The design rulebook was reset for 2022 in order to promote closer car following and minimize the emission of polluted air. This shift involved transitioning from intricate top surfaces to ground-effects.
The aerodynamic advancements made this year have diminished the impact of the shake-up, resulting in reports that it is once again more challenging to navigate corners. However, it is generally agreed upon that the reconsideration has been a triumph.
The races have received criticism for being less exciting due to the FIA’s decision to shorten DRS zones in the early races, as well as Red Bull and Max Verstappen’s dominant performance.
Stella argues that this does not demonstrate the constraints of the ground-effects switch, but rather highlights the straight-line limitations that are most noticeable at tracks with low drag, such as Jeddah, Spa, and Monza.
The engineer from Italy stated: “I prefer not to discuss the restrictions imposed by the regulations.”
“I believe that what we noticed in the previous year regarding this latest car model is that it has become noticeably simpler to trail behind in the turns, thanks to the approximate 30% decrease in turbulent air.”
“So, certain circuits that were previously challenging for overtaking, such as Hungary for example, have now become tracks where it is possible to closely pursue other cars.”
Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
“In the complex situated at the corner where all the corners are present, once you exit the final corner, you will be in close proximity to the car in front of you, allowing you to make an aggressive move using the DRS.”
“I would argue that the new generation of cars has greatly assisted in enhancing this particular facet of racing.”
Due to the advancements in ground-effect cars, Stella acknowledged that they now create less air resistance, resulting in a significant decrease in the effectiveness of slipstreaming. As a result, overtaking in a straight line has become more challenging.
He went on to say: “Regarding tracks such as [Spa] or Monza, where a significant amount of towing effect is required for overtaking, I believe that the current generation of cars provides less suction from the leading car.”
In this particular circuit, it may have become slightly more challenging.
“If you prefer, these are two sides of the same coin. However, I appreciate the improvement in our ability to track cars compared to the previous generation.”