforce, which is really a lot, and as a driver you can feel it.
“This year, the aim is to get down to as low as 18% once you follow another car, which would help the racing quite a lot.”
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