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The 2022 Formula 1 Season (by Atencia )

With the 2022 Formula 1 Season coming to an end this upcoming Sunday, we can look back at how the first season with new regulations has been, as most of the most interesting parts are already behind us. The world champion in both the Drivers’ Championship and the Constructors’ Championship are already decided ahead of the final race. 


There was a lot of excitement during the build-up to the start of the season in March. Seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton had more or less disappeared from the surface of earth following the
controversial end to the 2021 season, an end which led to the
race director first being given a different job before ultimately
being let go from FIA. There were rumours about
Hamilton considering retirement, despite having multiple years left on his newly signed contract with Mercedes. However, when testing came around, he was back, perhaps more motivated than he had been for years. 

Another hot topic during preseason was the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, just a few weeks before the start of the season. Why? Firstly, the American F1 team, Haas, had a Russian driver in its 2022 lineup, namely the controversial and arguably unqualified Nikita Mazepin, the son of a Russian oligarch. Secondly, the 2022 season was initially scheduled to be historic, having 23 races on the calendar, and one of the races was set to Sochi, Russia. Haas decided to terminate the UralKali (company owned by Mazepin’s father) and Mazepin’s contract with the team. The FIA announced that the Russian GP was cancelled, and that there would be no races in Russia in the foreseeable future. With the departure of Mazepin, one of the 20 seats in Formula 1 was without a driver. The media was able to speculate for a few days about who would get the seat, which ultimately was given to Kevin Magnussen, a Danish former F1-driver who had spent most of his career with Haas, leaving the sport at the end of 2020 as Haas decided to sign Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. 

First half of the season 

The first five races of the season provided the F1-fans with false hopes as it looked like the 2022 season would be as tight and exciting as the 2021 season had been. Ferrari and Red Bull seemed to be quite even, with the four drivers all being potential championship winners. Mercedes seemed to be dethroned after having dominated the sport for what seemed like forever, having won all the Constructors’ Championships since 2014, and the Drivers’ Championships from 2014 and up to 2020. Mercedes looked slow, struggling in the midfield, while Ferrari and Red Bull were impossible to catch for the other teams on the grid. 

The Ferrari fans, the Tifosi, were hopeful, would this season finally be their year? These hopes were quickly crushed, already at the 7th race, a pattern had emerged, and this pattern was that Ferrari still had one of the worst, if not the worst, strategies on the grid, and that the unreliability issues Red Bull had had at the start were pretty much solved, which resulted in pure dominance. Ferrari was still the clear number 2 team on the grid, but the Tifosi slowly understood that this season would be full of disappointment, a tradition at this point. Max Verstappen, the 2021 driver champion, absolutely dominated after the awful* start of the season, in the first three races, he had to retire the car two times, winning the one time he managed to finish the race. 

What about the midfield and the back of the grid? As the fans started to understand that Red Bull was going to absolutely dominate the season, the midfield battles became a source of desperately needed excitement. Of course, the Verstappen and Red Bull fans had little to complain about, but the fans of the other teams, and F1-enjoyers in general, are not as excited watching yet another team dominate the sport. Although Mercedes struggled at the start of the season, the team slowly emerged as a solid number 3 in the Constructors’, as their drivers, particularly George Russell, would frequently capitalise when the top two teams had mistakes. Thus, the closest battle is in the midfield, the battle over “best of the rest” of the drivers, i.e., the best driver who is not driving for one of the top 6 teams, which translates to the 7th place in the Drivers’ Championship, and the 4th place in the Constructors’ Championship. At the very start of the season, this battle was very open, as McLaren saw setbacks compared to the past two-three seasons, Alpine had reliability issues, AlphaTauri had been reduced to a backmarker and Williams were back to old habits, consistently struggling to score points. Haas and Alfa Romeo both seemed promising the first races, but as the season progressed, they would fall out of the top of the midfield as McLaren and Alpine in particular started solving their issues. 

Alpine did still struggle with reliability, while the biggest flaw for McLaren was, arguably, the massive difference between the performance of the two drivers, Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. While Ricciardo would struggle to score points, showing no pace whatsoever, Norris would be the only driver from a team that is not top 3, to score a podium in the first half of the season, managing to get a 3rd place at Imola, the 4th race of the season. At the same race, Ricciardo failed to score points in the Sunday race, although he managed to score points at the Saturday sprint race. 

Second half of the season 

Technically, the second half of the season started before the summer break. However, nothing particularly noteworthy occurred around the middle of the season, each race made it increasingly certain that Verstappen would win the championship without much issue. The midfield remained far behind the top teams, with one exception, namely, Mercedes emerging as a challenger for second place in the Constructors’, as Ferrari and Mercedes became closer, while Red Bull started to really run away with both titles. The Singaporean race was the first race where Verstappen could mathematically secure the World Championship, but he was unable to do it. The second chance to secure the Championship was the Japanese Grand Prix, and despite the confusion at the end of the race due to rules that the teams seemingly had misunderstood, Max Verstappen became the champion with 4 races left on the calendar. At the following race, in Austin, Texas, Red Bull managed to secure the World Constructors’s Championship, which was the 5th title in the history of the team, and the first since the 2013 season. 

