The 2022 Formula 1 rules explained

Joshua Newbon on

Ahead of the British Grand Prix Formula 1 revealed a full size model of its vision of next season's regulations. A couple of days earlier FIA released the latest edition of the rulebook. With the reality of the 2022 season looming, and assuming the rulebook will not change significantly between now and then, we investigate the contents of the regulation book to explain how cars will be designed.

We have written previously about the length of the Formula 1 rulebook and how the 2022 version has grown, even when compared to an exponential rate of growth of the rulebook since the late-80s. In this article we aim to explain the rules, without simply quoting the regulation document verbatim. The full regulation document can be found on the FIA website for the intrepid few, or simply for the insomniacs who want some bedtime reading.

Before delving into the content of the rules, there is some technical jargon to learn as it is referenced in the regulations and will also be throughout this article. Firstly there are a number of reference planes in the Formula 1 regulations - 2-d slices which project through the cartesian aligned axes, x being the length axis, y the width, and z the height. These planes give the designers and the FIA common references for the design and scrutineering of the cars and include:

  • → The longitudinal location of the front axle.
  • → The longitudinal location of the rear axle, to is the wheelbase of the car which cannot be longer than 3.6m.
  • → The longitudinal location of the front bulkhead, which cannot be more than 100mm ahead of .
  • → The longitudinal location of the middle chassis bulkhead, this must be 875mm ahead of .
  • → The longitudinal location of the rear of the cockpit entry template, which must be at least 1830mm behind .
  • → The longitudinal location of the centre axis of the differential, must be within ±60mm of .
  • → The car centre line and plane of symmetry for the car, the car must ostensibly be symmetrical except for some cooling variation and front wing flap adjustment.
  • → The bottom of the car, also known as the reference plane.
  • Different parts of the car are defined relative to different planes, for example the front wing is defined by its position relative to the front axle (), while the rear wing is given relative to its position from the rear axle (), and the rear impact structure is a set distance behind .

    Another piece of nomenclature which will make this article easier to understand is the use of reference volumes (RV) and reference surfaces (RS). The volumes dictate the maximum dimension limits of bodywork, no bodywork can be visible outside the volumes, while the surfaces are used to dictate the minimum size of certain bodywork in specific projected views, i.e. from above, underneath, or from the side. The car is split into volumes for different groups of the car, front wing, rear wing, underbody, and front and rear bodywork.

    Now that we’re all on the same page let’s take a look at the 2022 F1 regulations in detail.

    Underbody and rear diffuser

    The obvious place to start is with the biggest change in the 2022 rules, the return of underbody tunnels after 38 years of flat floors. This is not a return to ground effect as is often claimed; as ground effect is a physical phenomenon described as the increase in normal force (force acting into or out of the ground) resulting from smaller ground clearances. Any car with an undertray designed for producing downforce, as has been the case in F1 since the flat bottom rule came into effect, uses ground effect.

    Like the whole car, the underbody group is split into multiple volumes, five in total with a further four surfaces, which are listed and described in the table below. The naming convention is pretty self explanatory, for example RV-FLOOR-BODY is the reference volume of the main body of the floor, and so forth.

    RV-FLOOR-BODYFloor Body Reference Volume
    RV-FLOOR-FENCEFloor Fences Reference Volume
    RV-FLOOR-EDGEFloor Edge Wing Reference Volume
    RV-BIBBib Reference Volume
    RV-BIB-STAYBib Stay Reference Volume
    RV-PLANKPlank Reference Volume
    RS-FLOOR-PLANFloor Body Planform Reference Surface
    RS-FLOOR-MIDFloor Body Middle Reference Surface
    RS-FLOOR-REARFloor Body Rear Reference Surface
    RS-FLOOR-FENCEFloor Fences Reference Surface

    The main geometry of the floor has to fit inside RV-FLOOR-BODY (light blue below). The definition of which sets the boundaries for the maximum and minimum height and width of the underbody tunnels. The diffuser exit is rather narrow, 750mm wide compared to 1050mm on the 2017-21 cars, and the shape of the floor volume will prevent teams from expanding their diffusers laterally, as they do now, which would subvert the aerodynamic concept for the 2022 cars, and allows only for expansion in the vertical direction, with the diffuser exit between 200mm and 310mm tall. The minimum height along the tunnels is 50mm, the same as the floor step which has been in place since 1995, and teams could choose to have a flat section in the middle of the tunnel to squeeze the tunnel as close to the ground as possible. There is a minimum permitted radius of curvature of 25mm, with the exception of the small region outside the tunnel and just ahead of the rear tyre. There will likely be some variation in tunnel shape between teams, but this will be largely hidden from public view - the underfloor is already an area teams are incredibly paranoid about showing to the competition. Anticipate some differences too between winter testing and round 1 (wherever that may be) as teams hide as much as they can until the last minute.

