FEBRUARY 18, 2022

No double diffuser loopholes with new cars

Formula 1 has avoided a new 'double diffuser' situation with its new 2022 regulations, according to the FIA.

Ferrari 2022 launch
© Ferrari

Formula 1 has avoided a new 'double diffuser' situation with its new 2022 regulations, according to the FIA.

In 2009, Brawn GP emerged from the ashes of Honda's shock withdrawal from F1 to shockingly ace the all-new aerodynamic rules - and ultimately win the title against all odds.

With Formula 1 now undergoing even more radical rule reforms for 2022, many warned that the risk of another major loophole in the regulations being discovered was high.

"I can promise you that we have seen many different solutions so far, but nothing comparable to the double diffuser," said the FIA's technical boss Nikolas Tombazis.

He was speaking after multiple 2022 cars were revealed and even run on track for the first time, including Red Bull, McLaren, Aston Martin, Williams and Alfa Romeo - with Mercedes' new car to be launched on Friday.

Ferrari's newly-unveiled F1-75 features prominently different sidepods and front nose, but Tombazis confirms that no innovation seen so far has been a "nasty surprise" for the FIA.

Ross Brawn, who 13 years after his double diffuser is now F1's managing director, revealed: "We haven't found any loopholes like that so far.

"The scope to do a much better job than the others has become much smaller."

However, some engineers have complained that the 2022 regulations are in fact overly restrictive.

"Engineers always complain," Tombazis smiled.

"We still allowed freedom in certain areas - the sidepods are one of them."

And if one team - like Ferrari - gets a particular solution perfectly right from the start, Tombazis thinks the other teams will quickly catch up.

"It will be easier to copy other solutions because the surfaces aren't as complex and the front-rear aerodynamic interaction isn't as extreme," he said.

Brawn insists he is also happy with how the 2022 generation cars look from an aesthetic point of view.

"Those high angle cars looked a little silly," said the Briton. "It was like they were sitting on the nose with their backs hanging in the air. Not what a racing car should look like.

"I think these new cars look much nicer on the track and it's great that we see differences between the teams. Some people complained that all the cars would be the same but we didn't believe it - and we were right," he added.