Ferrari changes plans to avoid F1 rule breach ahead of 2022 season start

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Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) Scuderia Ferrari SF21 during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on October 10, 2021 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) Scuderia Ferrari SF21 during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on October 10, 2021 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1

Ferrari had to quickly change direction this week for fear of kicking off the 2022 campaign with a rule breach.

The Italian team had announced that it was getting an early start to the test season with a private session at its own Fiorano circuit - with the 2021 car.

Reportedly, Ferrari understood that because the cars are so starkly different for the all-new 2022 rules, the FIA would green-light the use of a year-old test car.

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However, when test driver Robert Shwartzman did not drive out of the Fiorano garage on time, it was because the team was suddenly unclear that the use of the 2021 car was allowed.

Ferrari will now use a 2018 car instead for its few days of running, to also feature Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

"Until we receive an update from the FIA on the details of test cars, we will be using an SF71H from 2018," a spokesman for the Maranello based team said.

F1 teams - with Alpha Tauri this week in action at Imola with a 2020 car - are understandably eager to hit the track to start preparing for the radically different 2022 rules.

"I could easily imagine one or two teams going completely the wrong way and suffering a painful year," suspects James Allison, the technical boss at Mercedes.

Nikolas Tombazis, the FIA's technical chief, agrees that the 2022 rules will likely result in "people who find good solutions and others who don't".

"But the intrinsic value of these rules is that, with time, the competition will be closer and better," he told the Spanish newspaper AS.

"It is difficult to expect that 2022 will be more spectacular than 2021 because that's a very high bar. But once there is a certain convergence, there will be more cars in front, and that will be positive," he added.

"I think the gap between the best and the worst car was about three seconds in 2021," Tombazis continued. "I hope that within a year, it's less than half that."

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