    Along the outer edge of the floor is provision for a longitudinal wing (RV-FLOOR-EDGE, orange above). The edge wing will help provide some upwash and outwash around the outer edges of the floor to prevent air reentering the underbody tunnels ahead of the diffuser, often incorrectly called “sealing”, while this is a misnomer it can be said to have a pseudo-sealing effect. The edge wing has a number of rules pertaining to it’s geometry, with minimum cross sections and curvatures, and minimum and maximum offsets from the underlying underbody of 5mm to 20mm. The edge wing can be supported by up to six brackets, again with restrictions pertaining to their shape and outwash potential so that there is not a panoply of outwashing vanes littering the outer edge of the floor.

    In order to be considered legal, the entire floor cannot be smaller than RS-FLOOR-PLAN (red below) in plan view. This surface shadows the shape of the floor reference volume with a 5mm inset around all the edges except the front corner, where there is a space for the front floor fences - more on those later.

    In the middle of the tunnel is a boat section which splits the airflow around the driver's seat, as well as shrouding the engine and gearbox. The boat section has a maximum size from the RV-FLOOR-BODY, but also a minimum flat area enforced by RS-FLOOR-MID (teal below).

    The bib (purple above) and bib stay (yellow above) volumes are relatively recent additions to the rulebook (so recent that the model FOM presented at Silverstone did not have a floor bib) and were added for safety and stiffness. The bib provides some frontal impact protection, while the stay prevents the front of the floor from bending upwards for aerodynamic advantage. The bib will create a sort of mini tea tray at the front of the floor's central boat shaped section, but is not really big enough to create a huge aerodynamic advantage, though there will be a vortex created around the junction between the bib and boat section. The bib must be at least 20mm thick with a radius of at least 5mm applied to edges facing the ground and 15mm on the other edges.

    At the front of the floor is the floor fence region, RV-FLOOR-FENCE (grey below). In this region up to four (up from three in the original rule draft) large scale vortex generators (VGs) are permitted per side. These VGs perform a similar the function to the bargeboards, outwashing the front tyre wake, creating low static pressure (suction) at the front of the underbody, and producing vortices which help to increase suction along the length of the floor. The fences are defined in a similar way that the front wing endplates have been since the 2019 rule update, specifying a “virtual surface” from which bodywork can only be offset by up to ±4mm. The fences cannot be closer than 10mm to one another at any point, but could be used a bit like a multiple element wing, if flow separation is an issue, though that sacrifices one fence. The outwashing capability of the fences is curtailed by restricting the tangent angle at any point on the fence surface to 50° from the car centreline - by comparison current bargeboard designs create outwash at an angle almost perpendicular to the car centreline but are a key contributor to the wide wake which the FIA are trying to avoid with the 2022 regulations. Again the fences will probably be slightly different between teams, though largely hidden from view.

    The final regulations for the underbody are that RS-FLOOR-REAR (green below) and RS-FLOOR-FENCE (blue below) must be obscured by the car from a side projection. The outermost of the four vortex generators under the floor must hide RS-FLOOR-FENCE, while the diffuser endfence must cover RS-FLOOR-REAR. The VG whose purpose it is to cover RS-FLOOR-FENCE cannot outwash the flow more than 40° from the car centreline, 10° less than the inner fences, to maintain the narrow width of the car wake.

    Underneath the car the plank, which has been ubiquitous since the middle of 1994, is retained though it’s shape is slightly changed. The plank begins 430mm behind and ends 600mm ahead of , it is still 10mm thick and is the only bodywork permitted below , but it is 50mm narrower than the existing plank. The shape is no longer rectilinear but narrows slightly towards the front edge because of the shape of the underbody’s boat section.

