The key upgrades that have got everyone talking in Spain – including Aston Martin’s dramatically updated AMR22
Spain was always earmarked by some teams as the track where they would bring key upgrades in 2022. But three teams in particular – Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston Martin – have brought especially significant updates to their cars. Mark Hughes takes a look at those upgrades – and what the teams will be hoping to achieve with their new parts.
Christian Horner has remarked that Aston Martin’s sidepod update makes the car look uncannily like the Red Bull RB18. The re-angling of the radiators from horizontal to a more Mercedes-like upward angle has allowed the previous flat-topped sidepod to be replaced by a new geometry.
The radiator outlet louvres rise up with the contours of the inboard top surface in much the same way, with the outboard surfaces ramping down behind a very scalloped-out undercut at the front. The vortex-generating cut-outs on the floor edge and the coke bottle and diffuser area have also been heavily revised.
“It's a massive upgrade,” said Lance Stroll on Friday morning. “The team have worked incredibly hard for many months to bring this for this weekend, so it's very exciting for us.
“It's generally a very different aero package and different philosophy, and we believe that it's the right direction, so hopefully it goes well out there.”
Meanwhile, on Friday the FIA released a statement addressing the similarities between the Red Bull and the Aston Martin and stating that an investigation had been carried out – but adding: “No wrongdoing [has] been committed, and therefore the FIA considers that the Aston Martin aerodynamic upgrades are compliant.”
The Mercedes W13 has a new floor, with a revised geometry of the venturi tunnels evident from the external shaping.
On the floor edge, there appear to be three pick-ups for stiffening rods, in an apparent attempt at restricting the flexibility of the floor so as to provide greater resistance to porpoising.
The leading edge ‘tea tray’ part of the floor now features a winglet like that already seen on the Aston Martin, Ferrari and Red Bull. It creates some local direct downforce on that part of the floor.
Speaking of the chance to compare performance this weekend with their troubled pre-season running at the Spanish circuit, Lewis Hamilton said: “It’s a great test track here in Barcelona. The first time we drove the car, we have the data from that, and we can remember the feeling that we had during that time as well.
“We did have bouncing back then also, but it’ll be interesting to see the parallels and see how much we’ve progressed since then.”
The Ferrari F1-75 features a new rear wing and new floor.
The floor has a re-angled outboard vane for the entry to the venturi tunnel. The rear wing has a sharper, more defined, transition between the upper flap and the endplates. This should keep more of the airflow over the flap’s upper surface from spilling over the sides, albeit at the expense of a small amount of total flap area.
There is a revised DRS mechanism designed to give a greater drag reduction too.