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New Formula 1 race car: 2022 F1 car reveal promises better racing, more sustainability

A new era for F1 racing comes next year. The new car, with numerous changes, debuts today.

2022 F1 car

Here it is.

Formula One

It's a good day if you're a fan of motorsport, specifically Formula 1. Thursday sees the dawn of a new era as the 2022 regulation race car comes to life. F1 revealed the new race car via a livestream ahead of the British Grand Prix this weekend, and the car promises to make for closer racing and better battles on track.

This new machine, shown in full for the first time today, is simpler, more compact and ushers in a new generation for F1 drivers and teams. Combined with other regulatory changes, the whole idea is to make races more exciting for fans and more affordable for those who participate.

If you're new to the sport, the competing teams each build their own cars, but they have to follow tight specifications set out by the FIA, the sport's governing body, which refreshes the rules every few years to keep the sport exciting. Each team has to walk a fine line between being disqualified and squeezing every last millisecond out of what's possible under the regulations. In practice, the cars look much alike, so what's revealed today gives us a very good idea of what the 2022 cars will look like and how they'll perform. Whether teams discover a few tricks or master this new format is all part of the fun.

Pat Symonds

That's a fancy wrap.

Formula One

Overall, the goal of this new car is to keep downforce reductions to a minimum. Today, racers following a car lose up to 50% of their machine's downforce. The 2022 race car should keep that loss to 15% and so help with overtaking. If you follow the sport, you know drag-reduction system trains are very much a thing some weekends. Helping the entire process was Amazon Web Services, which worked to power simulations more quickly than ever to create a better race car. Amazon says the amount of processing and data crunching that took place would have taken 471 years on a standard laptop. With AWS, work began in 2017 and, well, here we are today. These cars were meant to hit the track this year, actually, but the pandemic pushed plans to 2022.

In addition to the simplification of the front wing and floor, these cars will run lower-profile tires, larger 18-inch wheels and are even safer than the current race cars. Engineers worked to ensure cars absorb impacts better and hope there's less debris spraying from a crashed car, should a wreck occur on track. At the rear, the massive wing received a rethink to further promote cars racing closer together. Essentially, "dirty air" isn't tossed directly at a car behind, leaving more "clean air" for drivers to race in.

To start, these cars next year will still run the same turbo-hybrid V6 engines that fans and drivers are used to, but in the mid-2020s, we're in for another change when it's time for a new generation of power units. F1's goal, according to Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds, is to bring in completely sustainable fuel to complement the most efficient engines on the planet.