    Front wing

    The front wing of the 2022 cars is operationally fairly similar to the wings pioneered by Alfa Romeo and Alpha Tauri after the 2019 F1 rule change, but through regulation rather than innovation, with a lot of camber towards the middle of the wing with very little camber at the tips. There are some obvious differences, for example the wing now rises to join the nose directly rather than hanging underneath from pylons, to remove the Y250 vortex which is so influential in current car aerodynamic designs, and the larger delta shaped endplates which blend into the wing.

    The front wing is split into four boxes to delineate the regulations for each section. The front wing retains the rearwards sweep introduced in the 2017 rule change to make the cars look more “dynamic”, though the angle of sweep has increased from around 11° to about 21° - extra dynamic! To join to the nose the front wing has a small anhedral angle, or droop, of about 2.6° from centreline to tip (though there is a small dip allowed near the nose), where the wing is closest to the ground - the minimum height above being 100mm, 25mm higher than the current wings. The slight increase in height reduces the ground effect of the wing, reducing absolute downforce but also pitch sensitivity.

    RV-FW-PROFILESFront Wing Reference Volume
    RV-FW-EPFront Wing Reference Volume
    RV-FW-TIPFront Wing Reference Volume
    RV-FW-DPFront Wing Diveplane Reference Volume
    RS-FWEP-BODYFront Wing Endplate Body Reference Surface
    RS-FW-PROFILESFront Wing Profiles Reference Surface
    RS-FW-DPFront Wing Diveplane Reference Surface
    RS-FW-SECTIONFront Wing Profiles Reference Section

    The actual downforce producing elements of the wing must fit inside RV-FW-PROFILES (orange below). The number of separate wing elements is limited to a maximum of four, one fewer than 2019-21, which have to stack consecutively from lowest to highest with minimum and maximum separation between each of 5mm and 15mm respectively. Like the past few years of regulations the front wings have a number of geometry restrictions in the rules, like minimum convex curvature of the aerofoil profiles (50mm) and maximum tangents to the slope created across the span. For structural reasons, the foremost two aerofoil elements must be at least 25mm thick at their maximum point of thickness, though only inboard of Y300 (±300mm from ). The two foremost aerofoil elements must also be fixed relative to the nose, so that only the upper two (if using all four elements) elements are able to change angle to adjust downforce levels at the track, with flap adjustment handled in the same way as 2019-21 with a little fence allowed to “seal” the end of the flap. The inboard axis of rotation can be between 200mm to 400mm from , while the outboard rotation point must be between 825 and 850mm from .

    Like the floor there is a minimum planform area to which the wing must conform, the triangular(ish) shape of RS-FW-PROFILES (red below) must be hidden by the front wing. The front edge of RS-FW-PROFILES is slightly inset from RV-FW-PROFILES with a slightly smaller sweep angle. The outboard edge is then the same length as the lower edge of the minimum size requirement of the endplate (RS-FWEP-BODY, teal below).

    The front wing endplate must fit within RV-FW-EP (blue above) and must also be bigger than the delta shaped RS-FWEP-BODY when viewed from the side. Like the floor fences described above, the endplate is defined relative to a “virtual surface” which can be offset by ±6mm, or ±10mm over the leading 150mm of the endplate. The virtual surface cannot out or inwash flow by more than 10° from the car centreline at any point along its length - again to keep the car wake narrow for raceability. The endplate must then have a radius of at least 5mm applied to all edges to prevent punctures - this rule has existed for a long time - furthermore the whole endplate must be made of a prescribed laminate to prevent splintering so that if the worst does happen punctures are not caused by sharp carbon fibre shards.

    After the endplate and wing profiles are fully defined the wing profiles have to be blended into the endplate inside RV-FW-TIP (grey above). The tip volume can still contain up to four elements, but these must have merged into one at the bottom of the endplate. The maximum slot gap separation from the profiles volume is still present, but the wing elements here cannot overlap by more than 30mm. The blend radius has to be bigger than a 20mm arc, preventing any sharp corners which could produce undesired vortices.

