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What to Expect in the 2022 F1 Season
March 23, 2022
With the 2022 Formula 1 season underway, sports and motor fans from around the world are gearing up for what could be another great season. With the Bahrain Grand Prix kicking off earlier this week, a raft of new regulations, arguably the largest number of rule changes to the sport since 1983, has prompted almost every team to redesign its cars - especially after having beaten Mercedes in the drivers’ championship last year for the first time since 2014.
With last season’s dramatic conclusion in Abu Dhabi seeing Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won his first world championship, what other surprises can we expect from this season?
History of F1
Here’s a little overview of the history of the sport. The Formula One series originated with the European Championship of Grand Prix motor racing from the 1920s and 1930s. It wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s, however, that we saw a period that featured many of the teams we know and love today, including the road-car manufacturers' Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Maserati.
1950 British Grand Prix | Photo from motorsportmagazine.com
Of course, the cars at this time were different, they were front-engined, with narrow tires, and 1.5 liter supercharged or 4.5-liter naturally aspirated engines. That said, it should be important to note just how much technological development and advancements have occurred over the past 70 years. Aerodynamic downforce, for one, has slowly gained importance in car design with the appearance of aerofoils during the late 1960s. It was actually also actually Lotus, motorsport sister of English car manufacturer Lotus cars, that introduced ground-effect aerodynamics, and this provided enormous downforce and greatly increased cornering speed. It’d be important to note that the aerodynamic forces pressing the cars to the track were up to five times the car’s weight. As a result, extremely stiff springs were needed to maintain a constant ride height, leaving the suspension virtually solid. This meant that the drivers were depending entirely on the tires for any small amount of cushioning of the car and driver from irregularities of the road surface.
While the technological advancements may not be as quick to come as before, it’s clear where the advantages lie. Drivers from McLaren, Williams, Renault, and Ferrari (dubbed the Big Four) have won every World Championship from 1984 to 2008. Take a step back and think about the utter dominance that these teams have shown in the 24-year span. These teams have won every Constructors’ Championship starting from 1979 to 2008 as well as placing themselves as the top four teams in the Constructors’ Championships in every season between 1989 and 1997. Due to the technological advantages pre-1990s, the cost of competing in Formula One had increased dramatically, thus increasing the financial burdens of other, smaller organizations that would have otherwise been great competitors to the Big Four.
As opposed to many other sports, the F1 championship is year-round and consists of 10-11 teams with 2 cars and 2 drivers looking to compete in 20 or 21 races.
Points are awarded to drivers and teams based on where they finish in a race. The winner will receive 25 points, the second placer will receive 18 points, and positions 3 through 10 receive 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, and 1 points for their finish. One additional point is awarded to the driver and team with the fastest lap for the race if they finish within the top 10 positions. The winner of the annual championship is the driver (or team, for the Constructors’ Championship) with the most points. If the number of points is the same, priority is then given to the driver with more wins. If that is the same, then it will be decided by the number of second-place finishes and so on and so forth.
With 22 rounds this year and races finishing up in November, there’s a lot of drama, twists, and turns, set to occur for motorsports fans out there.
Factors in Play
For the more experienced Formula 1 fan out there, this section onward will be for you. Moving away from the basics, we’ll finally be covering the more intuitive and important aspects that you should know for the season, including the factors in play, notable F1 drivers to look out for this year.
In near unison with the rest of the sporting world, F1 moved to sanction Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. The sport’s governing body announced that the Russian Grand Prix, originally scheduled for September 23-25, could not be held in the current circumstances. Shortly afterward, it terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix promoted, meaning that Russia will not have a race in the future, an F1 statement announced. Meanwhile, Haas and its F1 team terminated the contract of its Russian driver Nikita Mazepin as well as its title sponsor Uralkali, a Russian fertilizer producer part-owned by Mazepin’s oligarch father, Dmitry, as reported by CNN.
Hamilton and Verstappen - are two names that became synonymous with one another over the course of the 2021 season. That year eventually become known as perhaps one of the greatest seasons due to the extraordinarily close title fight between the two competitors. The young buck versus the old lion - a tale as old as time as Verstappen has emerged as perhaps the only driver even remotely capable of challenging Hamilton’s dominance on the asphalt. Much to the delight of many F1 fans, it seems as though this duel will continue further into the years. During their season-long duel in 2021, the duo has crashed into each other three times - at Silverstone, Monza, and Saudi Arabia.
The last race was even more dramatic as the two-headed into the final Grand Prix of the season level in the race for the world championship. During the final Grand Prix, Verstappen secured pole position in qualifying but Hamilton overtook him as they rounded the first corner and held a commanding lead for what seemed to be much of the race.
The title seemed all but decided when a late safety car restarted the race with Verstappen just behind on newer, faster tires. Needless to say, this unfortunate turn of events caused controversy and cost Hamilton the championship - earning Verstappen his first one.
