Formula 1 fans have been waiting for the start of the new season for months now.
Following last year’s epic finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix where Red Bull’s Max Verstappen pipped Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton to the 2021 Championship, fans have been wanting more. Well the wait is now over with the 2022 Formula 1 Season about the start.
This year’s championship promises to be one of its most open yet due to new regulations, which were designed to encourage closer racing and passing opportunities. There’s also sweeping changes amongst the teams and officials, which will provide an interesting dynamic for both competitors and fans of the sport.
Here are some of the reasons why we’re excited about the 2022 Formula 1 Season:
A New Pecking Order
Judging by how testing and free practice sessions at the Bahrain GP have gone thus far, signs point to a changing of the guard of sorts. Eight-time Constructors’ Champions, Mercedes seem to be on the backfoot with their 2022 challenger thus far. Ferrari is teasing a resurgence of form with the F1-75 whilst Red Bull continues to be mighty competitive with reigning driver’s champ, Max Verstappen behind the wheel. Granted things may change once the season starts and no one should count the Silver Arrows out yet, considering their expertise in developing their car as the season progresses.
A Competitive Midfield
Based on Bahrain’s FP1 and FP2 as well as pre-season testing, it’s anybody’s guess who will be vying for honours in the midfield this season. By all accounts, the 2022 Formula 1 season will see teams shifting up and down the order. Alpine, Alfa Romeo, Alpha Tauri have shown some pace and consistency as do, surprisingly, Haas. The F1 minnows, who have struggled at the back of the field in past seasons, is looking to claw their way up the order on the grid. There’s also no discounting McLaren and Aston Martin being in the mix as well.
New Driver Dynamics
Several teams will welcome new driver pairings this year. Needles to say, the Mercedes pairing of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will be viewed with keen interest. Earmarked as a future driver’s champion, Russell will race alongside the 7-time World Champion. Alfa Romeo will also see a new driver line-up vying for valuable points. Former Silver Arrows driver, Valtteri Bottas steps into the lead driver role with Chinese rookie driver, Guanyu Zhou. Returning this year also are Kevin Magnussen who returns to Haas, lining up alongside Mick Schumacher. Former Red Bull driver Alex Albon also makes his return to the grid partnering Nicholas Latifi at Williams.
Uncertainties On Track
Changes to the rules and regulations will bring numerous question marks to the teams competing in the 2022 Formula 1 season. With completely redesigned cars, new 18-inch tyres as well as a rotating race directors. With former director Michael Masi out following last year’s controversial 2021 title-deciding race, the duties now fall unto Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas who will take turns alternating as this year’s race directors.
Uncertainties Off Track
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The Russia-Ukraine crisis as well as Covid-19 has already affected the season. The Sochi GP has officially been cancelled and Haas has also jettisoned its Russian sponsor, Uralkali along with driver Nikita Mazepin, the son of owner Dmitry Mazepin. Covid-19 will also continue to play a role in this year’s championship. Daniel Ricciardo missed vital testing time in Bahrain when he contracted the virus. However the Aussie driver will be fit and ready for the season opening race. Sebastien Vettel however will not. After testing positive, the German driver has been replaced by Nico Hulkenberg for the season opener in Bahrain.
A Long Hard Season
2022 is going to be one of the longest seasons ever for Formula 1. A total of 22 races will be held across the globe, taking place from March to November. With Covid restrictions lifted, the sport will now be returning to Australia, Canada, Japan, and Singapore. The 2022 Formula 1 season will also mark the debut of the brand new Miami Grand Prix in May. There’s also the question mark surrounding the 25 September race, previously occupied by the Russian GP. It remains to be seen if the FIA will schedule a replacement venue, which will bring the calendar to 23 races.
(Main image: Alpine F1 Racing; Featured image: Ferrari F1
This story first appeared on Augustman Singapore