Ross Brawn opens up on ‘huge thrill’ of seeing F1 2022 regulations succeed

Henry Valantine
George Russell speaks to Ross Brawn. Monza September 2022.

Ross Brawn was at the heart of designing the new technical regulations in Formula 1, and seeing the new cars achieve the goals set out was a “huge thrill” for him.

A part of Brawn’s remit as managing director of motorsports at Formula 1 was to help oversee the cars transition into their newest form, and he had put how easily the cars could race one another at the heart of his vision for the cars – with ground effect aerodynamics now back in the sport, which reduces the level of downforce lost when following another car closely.

Tyre manufacturer Pirelli claimed that there was an overall 30% increase in the number of overtakes in 2022 compared to 2021 as a result, with the new cars able to battle harder for longer.

‘Raceability’ was a key element of Brawn’s hope for the 2022 cars, including tyres from Pirelli which could be pushed on harder, without as much need for tyre management during a race and, subsequently, drivers not having to drive within their capabilities to eke out an optimum race strategy.

Gathering his post-season thoughts in a column for Formula1.com, the outgoing managing director of motorsports feels he is helping leave the sport in a “great place”, with a “consolidation period” to come with the initial success of the new cars.

“The technical regulations were a big change,” he wrote. “We came at the regulations with a fresh view. The priority was building a better racing car because that has never been a priority in the past, which was one of my frustrations.

“In the past, the teams were allowed to develop the car regulations. The FIA’s priority was safety, making sure the speed of the cars was always within a reasonable range.

“They never had the resource to look at how you design a racing car – it was left to the teams to do that work. With the best will in the world, the teams won’t have raceability as a priority.

“We created a group whose priority was to build a better racing car, that can race another car in close proximity, is consistent to drive, and doesn’t have bits fall off if there are touches.

“The mindset came from a different direction: raceability, and that will be the priority in the future – it’s one of the changes to the mindset of F1 that I’m really pleased about.

“It was a huge thrill for me when I saw the 2022 cars first race and we experienced two or three cars racing alongside each other – we hadn’t often seen that before. Now you can run hard behind another car for several laps without issues.”

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