MARCH 14, 2022
Alfa Romeo approves of last-minute weight increase
Alfa Romeo has given a thumbs-up to yet another car weight increase just days ahead of the 2022 season.
As pre-season testing kicked off, it was clear that most teams had struggled to produce cars meeting the new minimum car-plus-driver weight of 795kg.
They lobbied for an eleventh-hour increase of 5kg, but ultimately a compromise of 3kg was agreed late last week.
"The reasons for this are understandable," said Frederic Vasseur, boss of arguably the only team that is comfortably below the original weight limit.
"Everyone has had to reinforce their floors because of the bouncing, and the wheels are also a kilogram heavier than the prototypes," the Alfa Romeo boss added.
But as the weight increase continues to rise, the drivers are not impressed. Sebastian Vettel ended his Bahrain test joking that a "tourist bus" may be a better way to prepare for races this year than a sophisticated simulator.
The jury is also out as to whether Alfa Romeo's short and light 2022 car is really the right solution.
"The nice thing about the budget cap is that everyone is free to decide how they spend their money," said Vasseur.
"The cost limit prevents an arms race."
And at the end of the day, it's probably not weight that will determine the early pecking order in 2022 - but the issue of excessive 'porpoising' which has caught just about every team out.
"It's not the fastest who will win the race, but the team that will handle this bouncing effect the best," an Aston Martin source said.
Even arguably the most impressive car so far in 2022 - the Ferrari - is suffering from the bouncing effect that is caused by the new ground effect philosophy.
"I'm pretty sure I'll have a sore back after Sunday's race," Charles Leclerc said.