Car developments during the 2022 campaign were different from previous years, as teams had to balance the desire for modernization steps with the costs of building new parts.
Some groups like Alpine have opted to make small changes at each race, while other teams have instead opted to unlock new parts in larger packages scattered throughout the campaign.
But despite what has at times appeared to be a stalled nature in the teams’ development efforts, Ferrari’s chief performance engineer, Jock Claire, says factory work has been labor intensive where gains can be made.
Asked by Autosport if factory work on the road was further than what was available to teams at the tracks, Claire said: “Obviously the state of play in the championship has an impact on whether you push through further developments here, and obviously in the End of the year, you pretty much know where your ceiling falls on what you can spend, because your year is set.
“Inevitably, you will have to make some decisions based on the state of play at the moment. And of course, you will never stop developing.
“Whether you choose to spend it on packages that come to the circuit or not, actual mind power doesn’t really cost much.
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75
Photography: Alessio Morghese
“There are very smart people in all the teams who come up with ideas. So even if you don’t bring them to the ring, they will probably show up at the beginning of next season.
“Again, you get to choose when you bring it in. The cost cap certainly hasn’t put a stop to people coming up with great ideas. Back in the factory, it always happens and it’s very exciting.”
McLaren was one of the teams forced to put a temporary end to the upgrade process midway through the campaign, amid uncertainty over budget cap limits during the energy cost crisis.
Once an agreement was reached to give all teams a little more spending space, McLaren was able to make even more improvements to its car.
Speaking at the time, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said: “We hope we are not alone in having to pull the handbrake in terms of other developments, given the constraints we have mainly on the cost cap side.
“But there are also limitations that you have nowadays with more limited wind tunnel time, so you really need to be very careful about how you use wind tunnel time.”