Carlos Sainz praises F1 2022 regulation changes that made racing “exciting”

Ferrari F1 driver Carlos Sainz has spoken positively about the regulation changes brought to the sport during the 2022 season, saying that they improved racing.

Ahead of the recently finished campaign, F1 bosses brought in a whole host of technical adjustments in order to improve racing. The leading element to this was the re-introduction of “ground effect aero”.

This is where the car’s aerodynamic design forces airflow between the floor of the vehicle and the track in order to create downforce. The closer the rushing air “sucks” the car to the floor, the more downforce they produce. Cars can corner faster as a result.

These new rules also sought to minimalize “dirty air” – that is airflow off the back of a leading car affecting the one behind. In previous eras, “dirty air” made close following and thus overtaking difficult.  

Now, with a whole year of these regulations completed, drivers appear pleased with the result of these efforts. Carlos Sainz thinks that the adjustments that F1 made benefitted racing.

“I think F1 got it right in principle,” said Carlos Sainz, via Formula “In general, I think these new cars have allowed us to race closer, to be able to overtake in places and corners or on circuits where before it was always more difficult. So, I think the racing is more exciting.”

The stats back up Sainz’s statement, too. Last month, Pirelli announced that F1 had seen 785 overtakes in 2022 – a 30% increase from last year.

Carlos Sainz reflects on first season of new F1 regulations

However, the more exciting racing did not change the dominance at the front of the field. Max Verstappen still won the drivers’ championship by 146 points. In addition, just three of the ten teams managed to win a race last season. So, from a competitive standpoint, F1 has room for improvement.

Despite Red Bull’s dominance in 2022, Sainz does not think that this will be a long-term thing.

“I think the field spread is still relatively big,” admitted the Spaniard. “But, as soon as these regulations stabilise, I think we are all going to converge. The championship is just going to keep getting more and more interesting with the passing of the years and races. I think it’s heading in the right direction.”

Similarly, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali played down fears of one-team dominance like we have seen in the past.

“With the current regulations, also on an economic level thanks to the budget cap, I expect that many teams will be closer together,” said Domenicali, via Racing News 365. “And I expect that teams’ winning cycles will be much shorter in duration.”

“F1 has been at a high level all year round,” he added. “The quality of the field is very high across the board. If you look at the differences in qualifying, you see that everyone in the field is at the top level.

“For example, Alex Albon also contributed some great performances in his Williams.”

Ferrari, and later on Mercedes, showed flashes of ability to match Red Bull last season. Both fans and those in charge will therefore hope that multiple teams can compete for the title in 2023.

Featured image credit: Getty