This year’s F1 season is so weight-conscious that teams’ liveries are being sacrificed to save weight.
Formula One is having a trouble with its cars this year, according to the internet. Two of the most fundamental challenges that engineers are grappling with as they try to provide mid-season improvements that include out-of-control porpoising and practically every team’s build becoming extremely overweight.
As teams search for a solution on their own cars, porpoising is yielding mixed results, but one thing everyone agrees on is that you can take the paint off to make the car lighter.
The reasoning was that because F1 cars would have a lot more common parts in 2022, teams will be unable to save money in key areas, such as the new 18-inch wheels.
Rather than teams procuring or even fashioning their own wheels, BBS now supplies all of F1’s rollers, leaving no room for teams to experiment with them.
There’s a long list of other common parts on the 2022 cars, including the lift pump, which appeared to be the source of failure on both Red Bull cars in Bahrain.
That may sound a little dramatic, but given that teams still build their own chassis from the ground up, sidepods or not, there’s a lot of room to redistribute or adjust the weight of the cars. But, of course, F1 is all about the margins, and one of the finer ones that teams are experimenting with is taking paint off their vehicles and leaving exposed carbon fibre in place of a livery.
Williams, which had significantly more naked carbon fibre exposed on its vehicle in Australia than it did at the season opener in Bahrain, is one of the teams that has lately modified its livery to save a few ounces.
This isn’t the first time F1 teams have gone to extremes with paint to conserve weight; under prior regulations, Red Bull and Ferrari switched to matte-look vehicles in order to save weight by using lighter paint.
Paint has a huge part in how an F1 car behaves—it has to be completely smooth in order for the aerodynamics to be unaffected and for the car to have the proper thermal effect.
Taking paint off may seem insignificant, but everything on an F1 car is meticulously managed. Since the start of the season, Aston Martin claims to have lost as much as 12.3 ounces from its car. With some teams allegedly being up to 10 kg (22 pounds) overweight, this is a big saving.