    The last part of the front wing group is the diveplane. The diveplane will produce a bit of downforce but also sheds a vortex which runs along the outer face of the front tyre. While the maximum width of the front wing at the endplate is 1950mm, the diveplane volume (RV-FW-DP, green above) takes the width of the completed front wing to the full 2m width of the car. The diveplane is again quite tightly controlled, being defined from another “virtual surface”, the trailing edge of which must be at least 75mm above the leading edge. The diveplane must form a single curve (no inflection), and cannot have any radius of curvature less than 50mm. The diveplane outboard of the endplate must also cover RS-FW-DP (purple above) when viewed from above. Once the virtual surface is defined the actual diveplane has to be between 10mm and 12mm thick, with a radius of at least 5mm applied to the edge - to prevent punctures.

    Rear wing

    The rear wing has an important component for producing the “cleaner” wake desired by the 2022 rules. As Nikolas Tombazis (the FIA’s head of single seater matters and final author of the 2022 regulations) told the FIA’s Auto Journal in 2018, “The rear wing helps us when we’re trying to promote closer racing. It has two strong trailing vortices, which pull the flow up from close to the ground into the ‘mushroom’. This mushroom is pushed upwards quite violently and quickly, allowing clean air to be pulled in from the sides to take the place of the turbulent air being flung upwards. This clean air tends to be higher energy, which has a beneficial effect on the aerodynamics of the following car.”

    To this end the rear wing is larger than the rear wings of the 2017-21 cars, with a wider span (1230mm vs 1050mm) and longer chord (415mm vs 350mm). The aspect ratio () of the wing is a little bit smaller as a result, which in turn will slightly increase the strength of the trailing vortices. The lack of a traditional endplate will also help high pressure air from the upper surface of the wing to leak around the side. The rear wing is also a little further from the ground, 910mm compared to 870mm at the top.

    The rear wing is split up in a similar way to the front wing, with separate volumes for the wing profiles, endplate, and a blended section to join the two. There is also a lower “beam” wing which was outlawed in 2014 to cut the rear downforce of the cars.

    RV-RWEP-BODYRear Wing Endplate Reference Volume
    RV-RW-PROFILESRear Wing Profiles Reference Volume
    RV-RW-TIPRear Wing Tip Reference Volume
    RV-RW-BEAMRear Wing Beam Reference Volume
    RV-RW-PYLONRear Wing Pylon Reference Volume
    RS-RW-RWEPRear Wing Endplate Reference Surface
    RS-RW-BEAMRear Wing Beam Reference Surface

    As mentioned RV-RW-PROFILES (grey below) is longer than the current rear wing box, it is also slightly taller which will increase the camber possible from the rear wing for more downforce. More downforce strengthens the tip vortices, which as already described are important for the cleaner wake. Inside RV-RW-PROFILES the definition is similar to the front wing profiles, the number of elements is limited, in this case to two, with minimum concave radius of curvature on the aerofoil (100mm) and slot gap separations (10-15mm). Across the span the wing profiles cannot subtend by an angle greater than 20°, meaning that “spoon” shaped wings cannot be too aggressive, though as the FIA renders show the wings can still be fairly spoon shaped.

    Rear wing endplates have become evermore complex since 2017 with numerous slots and vanes hanging underneath the wing profiles. For 2022 the endplate is being significantly simplified with only a single closed section (no holes or slots) permitted inside RV-RW-RWEP (purple above and below). The endplate will continue to narrow from top to bottom, to avoid fouling the rear tyre and brake ducts. While from the side projection the endplate must be bigger than RS-RW-RWEP (green below). There are not many other rules regarding the shape of the endplate but for a minimum curvature of 100mm. Despite the swoopy shape the rear wing endplates will still have to display the ERS/rain warning lights between 500mm and 870mm from the ground.

    Like the front wing, RV-RW-TIP (red above) exists to smoothly blend the aerofoil profiles into the endplate. There are many rules for this tip region, but the important one is that the arc of the blend must be bigger than a radius of 20mm, like the front wing tip, to prevent sharp corners.

