F1 2022 season: Everything you need to know

    Here are all the details ahead of the 2022 season as a new era in Formula 1 begins


    The start of the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship is here, with a new generation of cars expected to create closer and more exciting racing throughout the field.

    Last year’s title race was a thriller, albeit a controversial affair, as Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton went head to head in a battle for the ages.

    Verstappen came out on top following a shock decision by race director Michael Masi, ,who did not fully comply with the sporting regulations in order to get one more lap of racing at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    What has happened since the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP

    Before we get into the upcoming season, it’s hard to avoid the drama from Abu Dhabi. The FIA investigated the Safety Car restart at the 2021 F1 finale and their conclusions led to Masi being removed as race director.

    He has been replaced by World Endurance Championship race director Eduardo Freitas and DTM race director Niels Wittich who will both share the role in 2022.

    Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes Mercedes bullied the FIA into getting rid of Masi and the saga continued to make the headlines throughout the winter.

    With the season-opening Bahrain GP now on the horizon, it’s time to focus on the new season.

    Who is the F1 2022 defending champion?

    Verstappen will defend the F1 Drivers’ Championship for the first time in his career, with the number one on his RB18.

    It’s the first time since 2014 that the number one has been used because Hamilton carried his iconic No.44 when he was World Champion and Nico Rosberg retired in 2016.

    Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez talk during the Red Bull Racing RB18 launch at (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

    Mercedes will look to win a record-extending ninth consecutive Constructors’ Championship with Toto Wolff leading the Silver Arrows as team principal.

    F1 2022 calendar – Miami joins the schedule

    F1 plan to have a record-breaking 23-race calendar in 2022, with one event yet to be confirmed following the cancellation of the Russian GP amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

    There is one new Grand Prix this year which is the Miami GP near the Hard Rock Stadium, the home of the NFL‘s Miami Dolphins.

    The Australian, Canadian, Japanese and Singapore GP all return to the F1 calendar after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Qatar, Malaysia’s Sepang International and the Bahrain outer layout are the favourites to replace the cancelled Russian GP.

    Official 2022 F1 calendar

    1Bahrain Grand PrixBahrain International CircuitMarch 18-20
    2Saudi Arabian Grand PrixJeddah Corniche CircuitMarch 25-27
    3Australian Grand PrixAlbert ParkApril 8-10
    4Emilia Romagna Grand PrixImolaApril 22-24
    5Miami Grand PrixMiami International AutodromeMay 6-8
    6Spanish Grand PrixCircuit de Barcelona-CatalunyaMay 20-22
    7Monaco Grand PrixCircuit de MonacoMay 27-29
    8Azerbaijan Grand PrixBaku City CircuitJune 10-12
    9Canadian Grand PrixCircuit Gilles VilleneuveJune 17-19
    10British Grand PrixSilverstoneJuly 1-3
    11Austrian Grand PrixRed Bull RingJuly 8-10
    12French Grand PrixPaul RicardJuly 22-24
    13Hungarian Grand PrixHungaroringJuly 29-31
    14Belgian Grand PrixSpa-FrancorchampsAugust 26-28
    15Dutch Grand PrixZandvoortSeptember 2-4
    16Italian Grand PrixMonzaSeptember 9-11
    17Singapore Grand PrixMarina Bay Street CircuitSeptember 30-October 2
    18Japanese Grand PrixSuzukaOctober 7-9
    19United States Grand PrixCircuit of the AmericasOctober 21-23
    20Mexico City Grand PrixAutodromo Hermanos RodriguezOctober 28-30
    21Sao Paulo Grand PrixInterlagosNovember 11-13
    22Abu Dhabi Grand PrixYas Marina CircuitNovember 18-20
    F1 2022 calendar

    F1 2022 format changes

    In a bid to reduce the workload on the teams, the pre-event press conference and scrutineering have been moved from Thursday to Friday morning.

    This means practice one will now take place in the early afternoon, with practice two at 17:00 at most European races.

    The majority of the events also see Saturday qualifying taking place an hour later than the start time of Sunday’s Grand Prix.

    For example, qualifying for the Monaco GP will be at 16:00 local time, with the race at 15:00 the next day.

    Perhaps the biggest format change is the Q2 tyre rule which has been dropped. In previous years, the top 10 drivers from qualifying were forced to start on the same tyres that got them into Q3.

    But from 2022, they will get a free tyre choice so we may see more strategic variation in the first part of the race.

    Italian Grand Prix sprint qualifying REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

    Will there be sprint races in F1 2022?

    Just like 2021, there will be three sprint events following a dispute over the budget cap and accident damage costs which cut the original plan of six sprint races in half.

    The sprint races will take place at the Emilia Romagna GP (Round 4), Austrian GP (Round 11) and Sao Paulo GP (Round 21).

    A major change to the sprint format is more points will be awarded to the winner of the 100km race, with the top eight drivers scoring points.

    Eight points will be given to the first place driver, which is five more than 2021. The second place driver will receive seven points, with third place awarded six points, continuing down to one point for the eighth place finisher.

