Formula 1

Formula 1 teams gain and lose from the aerodynamic testing reset

The resetting of Formula 1’s aerodynamic testing limits for the second half of the year has benefited Mercedes and Williams the most.

At the halfway point of the 2022 season, Mercedes and Williams are in a lower position in the constructors’ championship than they were at the end of the previous season.

This means that Mercedes will increase its aerodynamic testing restrictions for the usage of wind tunnels and CFD from 70% to 80% for the second half of the year. This is based on the ATR guidelines included in the sporting regulations’ Appendix 7.

The ATR is a handicap mechanism created to restrict the CFD and wind tunnel testing of the most successful teams in comparison to the less successful teams. Based on their standing in the constructors’ championship, each team receives a specific share of the nominal allowance, divided into 5 percent increments.

Six aerodynamic testing periods—three in the first half and three in the second—are spread throughout the year. At the beginning of July, the fourth phase begins. Allocations are reset based on constructors’ championship standing as of June 30.

The manufacturers championship positions at the conclusion of last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix are utilized for the reset since it is before the following event of the season at Silverstone.

Red Bull and Ferrari receive less funding than Mercedes, which benefits from the increase. They both go up one spot in the standings from where they were at the year’s end while falling back one step of five percent.

Williams, who was eighth in last year’s standings, is now in 10th place, moving it up from receiving 105 percent of the allocation to 115 percent.

Due to their current positions in the rankings being one lower than they were at the end of the previous year, AlphaTauri and Aston Martin also experience a 5 percent increase.

Prior to Canada, Aston Martin was expected to increase by twice that amount, but Lance Stroll’s point for 10th placed it above of Haas and into eighth place overall.

Alfa Romeo is the team that has experienced the greatest loss in aero testing. It finished ninth in the championship last year, but as of right now, it is in sixth place. As a result, it will receive 95 percent of the aero testing allowance for the second half of the year as opposed to 110 percent for the first.

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As a result of being moved down to ninth in the Canadian constructors’ championship, Haas moves up one position in the standings and suffers a 5 percent stepback.

It’s challenging to measure the impact this has on teams’ growth, but it makes sense that those with more wind tunnel and CFD items stand to benefit more.

With teams in the second half of the year trading off ongoing 2022-car development with ’23 work, the readjustment of the allocations makes enough of a difference to have an impact on the relative performance of the cars – particularly next season.

Last year, the ATR was first used, with teams being separated by 2.5 percent. This year, those steps increased to 5%, with the mechanism designed to be a gentle, but effective, way to give teams doing less well the opportunity to make bigger gains.

And while having 80% rather than 70% of the allowed windtunnel running and CFD items won’t make up for the pain of the struggles Mercedes has endured, it does give it a little more opportunity to research its problems from July onwards.

The ATR allowances will be reset for January 2023 based on the end-of-season constructors’ championship standings.