    Returning for 2022 is the lower beam wing (RV-RW-BEAM, light blue above) which aids extraction of flow from the underbody tunnels by lowering the static pressure at the base of the car. The beam wing rules are similar to the other wing profile sections, with a maximum number of elements (two), a minimum concave curvature (50mm), and maximum angles of subtension across the span (15° when further than 175mm from and 60° for bodywork less than 175mm from ). To prevent the beam wing influencing the exhaust plume, no part of the beam wing may be within 10mm of the exhaust tailpipe. Finally the beam wing must leave no more than 80,000mm² of RS-RW-BEAM (orange below) visible when viewed from above - in other words covering at least 38% of the surface area of RS-RW-BEAM. To support the wing assembly no more than two pylons can be within RV-RW-PYLON (dark grey above). The overlap and small intersection between RV-RW-PROFILES and RV-RW-PYLON means a swan-neck type wing hanger will be the norm.

    There has been some confusion as to whether the rear wing Drag Reduction System (DRS) overtaking aid will be retained in 2022, mostly because none of the renders released by FOM have shown it. Currently DRS is included in the rules, with the same 85mm letterbox as now. The opening section of the wing can only be up to 480mm from (the width of RV-RW-PROFILES) with the actuator fitting inside a cuboid measuring 60x30x30mm (LxWxH), though it can lie outside RV-RW-PROFILES and RV-RW-PYLON. The hinge about which rotation is achieved must be less than 20mm forward and up to 20mm below the trailing edge of the flap.

    Nose and chassis

    The safety cell part of the car has a similar definition to today, with a maximum volume but also minimum internal shape to provide enough space for the driver’s legs. The minimum chassis volume (RV-CH-FRONT-MIN red below) is slightly bigger than it is now, measuring 300x305mm at and 490x415mm at , by comparison the minimum tub currently measures 275x300mm and 450x400mm at and respectively. The volume is also slightly domed on the top and bottom, a change from the flat topped chassis which became the norm when the minimum internal cockpit dimension was added to the rules circa-2000. The slightly bigger internal dimensions should help the taller drivers, like George Russell who struggled to fit his feet into Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes W11 when he deputised in Sakir 2020.

    RV-CH-NOSENose Reference Volume
    RV-CH-MIDMid Chassis Reference Volume
    RV-CH-REARRear Chassis Reference Volume
    RV-CH-FRONT-MINSurvival Cell Front Minimum Reference Volume
    RV-MIR-HOUMirror Housing Reference Volume
    RS-CH-NOSENose Reference Surface

    Inside RV-CH-FRONT (grey below) there are minimum permitted convex and concave radii of 25mm and 200mm respectively. The 25mm convex edge radius becomes 45mm at for bodywork inside the nose volume (RV-CH-NOSE light blue below). There could therefore be some slightly awkward junctions at the front bulkhead if teams want to maintain the minimum edge radius on the chassis but then have to step to the minimum corner radius where the nose meets the chassis. It is likely that teams will want to minimize the chassis cross section, as they do now, to provide a clean path of flow to the floor, so expect to see some very similar bodywork in this region as they essentially just shrink wrap RV-CH-FRONT-MIN.

    The bodywork inside RV-CH-REAR (blue above) is remarkably free with no minimum edge radii or concavity stipulations. This is mostly because this bodywork will be internal to other bodywork, like sidepods or floor. But it does open some possibilities for vanes or winglets around the tops and sides of the cockpit opening and halo. The roll hoop and engine air intake are also contained within RV-CH-REAR and this is an area where there will be some variation between teams, or more specifically between engine manufacturers.

    Of the chassis group of parts, the nose is the most obviously different part on the 2022 car compared to 2021. The thumb tips, nostrils, S-ducts, and capes are gone to be replaced by a simple nose box. The nose has to fit within RV-CH-NOSE (light blue above), but must also block RS-CH-NOSE (blue below) when viewed from above, so it can’t be too narrow. This means the nose has to be between 1150mm and 1350mm ahead of and between ~200mm and ~330mm wide at the tip. FOM have already shown two possible variations of nose design in their renders, one which appears to use the full length and width, the other is shorter and exposes the whole of the foremost front wing profile. As mentioned, the edge radii on the nose has to exceed 45mm at but can then reduce to a minimum radius of 20mm forward of that. The nose cannot have concavity on any face less than 950mm ahead of , which should help to force teams towards more aesthetically pleasing shapes, and prevents abhorrent solutions like the Caterham CT05 nose. Something resembling the Ferrari F14T could be possible, though the inflection of the upper surface would have to be 70-85% along the nose's length.