The youthful upstart versus the more established veteran - it’s a tale as old as time as Verstappen and Hamilton are on opposite ends of their career - one nearing the end of his career and one only beginning to secure his place in history.
2022 F1 Rule Changes
It’s been a long time since F1 has introduced such sweeping new regulations governing the design of cars. The new regulations aim to make overtaking easier by shifting the aerodynamics from the wings to underneath the car. Simply by redesigning the cars and shifting the principal site of aerodynamics to underneath the car, F1 hopes to reduce the impact of dirty air and help cajole overtaking.
Recent studies estimate that these 2022 cars will only lose 4% of their downforce within three car lengths of the car in front and 18% within one car length.
2021 F1 drivers with the 2022 F1 car | Photo from mansworldindia.com
Unfortunately, these are just numbers and we have yet to see the effects take place for ourselves. During testing, Pierre Gasly and Hamilton had provided a preview as they were briefly side-by-side along the track. "It was interesting also to follow and just to get some data and feeling following other cars... we kind of overtook each other a couple of times, stayed close to each other -- and it was definitely an improvement, so I think racing should be quite fun this year," Gasly told F1
Of course, with motorsport being a spectator-first business, these changes are welcomed with open arms for many fanatics. It will introduce more changes and excitement into the 2022 season if done correctly.
Some Notable Schedule Changes
Thursday is no longer media day
Traditionally, teams would have most of their staff at the track from first thing on Thursday morning, with media duties taking up a large part of the day. However, the pre-race press conference has now been moved to Friday morning - to allow drivers and their teams to fly in on Wednesday or early Thursday morning. This simple change is much more accommodating given the current travel restrictions that many companies still have in place.
F1 Team Principals | Photo from formula1.com
Team Bosses Speak on Saturday
With the driver’s press conference now open on Friday, running for over two hours and finishing 90 minutes before the first practice, it’s been announced that the Team Principals’ press conference will be moved to Saturday, 1.5 hours before Free Practice 3. The Final practice will continue to be the first F1 track action on Saturday, with qualifying following a couple of hours late.
Sunday Remains Unchanged
All that said, the highlight of the weekend - the Grand Prix - continues to be the showpiece event on Sunday, though the exact times may depend on the race location and time zones. The driver’s parade - where we have all 20 drivers jump on a low-loader truck - remains and will go on two hours before the lights go out.
Racing Predictions For The Year
As with many other sports in the world, predictions and guessing games are at the heart of it all. There are too many factors that come into play that not even seasoned scouts and veterans can accurately predict who will win in any given year. That doesn’t mean we’ll stop trying. It’s all fun and games on the asphalt and we love to discuss all sorts of crazy possibilities for any given year. Let’s hop into and discuss some of the craziest theories from around the internet in this section.
Who will win the F1 Drivers’ Championship?
Despite the many factors that come into play, there are still three running leaders for the championship - and two of those three are far and above ahead of the pack. They are as follows: Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, and darkhorse Charles Leclerc.
2021 World Champion Max Verstappen | Photo from thesportsrush.com
Max Verstappen needs no introduction. The Red Bull man is just a phenomenal driver who can win many more championships without even driving. In 2021, Verstappen proved himself a deserving champion when the title came about because he drove exceptionally for an entire season. He showed real and consistent world-beating form throughout 2021 - which many people expect him to bring into 2022 as he begins the campaign for his second title.
7-time world champion Lewis Hamilton | Photo from @F1 twitter
With regards to Hamilton, his message is loud and clear “I’m back and stronger than ever”, he said in a recent interview. At 37 years old, Lewis Hamilton has very little to prove to lock his name in the F1 hall of fame. None of us can fully appreciate what it takes to be Lewis Hamilton and to be as dominant as he was for so long. With controversy still surrounding the end of 2021, though, he seems to be more motivated than ever.
Charles Leclerc | Photo from inquirer.net
Charles Leclerc already made a fantastic opening on the Formula One season-opener for the Bahrain Grand Prix after reigning champion Max Verstappen limped out with electrical issues two laps before reaching the end. Leclerc kept his cool when he and Verstappen exchanged the lead five times in two laps during a furious start to the race and it ended up to be a great day for Ferrari as Carlos Sainz came through giving the organization the top two slots on the first day.
Where can I watch F1?
Premier Sports will continue to carry live coverage of every F1 race weekend, with the qualifying and the race broadcast both on the Premier Sports channel. Make sure to tune in from the comforts of your own home within Crown Asia homes. As the leading home developer with countless homes and lots for sale within the country, enjoy race weekends with friends and family from the comfort of your own home. Our luxurious homes will surely provide enough space for this and, if not, there’s no shame in taking the party outdoors in our safe and well-managed Crown Asia properties.