With groups having just about switched off improvement of their present challengers, factories at the moment are nearly solely centered on ensuring they hit the bottom working with the brand new guidelines period subsequent 12 months.
Amid such a serious laws overhaul, groups can be seeking to attempt to exploit any potential gray areas and unlock the sort of efficiency benefit that Brawn GP had in 2009 when it led the way in which with double diffusers.
Nevertheless, F1 chiefs have labored further onerous to make the 2022 rule framework way more watertight on the subject of loopholes, with groups unable to innovate in lots of areas that they might beforehand.
And for Key, whereas meaning there will not be any headline-grabbing tips that can be apparent, that doesn’t imply there usually are not a whole lot of smaller ideas that may nonetheless be rolled out.
“I feel there’s a whole lot of subtleties in there to be exploited,” he defined. “And that is going to be the journey I feel in 2022.
“You are not going to see double diffusers and that form of large sort of innovation with these regs. They’re too restrictive for that.
“However there will be different intelligent concepts and methods of approaching issues which we’ll start to identify as these vehicles get launched. So I feel there’s most likely much less traps there.”
Certainly one of F1 proprietor Liberty Media’s ambitions with its new period of grand prix racing is to degree up the taking part in subject, and provide hope for midfield groups to gun for the occasional win.
Key reckons that some parts of the brand new guidelines, just like the weighted aero improvement laws that hand extra wind tunnel and CFD time to the slowest groups, may show vital in serving to these additional again.
“It is actually tough to say the place it may play out,” stated Key. “Once you’ve obtained new regs like this, probably the most terrifying a part of the 12 months is that first qualifying session the place everybody truly reveals how fast they’re.
“I assume we’re not going to know till qualifying in Bahrain, finally, subsequent 12 months, precisely the place folks seem to face. And even that may throw you just a few oddballs at instances.
“However I feel there’s a number of benefits for being additional again within the championship, with the CFD and wind tunnel profit that you just get from that, which is actually vital for a 2022 automobile.
“It was nice to complete third final 12 months, nevertheless it did have a minor impact on how a lot improvement we are able to do with our instruments in contrast, to an eighth, ninth or 10th place group. In order that they’ve undoubtedly obtained somewhat benefit there.”
The 2022 Components 1 automobile launch occasion on the Silverstone grid. Rear element
Picture by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
However Key nonetheless has religion that the standard of the employees on the prime outfits can be sufficient to maintain them forward when the 2022 vehicles hit the monitor.
“The infrastructures, the legacy, the strategies, data and tradition that you’ve in a profitable group does give somewhat little bit of a bonus,” he defined.
“You have obtained that sort of perception and confidence, you have obtained the instruments that you just consider in, and are tapped into these instruments.
“I feel among the legacy of what bigger groups have, although they’ve to chop their budgets, all of the funding that has gone on earlier than and all of the analysis that is allowed them to do properly, will nonetheless give a little bit of a buffer and a little bit of a bonus.
“So I think the pecking order will most likely be fairly comparable. However hopefully it is going to be nearer.
“I think it’s going to be a bit unfold out to start with as a result of I am positive everybody remains to be sort of immature with their data of those vehicles once they get launched.
“However hopefully, as time goes on, and with a barely extra restrictive regs, it is going to draw issues nearer, and we’ll see how that pecking order drops out.”