    The final part of the chassis group is the wing mirror which must be contained, with the exception of the mounts, within RV-MIR-HOU (light grey above). The actual rear view mirror housing must fit in a box measuring 75x160x80mm (L:W:H) with the front and rear faces parallel at an angle between 60° and 70° to , the sides parallel to , and the top and bottom parallel to . There are no single volume, minimum thickness, or minimum radius rules for the wing mirror, so the complex system of winglets around the mirror remains an open avenue for development. The finished mirror housing may be mounted from up to two stays, joining the mirror to the mid-chassis and/or sidepod.

    Engine cover, sidepods and coke bottle

    The upper rear bodywork is probably where the cars will aesthetically change the least. Since 2009 there has been a secondary volume called the R75 (or 75mm minimum radius) volume, which forces bodywork thickness and substantially “decluttered” the back half of the cars compared to 2008. The R75 volume is no more, with the individual volumes for the rear bodywork each having their own minimum radius rules.

    Again the back half of the car is split into multiple volumes, to set rules for different areas of the bodywork.

    RV-RBW-SPODSidepod Inlet Reference Volume
    RV-RWB-COKESidepod Coke Bottle Reference Volume
    RV-RBW-APERTURELouvre Aperture Reference Volume
    RV-RWB-ECEngine Cover Reference Volume
    RS-RWB-APERTURELouvre Aperture Reference Surface
    RS-RWB-ECEngine Cover Reference Surface

    The sidepod is split into two parts, the inlet region (RV-RBW-SPOD yellow below) and the coke bottle region (dark grey below). The sidepod inlet region can only contain the inlet to the cooling duct, so there is no scope for turning vanes or venetian blinds which surround the sidepod inlet today. Inside RV-RBW-COKE (grey below) the bodywork must include edge radii greater than 75mm, much like the old R75 volume, but there is an added minimum permitted concave radius of 50mm.

    The engine cover has to fit within RV-RBW-EC (light grey above), this volume is up to 900mm wide up the maximum height of the car, so the large centreline cooling style engine covers, like on the Alpine, could well remain a valid solution. Outboard of 25mm of the engine cover has to abide by the same minimum radius rules as the coke bottle volume. Inside of Y25, the engine cover will have a mini-shark fin, which is enforced by the surface RS-RWB-EC (green below). The mini-shark fin is something which is already required since 2019 to display the driver number, but the surface which produces it is slightly different for 2022. This minimum size of the engine cover mainly exists to create space for sponsor logos. The engine cover and sidepods/coke will be a region where solutions look a little different between teams, that said only really as different as they look now, but certainly different to the FOM model!

    Within the engine cover there was a stipulation added in the 4th draft of the rules for a “blister” (or “bulge” as it was called when such a feature appeared on the Mercedes and Aston Martin cars this year). The blister allows for any component sticking out of the jelly mould rear bodywork to be shrouded, but only so long as it is less than 50mm from what would have been the underlying bodywork, with a minimum 20mm edge radius applied.

    Returning for 2022 are the cooling louvers / shark gills which were prohibited by the R75 volume in the 2009 rule change. Bodywork is allowed to circumvent the minimum radii rules in the coke and engine cover volumes, provided these cooling louvers are within RV-RBW-APERTURE (light blue above). The region covered by louvers may be no bigger than 150,000mm² per side and the louvers must hide a surface RS-RBW-APERTURE (red below) in plan view. The louver panel will allow hot air to escape around the middle of the car, which may slim the rear cooling exits, saving drag.

    Other rule boxes

    There are a few other rule volumes which don’t fit in the bodywork groups, covering gearbox case, impact structures, and camera positions.