    F1’s new points system for shortened races

    In reaction to the controversial 2021 Belgian GP, F1 has changed the points that are given out during races which do not complete the full distance.

    For points to be awarded, at least two laps must be completed without the intervention of the Safety Car or Virtual Safety Car.

    The points system has also changed depending on the race distance that has been completed, with more points handed out for the more laps that have been done.

    Pos.<2 laps2 laps-25%25-50%50-75%75-100%

    F1 2022 driver changes

    There have been few drivers movements for the 2022 season, with just five driver changes from last year.

    Most significantly, George Russell has replaced Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes to make an all-British driver line-up alongside Lewis Hamilton.

    Formula One – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Mercedes’ George Russell REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

    Guanyu Zhou is the only rookie in 2022 as he makes his debut for Alfa Romeo. In fact, Alfa Romeo have completely changed their driver pairing with Bottas joining the Swiss outfit, after Kimi Raikkonen retired and Antonio Giovinazzi made the switch to Formula E.

    Kevin Magnussen made a shock comeback to F1 because of Haas‘ decision to drop Nikita Mazepin, allegedly due to the Mazepin family’s links with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the loss of sponsor Uralkali.

    Alex Albon also returns to the grid with Williams, having acted as Red Bull reserve driver in 2021.

    F1 2022 driver line-up

    MercedesLewis Hamilton44George Russell*63
    Red BullMax Verstappen1Sergio Perez11
    FerrariCharles Leclerc16Carlos Sainz55
    McLarenLando Norris4Daniel Ricciardo3
    AlpineFernando Alonso14Esteban Ocon31
    AlphaTauriPierre Gasly10Yuki Tsunoda22
    Aston MartinSebastian Vettel5Lance Stroll18
    WilliamsNicholas Latifi6Alex Albon*23
    Alfa RomeoValtteri Bottas*77Guanyu Zhou*24
    HaasMick Schumacher47Kevin Magnussen*20
    *denotes new driver to team

    F1 2022 teams

    There are no new teams in F1 this year although, some major title sponsors have joined the sport.

    Red Bull signed a deal with cloud computing giant Oracle worth $300 million over five years to become the team’s title sponsor, after Honda left F1 at the end of 2021.

    Honda‘s departure means Red Bull‘s and AlphaTauri‘s powertrains are officially from Red Bull Powertrains, although the power unit themselves will still be built from Honda‘s base in Sakura, Japan.

    Meanwhile, Aston Martin announced a new partnership with global integrated energy and chemicals company Aramco.

    Red BullRed Bull
    AlphaTauriRed Bull
    Aston MartinMercedes
    Alfa RomeoFerrari

    F1 2022 technical regulation changes – A new era in F1

    The 2022 regulation changes have been made to improve the racing by reducing the loss in downforce when following another car.

    F1’s previous generation car saw drivers lose half of their downforce when running 1.5 seconds behind their rival.

    However, the wider and higher rear wings, simplified bodywork, the banning of barge boards and reintroduction of ground effect mean the loss of downforce will be approximately 10 percent.

    Formula One – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Mercedes’ George Russell REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

    The drivers feedback about following other drivers during testing has been very positive, so the racing is set to be closer than its been for a long time.

    “It still feels pretty good to follow,” said Williams driver Albon. “I feel we’re going to have pretty good racing.

    “[Tyre] degradation we’ll have to see. But you can see there are people with huge degradation. Everyone seems to be degrading quite heavily which will be interesting at the weekend how that plays out.”

    Bigger 18-inch tyres

    Another key change is a move from 13-inch tyres to 18-inch wheels which will have a significant effect on tyre behaviour.

    Tyre degradation appears to be similar to 2021, although many drivers have reported there is less overheating which is another positive factor that can improve the wheel to wheel racing.

    The drivers and teams that can work out how to extract the most performance from the new Pirelli rubber will put themselves in a strong position.

    Formula One – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

    Who impressed in 2022 F1 testing?

    Ferrari and Red Bull stood out from the rest of the field in pre-season testing, with defending champion Verstappen stealing the show on the final day in Bahrain.

    Charles Leclerc appeared to gel with the Ferrari nicely and was able to push the car with relative ease.

    The midfield is set to be tighter than ever, whilst Haas have made a big leap forward as Mick Schumacher and Magnussen went faster than the team’s qualifying laps from last year’s Bahrain GP.

    Who is the favourites for the 2022 F1 World Championship?

    Verstappen has to be the favourite to win the 2022 F1 Drivers’ Championship after an impressive display on the last test day.

    Formula One – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

    The Dutchman is unlikely to dominate though with Leclerc and Carlos Sainz quietly confident about Ferrari‘s chances to end their 14-year wait for a title in F1.

    You cannot rule write off Mercedes though, especially Hamilton who has proved time and time again he has the talent to come back from setbacks and claw himself into championship contention.

    If Mercedes are up there, don’t be surprised to see Russell on the coattails of Hamilton even though he is driving with a top team for the first time in his F1 career.

    The development race will be vital and mistakes will be costly, so if testing is anything to go by, the driver will make the final difference and the teams will have to be on top form to become champions in 2022.


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