After one of the most exciting F1 seasons in 2021 what's in store for 2022?
After one of the most exciting seasons in formula 1 history we are on the verge of the season opener in Bahrain, after 96 days (as of writing) since the last f1 race in Abu Dhabi just how do all the teams stack up? What do we have to look forward to?
The battle at the front
The championship has been fought during the hybrid era mainly internally between Mercedes drivers but occasionally in 2018 and 2021 between Mercedes and one other constructor. Well this year is may be early days but it looks as though we are going to get at least a 3 way fight. That being between Ferrari, Redbull and Mercedes, and what's more is that each team has a strong driver pairing with George Russell joining in at Mercedes. Judging from pre season testing and free practice at Bahrain it appears as though Ferrari and Redbull have the best cars respectively without too much between them except Ferrari perhaps being a nose ahead. Mercedes look a little step back but I wouldn't count them out, there's plenty of sand in Bahrain to fill sandbags with! This season looks as though we may genuinely get potentially a 4-6 driver slog out for the championship with a tightly contested constructors championship too.
Yes new regulations mean we get drastically new cars. The primary reason for this has been to improve close racing by reducing the effect turbulent air has on following cars. This has been done by the regulations attempting to force dirty air higher up so the turbulence doesn't affect the following car. It will be difficult to see if this works until the first few races are under our belt but after watching some of the cars following each other in testing I can see positive signs that there is a good chance we can get some real close wheel to wheel racing again!
Mercedes dramatic nopod sidepods in testing - (Getty images)
Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari with its pooling side pods - (Getty images)
In addition to the benefits the cars also look drastically better with larger diameter rims and a more futuristic smoother flow to them the cars look like something from tron, something I certainly don't object to! To make it even better all 11 teams have had fundamental different designs meaning even the car's don't all look alike! Whether it be Ferrari's big bath tub side pods, or Mercedes no pods every team has different answers to different problems. Redbull have developed a sculpted sidepod with a complex barge board area while Aston martin have a huge cooling vents across their side pods there will be no mixing cars up this year!
Ok some of them aren't exactly new but it is nice to see some familiar returning faces. As for the full new drivers we have Guanyu Zhou the first Chinese driver to arrive in Formula 1. The returning drivers we are treated to is Alex Albon in the Williams and Kevin Magnusson with a late call up to the Haas team which is the most exciting return in my opinion as this offers a true benchmark for us to see Mick Schumachers performance.
The only true new face Guanyu Zhou - (formula 1)
Lewis Hamilton vs George Russell
Yes after years of waiting George Russell has finally secured his mercedes seat which will see him going directly against the 7 time champion with equal machinery. This will be an interesting dynamic to watch, will George take this time to learn from Lewis or will he place a target on Lewis' back to see if George really is as quick as his reputation suggests. This dynamic may push each driver to their best but Toto Wolff must know the risk he has that there is a chance his two drivers may not work in as much resonance as the Lewis Hamilton Valterri Bottas pairing.
George Russell And Lewis Hamilton - (Getty images)
Overall there is lots to look forward to for the 2022 F1 season, and after the Abu Dhabi GP formula 1 has got some redemption to do with the eyes of the fans. With how this season has been poised I think we are in safe hands and we should be able to enjoy a fantastic season to watch!