    RV-TAILTail Reference Volume
    RV-TAIL-EXHExhaust Reference Volume
    RV-TAIL-RISRear Impact Structure Reference Volume
    RV-FWH-SCOFront Wheel Scoop Reference Volume
    RV-RWH-SCORear Wheel Scoop Reference Volume
    RV-RWH-LIPRear Scoop Lip Reference Volume
    RV-CAMERA-2Camera 2 (nose mounted) Reference Volume

    The gearbox and rear impact structure which are external to the coke and engine cover volumes have to fit within RV-TAIL (green below). Bodywork in the tail volume must form a single closed section, i.e. no holes. Inside RV-TAIL there is a minimum rear impact structure size (teal below), though it’s likely teams will continue to try and shape their rear impact structures for minimal aerodynamic blockage. The exhaust tailpipe must have it’s exit inside RV-TAIL-EXH (yellow below), between 550mm and 565mm rearward of , and at least 350mm above . The tailpipe must have a circular cross-section between 100mm and 130mm in diameter, with the final 150mm straight and inclined at an angle between 0° and 5° from the bottom of the car (). The wastegate no longer needs to have its own tailpipe(s), and must have merged with the tailpipe before the final 150mm.

    There are three positions on an F1 car where the FIA cameras (or dummy cameras) are mounted, either side of the nose cone, either side of the engine cover behind the driver, and on top of the roll hoop on the T-camera. There are two other mandatory cameras, the driver facing high speed camera, and the 360° camera on the top of the chassis. There are rules for placement of all the cameras; but the nose mounted, or camera position 2, get their own volume (RV-CAMERA-2, yellow below). The complete camera must be housed within this box along with the mounting brackets to the nose. Where they join the nose a radius of up to 10mm may be added.

    The front and rear brake drums, sometimes called “cake tins”, are common parts which are designed to prevent leakage of air from the brake cooling system to the axle or wheel rims - this prevents any air being blown outward through the wheel hub which could make the wake of the car wider. The only path into or out of the brake cooling system must be through the volumes RV-FWH-SCO and RV-RWH-SCO (red below on the front and rear wheels). The front and rear brake duct inlets cannot be taller than 200mm among other rules. For the rear axle there is a thin section which can partially wrap the rear tyre, RV-RWH-LIP (green below), this will allow the brake ducts to act as they do today with the inlet between this lip and the tyre face.

    The only bodywork permitted outside of all these regulation boxes are the suspension fairings. The number of suspension members is limited to six per wheel, upper wishbones, lower wishbones, track rod, and push/pull rod. Each member must have a fairing to cover the load bearing part, brake lines, and wheel tethers. These fairings can be no longer than 100mm on their longest axis, or 150mm if shrouding the drive shafts. The suspension fairings have to be symmetrically shaped about this long axis, so that they are shaped as zero camber aerofoils, with a maximum thickness based on an aspect ratio of 3.5:1 (so ~28mm for a 100mm long fairing). To minimize their aerodynamic effect, for example to prevent stall of the front suspension arms from the upwash from the front wing, the fairings are allowed to be inclined relative to the plane, between 0° and 10° (nose down) for the front suspension members and -10° to 10° for the rear suspension.

    Items not defined in the rule book

    Despite the great length of the publicly accessible rule book, there are still some parts which have not been made public. These include reference volumes for the gearbox cassette, minimum dimensions of the fuel cell and cockpit, and something called the “helmet free air volume” which prevents any bodywork from colliding with the driver’s head in the event of a crash.

    The most important things, aerodynamically speaking, which are not defined in the rulebook are the brake drums, drum deflectors (below) and wheel covers, which are the most obvious visual changes in the rules since the first model was revealed in 2019. Previously the front deflectors were more wing-like and spanned the entire width of the tread, the latest iteration is more stubby with a slotted gap and only covers the inner shoulder of the tyre. Underneath the front brake duct there is also a more complex series of vanes to help teams deal with the front wing and wheel wakes. The wheel covers are also slightly different to those on the first car revealed, with more of a domed face resembling something akin to a 1950s Americana pickup truck hubcap, albeit on an 18” wheel rim, than something from the premier tier of motorsport. These parts will be common to all teams, but the brake duct scoop itself will be free, provided it fits within RV-FWH-SCO as described above.


    Hopefully this article has gone some way to explaining the 2022 Formula 1 rules. While it won’t be possible to go out and design a car from this description, it should be possible to tell where cars will be different and where the rules are incredibly restrictive. It should also be easy to see why there is so much fear about a grid of identikit cars. Hopefully this fear proves false, but the front and rear wings will be similar between teams, along with the chassis. Only the engine cover and nose will be visually different, within tight tolerances, but the most interesting bits of the cars will be largely hidden from view under the floor.