Praise be to Haas, for this, a look at the team’s VF-22, is also our first look at a genuine 2022 Formula 1 World Championship contender, rather than the generic FIA demonstrator wearing various livery renderings. Our excitement is building…
Updated 21st February 11:30. Haas has unveiled the real VF22, its car for the 2022 F1 season, as it undergoes a filming day in Barcelona ahead of the first official 2022 F1 test. While teams are not permitted to test their cars outside of official test days, filming days allow up to 100km of running ot be completed.
The car, which will be driven by Mick Schumacher and his team-mate, is quite different from the renders revealed earlier in the year. It has a wider, rounder nose, flatter front wing elements and some intriguing winglets on the engine cover. It also has much larger sidepods than my of the designs revealed so far.
This was an absolute genius move by Haas, the controversial F1 team often pigeonholed as the pariah of the sport. The people wanted to see cars, and they were the first to deliver, teasing yesterday ahead of the car’s reveal that “we don’t want to keep you waiting”.
So this is it and the differences are in places stark and others not so much, between the VF-22 and the generic demo model. The side pod inlets are smaller and different in shape, while the bodywork falls back toward the centre of the car a lot quicker behind them than on the model. The central airbox is smaller and a different shape too. The splitter has more of an upward flick on the upper-most canard and the nose itself tapers rather than spreads. The front wing endplates also have a bit of sculpture to them, compared to the flat items on the buck.
What it doesn’t yet show, obviously at least, is the DRS system, which in spite of not featuring on models, is confirmed to be returning for 2022 and beyond. The wing itself seems to stick faithfully to the very prescriptive look of the buck.
The team also confirmed in its statement the use of the Ferrari 066/7 power unit, revised for E10 10 per cent bio-component fuel use. This isn’t the fully finished article of the car, with Haas potentially holding back a few details for this reveal, so there’s more still to come.
What we do know is that the team very openly left last year’s car to fall where it fell in terms of development, in favour of pouring almost everything into the VF-22 for the new rules for this year’s season. As such, hopes are tentatively high for a vastly more competitive car than the effectively orphaned roadblock that was the VF-21.
The development team is by and large new for the 2022 car, with “a good chunk of people,” joining “a revised structure”, according to Technical Director Simone Resta.
“It’s been a tremendous effort by everyone involved and now comes the fun part of getting the new car to the circuit and dialing in all the elements,” said Guenther Steiner, Team Principal.
“Last season was a long one but I’m confident that 2022 will see us back in the mix with the VF-22.”
Does the Haas help us hone our expectations for the rest of the grid? Yes and no. On the one hand, the team is on the budget-limited side of the grid and thus may not have pushed the boat out design-wise in ways others might. And if they have, as above, it’s likely the fully finished item is a way down the road from this iteration. On the other, the Haas in some ways moves quite dramatically away from the design of the buck, which some feared would render the 2022 grid a one-make.
Either way, there’s so much more still to see and so many questions that still remain. This is the start of what will be a very busy month for F1 reporting. What do you think of our first proper look at a 2022 F1 challenger? Could the VF-22 be the plucky underdog to Mick Schumacher that the Jordan and Benettons were to his father?