Stop the presses - the Haas F1 team just won something! Sadly for the sport’s sole American outfit, however, we’re not talking about a Grand Prix. Rather, it’s become the first squad to reveal its car for the incoming season.
This is significant in 2022, however, as F1’s technical rulebook has undergone its biggest change in years, meaning the cars are going to look dramatically different. We’ve already had a sense of this thanks to the full-scale model revealed by F1 itself last year, but until now, we haven’t seen any of the cars that’ll be on the grid.
Appearing here in render form, the ‘VF-22’ is a much cleaner-looking thing than the car it replaces, and that’s thanks to the return of ground-effect aerodynamics. A lot of the downforce is generated by the shape of the underside, meaning the aero devices on the top of the car can be simplified, reducing turbulence for close-following competitors. In theory, this should mean more overtaking.
The huge new front wings aren’t as intricate as before, the sidepods are more heavily sculpted, and the bargeboards plus their associated aero bits have gone. At the rear, there’s a curvy new wing replacing the boxier components we’ve come to associate with F1. A lack of flat end plates means it doesn’t generate as much ‘dirty air’, and the shape also diverts some of the car’s wake above and whoever’s following.
As for the VF-22, it succeeds the slowest car on 2021’s F1 grid. It might just bring about a shift in Haas’ fortunes, though, since big technical changes usually tend to mix up the order. The team also gave up on its 2021 competitor very early to shift its development focus onto the newer machine.
The VF-22 is the first Haas to come from the team’s new design office in Maranello, which is headed up by Simone Resta, a man with a near-two-decade stint at Scuderia Ferrari under his belt.
Other aspects of the team have remained more static. The driver line-up featuring Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin has been retained, and the livery - which uses the colours of the Russian flag - hasn’t changed all that much. The title sponsor remains Uralkali, the potash producer whose deputy chairman of the board is Nikita’s father Dmitry Mazepin.
The VF-22 will be driven in anger for the first time at pre-season testing in Barcelona later this month.