Hill hopes new rules have ‘fixed’ Formula 1

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz's Ferrari with Max Verstappen's Red Bull in the background. Barcelona February 2022.

Damon Hill can only “hope” that Formula 1’s new generation of cars have “fixed” the problems of yesteryear that made it difficult for the cars to follow.

This year the Formula 1 cars are completely different to last season’s, the sport adopting ground effect aerodynamics to create downforce meaning a suction is created underneath the car to pull it onto the track.

That should see the new cars give off a clean wake, one that makes it easier for the car behind to follow more closely.

The knock-on effect of that should be that it becomes easier to make a pass, thus leading to more exciting racing.

“The difference is the goal with these cars is that they are able to get closer to each other in the corners,” 1996 World Champion Hill explained to Sky Sports, “therefore they can race each other.

Lewis Hamilton leads Charles Leclerc down the pit lane in testing. Barcelona February 2022

“The problem with the previous cars was that the turbulence gave the guy behind too many problems and he lost a lot of downforce.

“The argument was that the racing could have been closer, and we hope that has been fixed with these regulations.”

But judging from the drivers’ comments after the first test the new generation of cars can get closer, they may still find it difficult to make a pass.

George Russell and Lando Norris had a go at this during the Barcelona test with Norris deliberately slowing to hold up the Mercedes driver.

They found that while Russell could following easier than in previous years, closing those final metres to make the pass weren’t as easy.

“I got right up behind Lando, I was a car’s length or two behind him and didn’t catch the straight so that was slightly concerning,” said the Briton.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc also noticed a big difference in how the car felt depending on how close he was to the car ahead.

But unlike Russell, he felt it was “much better” in those final few metres.

 

“I’ll say from three seconds to one second behind the car in front, you actually can follow closer,” he said as per Motorsport.com.

“Then from one second to five-tenths I will say it’s similar to the feeling I had last year.

“And then from five tenths to extremely close, then this is much better than last year.”

 

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