It’s official: the ‘Silver Arrows’ are back in silver! After months of anticipation and a few sneak peeks, the new 2022 Mercedes-AMG F1 livery and car design was revealed on February 18th.
Said Team Principal Toto Wolff, “The silver colour of the Silver Arrows is as much our DNA; it’s our history.” Black will remain an official color team color, representing the team’s initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion.
But these updates aren’t just skin-deep. Some are turning decades-old designs on their ear. We’re hearing from pre-season running reports that drivers and teams alike are already doing quite a bit of adjusting.
What’s New with Formula 1 Cars in 2022?
Beneath the updated livery are fundamental changes to the car’s construction that teams have been busy implementing and testing since last season. New FIA regulations are leading to big changes, which include:
Bigger Wheels, Lower-profile Tires
This will shake up everything to do with wheels and their components. The increase from 13” to 18” wheel rims means the use of lower-profile tires, which are expected to be less temperature sensitive. Data will play a critical role here as the teams figure out how to optimize which tires they use, when, and why.
Changes that focus on ground effect over downforce could yield major gains in performance and safety when cars are following closely. Currently, when a car is approximately one car length behind, it experiences a downforce of about 55%. These changes could increase the downforce to 86%.
- Flat floors are replaced with tunneled, ground-effect floors to bring cars closer to the track and help reduce wake.
- New front and rear wings reduce the amount of wake created and make following cars less sensitive to wake.
- The end of bargeboards, the standardization of flush wheel covers, and more…
Other changes include parts designations, with five different classifications to help with cost savings when applicable, and fuel efficiency regulations, which require at least 10% of the fuel to be composed of “advanced sustainable ethanol.”
What Will Changes to F1 Cars Mean for Racing?
Pre-season running is already underway in Spain, and the reports are certainly validating early predictions and concerns. Teams are making on-the-fly adjustments and managing challenges of increased ground-effect that haven’t been headaches since the cars of the 70s and 80s.
But how will this play out in races? F1 pros expected these updates to impact everything from lap times to wheel-to-wheel action during the race. While cars may lose a few seconds, they’ll gain grip and handling when following closely—the kind of nail-biting action F1 fans live for. Some say the changes could even level the playing field—in addition to helping curb costs and emissions.
Meet Mercedes’ New Driver, George Russell
George Russell has joined the team and is already getting settled in on the track. On his first day at Brixworth, Russell told the team, “It’s been really special to see what goes on behind the scenes. Quite often you don’t appreciate what goes into creating this incredible machine. At the track, you see the end product—but you don’t see all the hard work that goes into it.”
Speaking of hard work, the 24-year-old British driver earned a second-place finish at Spa last season and the nickname “Mr. Saturday” for his consistently excellent qualifying performances. Russell has also been both the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Champion and the 2017 GP3 Series Champion. He’s been on CEO Toto Wolff’s radar since his time as a Mercedes youth driver.
We’re thrilled to watch Russell continue to grow and hopefully become a pole position regular alongside Hamilton, one of F1’s most accomplished drivers in history.
Ready for Race One—Bahrain, March 20, 2022!
With all of the changes and a packed schedule, it’s sure to be an exciting season. Join us as we keep you updated and share more about how Mercedes-AMG F1 makes breakthroughs with data. We are so proud to continue to be a partner and cannot wait to see what this year holds.