McLaren expecting teams to expose 2022 regulatory loopholes


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McLaren technical director James Key is confident the FIA will act quickly to prevent teams from benefiting through unexpected loopholes in the 2022 regulations.

Each time F1 enters a new era of aerodynamic rules, there is a high probability at least one team finds a flaw that can be used to make significant performance gains.

One of the finest examples is Brawn GP’s double diffuser in 2009, notable for the fact then team owner Ross Brawn is heavily involved in the regulatory changes on this occasion.

“There has always been a very strong awareness that as soon as Formula 1 teams get going on these regs, new things will be discovered because that is obviously our job and that is the nature of how this works,” said Key.

“As soon as F1 teams get hold of it, you’re going to find new ways and ideas to generate performance which isn’t quite always in line with what they had hoped for.

“But I think there are going to be a lot of clarifications – and there already are. I’m sure in year two they will be tweaked a bit to try and get back to the original intent if it has drifted a bit.

“But it has been a good effort put in to try and keep them contained, to try and give us a car which is perhaps a bit easier to race in ’22. That is the hope anyway.

“I don’t think it’s one of those attempts which will fail at the first hurdle. There is a reasonably solid foundation to achieve what the goal is at the end of the day.

“But for sure, we are going to find performance that wasn’t even thought of a few months ago.”

Although expectant that McLaren or perhaps a rival team will have a game-changing component in place for the first race of next year, Key stated his belief the incoming regulations are among the best-studied changes in the sport’s history.

He explained: “I would have to say they are the most thoroughly researched regulations I have ever seen.

“It has been great work by the FIA and F1 as well with their engineering efforts to try and design regulations based around genuine technical objectives and using the right tools to produce a car which meets those objectives.”

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