top of page

F1 2022 Predictions


The world's most famous motorsport category is just days away from “it's lights out and away we go”! But what to expect from this new season, filled with anxiety but also uncertainty?


On March 20, the grid will be set with all 20 cars aligned for the very first time in the year, for the happiness of its millions of fans around the globe. With the new regulations imposed by FIA to promote a bigger approximation of cars and increased number of overtakes during the race, moreover, putting in much extra excitement for the show. The first three-day official round of testing in Barcelona last week has already demonstrated a few glimpses of what is yet to come, however, there's still another series to happen in Bahrain next week exactly where the first Grand Prix will take place. This may serve as a final opportunity for teams and drivers to adjust final details before real action comes in.


Practices in Spain gave the entire motorsport community some in-depth live visualisation of the cars themselves for the very first time, which is the most dubious aspect of this season as they mark a whole new era within Formula 1. Apart from the most evident brand-new enclosed 18" Pirelli tyres and wings' new design, some teams managed to still be able to differentiate themselves even more, such as Ferrari. The Tifosi are betting on something never seen before, a modular nose divided into two parts that open a range of possibilities for aerodynamic updates but most importantly, avoid time-consuming FIA security checks. The part that needs so is always fixed in the car and does not change at all, while the changeable one doesn't require such examinations. This could be a key factor for the Reds to go back into the victory path. Another curious factor emerged, but now for all teams, attending for the name of porpoising. This is the term used to describe the occurrence of the car bouncing up and down on the straights, losing speed as well as damaging the chassis. Not solving this issue as quickly as possible could interfere with performance, something even more frustrating for the teams that abdicated part (if not most) of last season just to focus on the development for 2022.



Front Office

The new settings for this year can also modify the teams' power ranking, so does it mean that Mercedes’s long-term dynasty is gone? Well, that's not what it looks like… Silver Arrows went 1-2 on the final day with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell respectively, British duo's times for this were also the fastest of the entire first testing, very promising indeed. The crowd is excited to see how Hamilton's new partner will adapt to the team and if he really will be able to unleash his full potential by driving a top car. Russell will be crucial for Mercedes to defend their title as the top constructor as well as becoming one more obstacle for Verstappen. Moving onto the opposing side with critics from the fans, there was a not so enthusiastic Red Bull that finished as an intermediary during days 1 and 2, although managed to do their part on the last one with Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen finishing on third and fourth position, respectively. There is a big question mark on top of the Mexican as his inconsistency from last season made him into some unpredictable driver. For the moment, looking forward to another fight for the title between those two seems to be reasonable, however, the car advantage that was once carried by RBR belongs to Mercedes now (Barcelona testing gave a few reasons to believe that).


In addition, fans should also wait for more Hamilton vs Verstappen battles as both are willing to demonstrate their skills, but for different purposes. After all the controversies that surrounded the last GP of 2021 in Abu Dhabi, the Dutch want to prove why he deserved to be crowned world champion and can defend his title, while the British want to assure he continues to be the best driver in Formula 1 and should have been awarded the trophy last year.


What thrilled spectators in Catalunya was the dispute between Ferrari and McLaren. Lando Norris finished P1 and Charles Leclerc P2 on the first day, but things flipped on the second day with the Monégasque reaching P1 and Daniel Ricciardo getting P3. It is expected for both teams to continue their direct rivalry throughout the season, something that has been going on for a while although now much more intensely.



Ferrari has had significant development with this new car, combined with Leclerc's talent and surprisingly amazing performances from Carlos Sainz since the end of last year can certainly put them ahead of the British team. Mattia Binotto (Team Principal) also has to make sure his drivers’ internal dispute remains within the standards of the sport. Going even further and considering that everything works well for Ferrari, the team could maybe and just maybe, dream about challenging Mercedes and Red Bull for both constructors' and drivers' championships. Many seem to believe their early start of development for this year's car might pay off in the end.


At the same time, McLaren having a much more experienced Norris and expecting a better relationship between Ricciardo and his car is their bet for suppressing the Maranello team. The 22-year-old British has recently renewed his contract until the end of 2025, a sign that the team envisions him as a strong candidate for becoming World Champion in the next few years, something way similar to what they did with Hamilton in the past. Together with that, consistent performances throughout most of last year, his notable talent and the promising new car might be some indicators pointing towards a much more present Norris in the disputes for pole positions, podiums and even victories. Furthermore, Ricciardo has been showing some good performances since the last races of 2021, indicating that the turbulent moments he had at the beginning of this relationship with McLaren are long gone.



Halfway Race

Now going towards the middle, Alpine didn't disappoint in its first season in F1 after changing names from Renault and was able to deliver to their supporters with consistent performances, including the victory of Esteban Ocon in Hungary and the third place with Fernando Alonso in Qatar. Both team and drivers must be kept an eye out, especially after the Spanish affirmed: “I returned to F1 because of these new regulations.”. Still, even with all this anxiety people cannot expect the Dieppe-based team to dream much further than that, it is much more a year of consolidation for them rather than going beyond. Their performances in Barcelona last week demonstrate that the best position didn't reach above eighth place on day 1 of testing.



