Testing for the 2022 Formula 1 season got underway on February 23, 2022, at the Circuit de Cataluna in Barcelona, Spain. Here the teams turned wheels in anger for the first time and got to grips with their all-new machines. Straight off the bat, the new chassis and aerodynamic regulations, designed to even the playing field and promote better racing, saw a plethora of different design interpretations throughout the grid. Here’s what some of the technical operations personnel had to say of their testing programmes…
Scuderia AlphaTauri Technical Director, Jody Egginton, said, ‘I think it’s fair to say that the technical changes made for this upcoming season are the largest made in Formula 1 for a very long time, so it’s a big difference this year. Firstly, it’s good to see the car running and it’s great to see all the hard work come together in that first run, but this is just the first step in a long journey to understanding the car and continuing to develop it. There’s constant optimisation, using what we’ve learnt from previous cars and re-evaluating everything to get the best package possible heading into pre-season testing and then the first race.’
Chief Race Engineer, Jonathan Eddolls added, ‘With a brand-new car, tyres and regulations it’s important to firstly validate the pre-event sim work, so we trialled a large variety of set-up direction and quickly honed in on a set-up that seemed to be a good compromise, then completing set-up test items to better understand the tyres. Drivers were happy with the feel of the car, it remained reliable throughout, and we had no major issues. We have an extensive test plan for the three days of testing here and then again in Bahrain, to ensure we head to race one well prepared and in the best shape possible. We’ve already gathered a lot of data, which we will analyse to feed into the remaining test plan.
‘After some aero rake running to characterise the mappings, we got straight into set-up work and explored a number of different directions. The baseline car was already in the right ballpark, but we learnt some more from the larger changes. With some set-up tuning we improved the grip and balance making the drivers happier with the car in general. We carried out some pitstop practice, which is particularly pertinent for this year as the wheels are much larger and heavier than the 13” variety we have become accustomed to. The car remained reliable, and this allowed the team to focus on performance. Although there remains a mountain of work to do before race one, we are making good progress and look forward to ticking off further items, including the wet running.’