It’s lights out and away we go…! The highly anticipated 2022 Formula 1 season is finally underway! All teams have had to design totally new cars to conform with the new regulations, put in place to make racing easier for drivers and increase the spectacle of the sport. Here’s some of the key points about each team on the grid, as the dawn of this new era commences:
The Silver Arrows enter 2022 as Constructor Champions, however, with such a dramatic change in regulations, there is no guarantee that they will be at the forefront of the championship battle this year. The Brackley-based outfit also opted to swap Valtteri Bottas for the young protégé that is George Russell. The Brit showed excellent form when he replaced Lewis Hamilton for the Sakhir Grand Prix in 2020, but how will he compare going wheel-to-wheel with the seven-time champion this season? The Mercedes Formula 1 car is back to its iconic silver livery, turning heads with its ultra-thin sidepods. During testing, it was clear that the W13 suffers from porpoising more than the other cars on the grid, but will the team be able to tame their beast before the competition gets too far ahead in the championship?
Red Bull will hope they can translate their success in 2021 into this new season. Backed by a renewed sponsorship deal with technology giant, Oracle, and with Verstappen and Perez still at the helm, they will likely once again be battling for title contention. However, with both cars suffering from fuel system issues during the Bahrain Grand Prix – forcing them into a double retirement, will they be able to get on top of their problems and rise from the bottom of the championship order?
The Maranello-based outfit has shown positive signs even since pre-season testing. This was reinforced when the prancing horses went on to take a 1-2 finish at the inaugural Grand Prix of the 2022 championship. Their driver line-up remains unchanged; however, their F1-75 has been adorned in a livery reminiscent of the 1990s and utilises a unique sidepod philosophy. The Ferrari power unit appears to be the best on the grid this year, with all cars powered by the Italian brand seeming to be competitive. Will the historic marque be able to win their first drivers’ title since 2007?
Haas put very little effort into their 2021 challenger, instead opting to focus on their VF22 chassis. The team faced problems once again not only by their freight getting delayed for the Bahrain test, but also with the future of their driver Nikita Mazepin. In the end, the American-owned team decided to swap the Russian for Kevin Magnussen, who drove for the outfit between 2017-2020. The Dane was on the pace straight away, both during testing and at the first Grand Prix of the season – managing to qualify in the top 10 and cross the finish line in P5. Mick Schumacher also had his best finish in his Formula 1 career – just one position away from the points.
This Swiss squad announced that they would be changing their name from ‘Alfa Romeo Racing’ to ‘Alfa Romeo F1 Team’. What was possibly more significant though was the arrival of ex-Mercedes driver, Valtteri Bottas and Formula 2 ace Zhou Guanyu. The team opted to shake up their livery this season too. They seem to be making progress, with Bottas even qualifying next to his old teammate on the grid and both drivers managing to finish the Bahrain Grand Prix in the points.
McLaren entered 2022 with high hopes after their trajectory from previous seasons. However, problems during testing and restricted running for Daniel Ricciardo who contracted Covid meant that the Woking-based constructor has plenty of work to do. The team opted for a modified livery this year, one with influences from their much-loved Gulf livery from Monaco. However, with Ricciardo and Norris qualifying 18th and 13th respectively on the grid for Bahrain and unable to score any points, performances that resemble that of Monza 2021 seem a mere fantasy for them now.
Despite the sad passing of the team’s founder, Sir Frank Williams, they managed to make good progress in 2021. With investment from Dorilton Capital who took over the running of the organisation in 2020 and Alex Albon now part of the Woking-outfit, they are in a solid position to continue this good form. However, the FW44’s performance during the first Grand Prix of the season has shown that they need to unlock more pace if they are to once again be in contention for scoring any points.
Newly appointed Mike Krack takes over the role as team principal with the departure of Otmar Szafnauer. Austrian hydration company, BWT, are no longer sponsoring the British brand, meaning that the livery of the AMR22 now has the addition of lime to compliment the iconic racing green paint scheme. Aramco join as ‘strategic partner’ for the Silverstone-based constructor, with Stroll and Vettel remaining as drivers. However, with the German testing positive for Covid and forced to sit out the start of the season, fellow countryman Nico Hulkenberg took the helm of the AMR22 instead. The result from Bahrain shows that they have still got a long way to go if they are to become a title-winning contender anytime soon.
The Faenza outfit had a strong season in 2021, thanks to some outstanding performances from Pierre Gasly. The Frenchman was able to get his AT03 into the final qualifying session in Bahrain but had to retire from the race when his car caught on fire. This left Yuki Tsunoda as the sole remaining RBPT-powered car, but still managed to grasp a top-10 finish.
Alpine enters 2022 with a few changes. Marcin Budkowski was replaced with Otmar Szafnauer – an appointment which led to BWT becoming the title sponsor for the team too. The A522 cars will be adorned in a special pink BWT branded livery for the first two races of the year. With both drivers finishing in the top-10 in Bahrain, the team seems to be in stronger form than what was potentially thought at the beginning of the year. However, there is plenty of work to be done if Fernando Alonso is to win a third title with the Enstone-based squad before he bows out of Formula 1 for the final time.
That's your lot...
So that’s our teams for the 2022 Formula 1 season. With a 23-race calendar, there is bound to be plenty of action over the course of the year! Will the resurgent Ferrari make it a historic season for the Italian marque, or will the likes of Red Bull and Mercedes once again reign supreme by the time the championship concludes in Abu Dhabi later this year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments…