F1 is already feeding in 2026 car concept with 2022 dates

Along with his team of F1 engineers, who have since moved to the FIA, Symonds was one of the main architects of the current aerodynamics package after being commissioned to improve the cars’ ability to follow closely.

Symonds says that after an encouraging start to the 2022 season, ways to further improve the fan base are already being pursued.

However, they represent such a significant change in concept that they will be saved for a major change package in 2026 when F1 will switch to a new powerplant.

Symonds, who initially planned to retire this summer, will now remain in Formula 1 for the foreseeable future and will therefore be able to deliver on the longer-term plans.

“If we didn’t learn lessons we would be dead,” Symonds told Motorsport.com. “I think when you design a car you are never satisfied with it.

“The minute it’s done you’re just like, ‘I could have done better’. And I think that was the case with the ’22 car.

“I am really very happy with what we have produced. But there are things that could be better.

“It’s not going to be for ’23 or ’25, but I think for ’26, the next car, there’s a lot of things. So we’re not talking about tweaks, we’re talking about first principles.”

Carlos Sainz Jr Ferrari F1-75 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing RB18 George Russell Mercedes W13

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Symonds acknowledged that data from the Bahrain and Jeddah races examined by F1 showed “positive” signs that following is now easier than before. The focus was on comparing the gaps between the cars in 2022 with those in previous seasons.

“We have compiled some of the data, we will do an internal report after a few more races,” he said.

“I always say don’t do it with a pattern of one, nor do it with a pattern of two. It was never about overtaking, that’s a common misconception. It’s about following.

“We started monitoring it a few years ago so we could start building a picture. Now we can see a change.

“We had two races but I think the evidence is pointing in a positive direction. So I’m really confident that we’ll get good, close races this year.

“We learned from this car and trust our tools. A lot of people were very cynical about whether we were going to accomplish anything, but we proved we could do it and we understand the issue.”

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“And during the final stages of really trying to test the 2022 rules in 2021, we found that there were better ways of doing some things. We’ll be incorporating these into the next major design iteration, which is likely to be 26.

“As I said, as soon as you design something, you are not satisfied with it. You have to be pragmatic, you can’t do a completely new concept every year.”

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