The Japanese single-seater series has been working on an overhaul of its current SF19 chassis all season, with this week’s two-day test at Suzuka marking the first public outing for the new wings, sidepods, engine cover and floor series organizers hope will be used next year.
However, the question of who is paying for the upgrade remains unresolved, and some teams are thought to have expressed reservations about its implementation in 2023 in light of the current economic situation.
The weakening of the Japanese yen – which has fallen by more than 20 percent against the US dollar so far in 2022 – is set to make purchasing the parts from chassis supplier Dallara more expensive than planned.
Speaking in a press conference at Suzuka ahead of this weekend’s season finale, Yoshihisa Ueno, boss of series organizer JRP, would not commit to the introduction of the new aero, saying nothing would be confirmed until December, most likely around the time of the post – season rookie test.
Body panels made from Bcomp flax fiber and Yokohama tires featuring a larger component of sustainable materials are also on the agenda for 2023, while carbon-neutral fuel has also been tested this year but appears unlikely to be introduced as soon as next season.
“[The new aero] is still under development,” Ueno said. “Including the tires and the fuel, we are working to be able to confirm our plans for next season in December, so we ask you to wait a little longer.”
Asked specifically when the new aero would be introduced, and who would bear the cost of its implementation, Ueno replied: “Both are still under discussion.
“We won’t disclose exactly who is paying how much, but we are discussing it together [with the teams].”
Hiroaki Ishiura and Koudai Tsukakoshi have been in charge of developing the upgraded SF19, and both reported positive feelings with the new aero following this week’s test, particularly with regards to following the car in front.
Photo by: JRP
However, Ueno wished to highlight that some issues remain unresolved.
“I wouldn’t say we are unreservedly happy, but the impression is that it has the character we are aiming for,” he said.
“We have only run so far with two cars, so we don’t know how it will work in the wet, or what the effect will be on braking, so there are a lot of issues to address.”
A further test with the upgraded car is scheduled for Motegi on November 21-22 ahead of the rookie test, which does not yet have a confirmed date. The existing SF19 package will be used for the rookie test.