When travelling borders and landing in Italy, specifically in Faenza, there is AlphaTauri. This Red Bull subsidiary had a few good moments in 2021 with their best performance being Pierre Gasly's podium on the Azerbaijan GP, although what was present in Alpine most of the time lacked for them, consistency. Yuki Tsunoda started his rookie season last year brilliantly by finishing P9 in his very first official race in the category but from that moment after he had some terrible moments on track missing a significant number of points, which left Gasly by himself during most of the season with all the pressure on his shoulders. The French driver has already demonstrated that he can handle it, a second-place on testing day 2 just made this more evident but a little bit more of his Japanese teammate's help would certainly be appreciated if AlphaTauri wants to move away from simply just being a Red Bull subsidiary.



Aston Martin was able to make the seventh position in the constructors' championship although some argue that it could, or even should, have been lower. Their first season in Formula 1 was marked with numerous DNFs (did not finish), alongside an unrecognisable Lance Stroll that had pathetic performances throughout the year. Sebastian Vettel didn't go much ahead of him, with a third place in the Hungarian Grand Prix in which he was later disqualified but conquering last season's overtake award. Apart from the critics, this is a real shame considering the success that its predecessor Racing Point made in the recent past as well as considering that both of their drivers are very capable of delivering more on track. Stroll didn't show any signal of change until the moment even though Vettel appears to have started 2022 in a better shape. The four-time world champion managed to finish within the top 6 in all three days of testing in Spain. Given that the German and the Canadian reach significantly more syntony when it comes to better performance, Aston Martin will certainly stand with more chances to compete with Alpine and AlphaTauri. This must happen because investors and fans expect way more from them.



Retardants

These are promising times for Williams, with new regulations, new car, new driver, what could go wrong? Starting from the principle that their choice of substitution for George Russell is someone who left F1 due to lack of performance two years ago, Alexander Albon. At the time, the Thai-British was driving one of the best cars on the grid (Red Bull) although he was not able to help his teammate Verstappen nor fight for podiums with the team. The uncertainty upon him is so much that for many, Nyck de Vries (current Formula E World Champion) should have been chosen in his place. In addition to that, his present colleague Nicholas Latifi got beaten up by Russell during almost all of the 2021 season in both qualifying and races. Regardless of how all this seems to worry the team's supporters, Albon and Latifi made eighth and ninth places on their third day of preseason in Barcelona. The two drivers aren't bad themselves and with proper guidance from their boss Jost Capito, it might be a smooth season for Williams.



Alfa Romeo with their brand-new driver lineup should be kind of interesting throughout the year, with Valtteri Bottas alongside rookie Guanyu Zhou. The Finnish was a sort of unanimity when it came to fulfilling the spot left by his compatriot Kimi Räikkönen, however, this feeling wasn't mutual when the Hinwil-based team decided for the Chinese in replacement for Antonio Giovinazzi, with many believing this chance should have been given to Oscar Piastri, the 2021 Formula 2 champion and Alpine's reserve driver. Moreover, what has been a matter of disagreement are the rumours that Zhou suppressed the competition due to his sponsors allegedly being willing to pay millions for Alfa Romeo. Controversies apart, the duo performed poorly on all three days of testing as their best was a tenth place for each on days 1 and 2. This doesn't surprise at all as the team never really promised any notorious developments towards this new regulation. What should be expected from them is a season very similar to the last one, a portion of advancements to the second round of qualifying and a portion of deceptions by falling behind in the first round. The real difference this year is the factor Bottas in which can make a difference to make the team stand out.


From top to bottom, Haas, unfortunately, managed to be insignificant all 2021 season long, at least from the fans’ perspective. The Americans had their drivers involved in many incidents and domestic dilemmas as Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin faced some disagreements on some Grands Prix, which disrupted the team's strategy quite a lot. Even with all this passed, the expectations for them are certainly low because the car is not as competitive as the others. Their best time in all days of testing resulted in 15th place. Despite that, this new season might be a great opportunity for Schumacher to give the category more of his talent, which has led him towards winning the 2020 Formula 2 Championship. The surprising addition of Kevin Magnussen in replacement of Mazepin (who was sacked due to the Russian attack upon Ukraine) could change things a bit. As a much more experienced professional in the category and even already having driven for Haas a couple of years ago, the Danish could be an important factor for Schumacher's development and help the team maintain itself a little more in the middle of the grid, which he managed sometimes in the past.


In any possible scenario, there is no way of guaranteeing what will happen as this is a season that remains surrounded by uncertainty majorly due to the new technical regulations affecting the cars dramatically. Even though spectacular races, on-track fierce battles and incredibly fast cars will be a part of it, a show that shall not be missed in any circumstances.


Comments


bottom of page