‘It’s not exaggerated’: Pirelli boss gives verdict on regulations shake-up

Max Verstappen won 15 out of 22 races in 2022 setting an all-time record for the most victories in a single season.

2022 has certainly been a fascinating year for Formula 1, with the season having come on the back of perhaps the most controversial finale in the history of the sport.

Putting the new regulations to the side monetarily, a lot of eyes were on the sport this season following the debacle that was the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Former race director Michael Masi’s handling of the finale resulted in the FIA having to act quickly ahead of 2022, in order for the sport to maintain any sporting integrity.

Following Masi’s ‘human error’ which ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton of an eighth World Championship, the sport put two race directors in charge for the recently completed season.

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Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas were brought into the role, with the pair having taken it in turns to referee proceedings.

The aim of this was to reduce the pressure on one sole individual, given that the sport is rapidly growing both in popularity and in regard to the calendar.

Whilst on paper the idea was a good one, two race directors taking it in turns just didn’t work, with there having been no consistency between the two.

Freitas was actually dropped after the Japanese Grand Prix, for what was a chaotic race which almost resulted in deadly circumstances.

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The drivers were also critical of how the interpretation of the rules appeared to switch depending on who was in charge, something for the FIA to consider going into 2023.

So, what about the new regulations? Well, they worked, with the statistics being on hand to prove that.

The new aerodynamic regulations resulted in both closer racing and more overtakes, thanks to the drivers having been able to run closer together for longer without a fear of overheating.

Pirelli’s Mario Isola actually revealed that 2022 saw 30-percent more overtakes than 2021, with that figure not including overtakes as a result of a pit-stop or a retirement.

“I believe it’s a very good number, considering that it is informed by the facts, so it’s not exaggerated,” Isola told Autosport.

The midfield was certainly fantastic in the recent season, with a whole heap of drivers having been close together for the entirety of each race.

At the front, though, there is work to be done, with Max Verstappen having claimed 15 wins from 22 races.

Only Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes actually claimed a victory in 2022, with Lando Norris having been the only midfield driver to finish on the podium.

Norris’ podium at Imola was the only time in the entire season that a midfield driver finished on the podium, highlighting an area that needs to be worked on going forward.

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Verstappen and Charles Leclerc did treat fans, though, to some fantastic duels at the start of the season; however, Red Bull’s dominance did put a halt to this for the majority of the year.

Mercedes’ downfall also added a shock element to the year, as did their fight back to the front, a storyline that will likely carry over into 2023.

Overall, the new regulations mostly worked in regard to on-track overtaking; however, there are still tweaks to be made to create a wider range of podium finishers and ultimately winners, something that the last couple years of the previous regulations offered.