That means they want to give away as little as possible about their cars, but even if they wanted to, they can’t. Such a massive rule change and challenging set of crash tests means the 2022 cars are simply not going to be ready at this stage in the year. Car builds will go right up to the moment the light goes green in Barcelona, with parts being manufactured until the very last second.
Next year the above is likely to be much less of an issue, with the second iteration of the new generation of car being produced and everyone already knowing it will be somewhat similar visually compared to the previous season. But a new era should come with more excitement and intrigue about what the finished product will look like than this one does, so F1 could learn from where it has fallen flat.
An off-season without major unresolved controversy would be a start, but beyond that perhaps an official view of what the cars are likely to look like shouldn’t be provided. Give the teams that value back, for them to release when the full focus is on the upcoming season and not an ongoing one.
I appreciate the aim was to give fans a look at the future, and I – like everyone else – was interested to see it at the time when the 2022 car was shown off last year. And Liberty Media’s desire to provide more to fans is definitely the right approach, but this might be an example of fans actually getting more out of having to wait, by building anticipation and interest at a different time.
Of course, when that wait is over, they should actually be able to see the cars in the flesh, too, and that’s another issue that needs to be addressed for 2023. The first test being closed to spectators shuts off an avenue of affordable viewing for many, who might not be able to stretch to a race weekend ticket but can pay the far smaller amount required for testing access.
Attempting to monetise testing by selling some form of exclusivity to a venue isn’t a silly move at all, but cutting out the fans at the expense of that is. Renderings with limited detail of a car that has already been seen in generic form months ago but will be restricted from public view when it first hits the track is not the right mix. Hopefully that proves to be the only complaint regarding the new cars, but it’s going to be another couple of weeks before we even start trying to find that out.