For a long time, it looked like Ferrari had secured second place in the championship, but this changed following the races in the Americas, with Mercedes managing to close the gap between them and Ferrari. Before the final race on the 20th of November, only 24 points separates Ferrari and Mercedes, thus, the second place is still open. If Mercedes has a good race in Abu Dhabi, the team could potentially surpass Ferrari at the finish line. 

Before the final race, there is theoretically three possible drivers that could finish second in the Drivers’ Championship, although Russell finishing 2nd would require that both Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) and Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) fail to score any points, and Russell would additionally have to win the race and set the fastest lap to get 26 points in total to surpass them. Pérez and Leclerc have the same amount of points ahead of the final race, 290 points. 4th to 6th place is still to some degree undecided as well.  

As for the midfield teams and backmarkers, the most significant thing that happened during the second half of the season was that the fight for 4th in the constructors became tighter, and it looks like Alpine will finish 4th and McLaren 5th. Based on the point totals following the Brazilian Grand Prix, it is mathematically not possible that someone other than Lando Norris will finish 7th in the driver’s championship, thus he will be the “best of the rest” of the drivers. One exciting moment in the second half of the season occurred at the Brazilian Grand Prix, when Kevin Magnussen managed to secure his first ever pole position due to shifting weather conditions during Q3 of the qualification. This was the first ever pole for Haas, and the first time ever that an American team had secured a pole position in the history of the sport. 

Other notable things that occurred during the second half of the season was that McLaren decided to buy Ricciardo out of his contract to sign Oscar Piastri, likely because they were not satisfied with Ricciardo’s performance during his stint with the team. This got a lot of attention in the media, not directly because Ricciardo was bought out, but rather that Alpine had announced that Piastri would drive for them next season, which Piastri had publicly denied on Twitter shortly after the Alpine announcement. The contract Piastri had with Alpine, as a member of their “academy”, and the contract he signed with McLaren, were assessed by a board, and it was ultimately decided that the binding contract belonged to McLaren. 

The Alpine seat had opened up because Fernando Alonso signed with Aston Martin, after Sebastian Vettel announced that he would retire by the end of the season. The Alpine seat was ultimately given to Pierre Gasly, a driver under contract with AlphaTauri, opening a seat at AlphaTauri. AlphaTauri signed Nyck de Vries. Williams announced that Nicholas Latifi would not drive for them beyond the current season, and they later announced that Logan Sargeant will drive for them, granted that he scores enough super licence points to be allowed to drive in Formula 1. 

Hopefully, the next season will provide even tighter racing and bring the field closer to each other, regardless of what team (if any) someone cheers for, the best for the sport is that the championship
remains open as long as possible, ideally with several drivers
(not only two) fighting for the title. It has been a while since
that was the case.

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Comment on the article The 2022 Formula 1 Season.
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Private wrote on 18-11 13:16:
Myrcella wrote:
Klasifikovany wrote:
Myrcella wrote:
loved to see russell win his first race in brazil. hoping this marks the beginning of a new winning generation. hope to see lando norris, carlos sainz, charles leclerc do even better next season 🤞🤞
I have to be honest and admit that I am a passionate hater of Mercedes, so I didn't finish watching the race in Brazil because it was painful as a McLaren fan. Once Lando dnf'ed I was out tbh, like nah I'm not going to ruin my evening any further 
i totally get the frustration after mclaren's 2 dnfs, being a mclaren fan myself (in addition to mercedes). i just love the sport in general, and seeing the battle between verstappen and hamilton last year made me a mercedes fan. the respectfulness of the team in comparison to some others (@verstappen...). hamilton just seems like such a wholesome dude imo. lando is also a big fave of mine though 
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Private wrote on 16-11 22:26:
Wug wrote:
Myrcella wrote:
loved to see russell win his first race in brazil. hoping this marks the beginning of a new winning generation. hope to see lando norris, carlos sainz, charles leclerc do even better next season 🤞🤞
I have to be honest and admit that I am a passionate hater of Mercedes, so I didn't finish watching the race in Brazil because it was painful as a McLaren fan. Once Lando dnf'ed I was out tbh, like nah I'm not going to ruin my evening any further 
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Private wrote on 16-11 22:08:
Myrcella wrote:
loved to see russell win his first race in brazil. hoping this marks the beginning of a new winning generation. hope to see lando norris, carlos sainz, charles leclerc do even better next season 🤞🤞
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Atencia wrote on 15-11 22:07:
Atencia wrote:
This great article was written by @Klasifikovany!
Anyone F1 fans here? 🏎💨🏁

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