How successful have the new Formula One rule changes been?

The Bahrain Grand Prix gave Formula One fans from across the globe the chance to see the new rule changes in effect after years of anticipation. In essence, these new modifications to the F1 cars have been implemented to ensure that racing becomes a lot more competitive and that one team does not dominate the sport for extended periods of time. 

Revealingly, the latest sports betting odds for the outright winner of the 2022 Drivers Championship seem to suggest that the world will indeed see an end-to-end battle for the title with both Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc priced at 15/8 to become the next world champion.

How successful have the new Formula One rule changes been?

Of course, this wasn’t always the case and we can look back on the sport over the last few decades and say unequivocally that the inescapable truth is that F1 does have a habit of being unforgivably one-sided. Indeed, up until Verstappen won the 2021 F1 season in the most dramatic fashion during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Mercedes had bullied the opposition to the point where people were beginning to switch their TVs off after Toto Wolff’s team won seven F1 Championships in a row. As you can see, change was desperately needed, or else the sport faced an uncertain future.

It should be pointed out that the new aforementioned alterations to the F1 cars that were meant to provide this change hasn’t been a case of just adding any old car accessories and then hoping for the best. Instead, it took years of intricate designing to try and establish a way of evening the playing fields. Ultimately, the FIA came up with seven key rule changes that include among other alterations a tightening of aerodynamic testing restrictions, new tire regulations, as well as freezing the current power units. So, what did the shootout in the desert tell us, and more importantly did they work?

Let’s get the boring bit out the way first by stressing that it is still early days and we will have to wait perhaps as many as ten races into the new season to see if they are sustainable in terms of making the spectacle more competitive. However, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic as we did see an enthralling three-lap battle between Leclerc and Verstappen that appeared to be a direct result of the changes. Indeed, it was easier for the chasing driver to stay within range of overtaking as the turbulent air from the car ahead did not prohibit performance. Needless to say, this would have been hugely satisfying for the powers that be to witness.

Of course, Leclerc was finally able to pull away after Verstappen locked up on the first corner during the said duel that took place in the middle of the race which enabled the Monégasque driver to re-establish his lead. The 24-year-old would eventually go on to win the Grand Prix after Verstappen limped back to the pits during the penultimate lap after a fuel pump issue caused him to retire. 

Now, if we were to return briefly to the top of this piece by focusing on those competitive odds that both drivers have been given in the race for the 2022 championship, we will see that despite this potentially season-defining retirement for Verstappen, the prediction is that this will still be a closely fought season on the track.

 

How successful have the new Formula One rule changes been?

Essentially, what this tells us is that the experts think Red Bull will bounce back and don’t have any more reliability problems awaiting them further down the road. That may be the official take but something just says watch that space given how much redevelopment these cars have gone under. In other words, there are bound to be some teething issues that won’t simply go away overnight.

In many respects, unpredictable retirements are also symptomatic of the rule changes and will inadvertently make the sport more competitive as the biggest teams try to get to grips with how everything works. Inevitably, this will impact most of the teams at some stage this season which should ensure that lost points are able to be made up at some stage or other. 

In conclusion, you would have to say that the early signs are promising and that we may well be in for a season of unprecedented competition courtesy of what the FIA has done to the 2022 cars. Time will naturally reveal all but so far, so good.

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