F1 in 2022: What’s changing? When are the races? Who are favourites? Essential Q&A for the new season

After the incredible drama of 2021, Formula 1 is preparing for a lot more excitement in 2022 with new rules and cars that only add to the intrigue …; As the preparation continues, let’s answer some of the key questions, recap the key dates, and look forward to the season

Last updated: 01/09/22 23:54


So what exactly is changing for 2022?

A revolution in the rules for the 2022 season means we will see an entirely new generation of cars.

The concept, which marks one of the biggest technical changes in F1 history, has been overhauled in recent years and is, in essence, a streamlined racing car with a striking new look after a drastic aerodynamic overhaul. The car has several noticeable changes, but the headlines are larger and less technical front and rear wings, larger 18-inch wheels and a specially designed “ground effect” floor.

    Left: 2021 Williams car reveal. Right: Williams livery on a 2022 car

Left: 2021 Williams car reveal. Right: Williams livery on a 2022 car

And what impact will it have on racing?

The new cars are not just aesthetic A lot different, but should have a marked effect on the product on the track, with the expectation of more exciting and competitive wheel-to-wheel racing.

Because? Well, all the changes were essentially made to eliminate disruptive airflow over and around the cars, ensuring instead that the downforce is generated more from under the car. This should help the cars follow each other much more closely without wasting time in the “dirty” air of the car in front, thus making it much easier for drivers to overtake each other.

Sure, the 2021 season has been one of the most exciting in the sport’s history, but F1 believes – and has strong evidence from their estimates – that racing can be much better.

Who will be the teams and drivers to beat?

The rule changes are always exciting for F1 teams as they essentially restore the pecking order and give them a clean slate to redesign a competitive car. This leads to unpredictability and could lead to surprises, with teams often beating the new regulations out of thin air – take Brawn in 2009.

That said, Mercedes and Red Bull, and Lewis Hamilton and new champion Max Verstappen, will likely start the season as favorites again, although watch out for teams like Ferrari – the Scuderia has openly been targeting this rule-making reset in recent years. – and other big names with a point to prove like McLaren and Aston Martin.

Former F1 world champion Jenson Button says he expects Lewis Hamilton to return to battle amid rumors that he may be leaving the sport.

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Former F1 world champion Jenson Button says he expects Lewis Hamilton to return to battle amid rumors that he may be leaving the sport.

Former F1 world champion Jenson Button says he expects Lewis Hamilton to return to battle amid rumors that he may be leaving the sport.

Will Hamilton be back for sure?

After such a controversial end last season and a landslide defeat for the title, Hamilton’s return is hardly a foregone conclusion, and his radio silence and social media purge have only added speculation about his future. But it would be a big surprise if F1’s most successful star weren’t on the grid this year.

Not only has he signed a contract with Mercedes for another two seasons and spoke with incredible enthusiasm about the new rules, but Hamilton still has records to break. As Mercedes made clear with a significant tip earlier this month:

How many drivers are changing teams? Are there any new drivers?

Hamilton’s new Mercedes teammate is the big storyline for 2022 in terms of driver moves, with George Russell finally getting his shot after three brilliant years on loan at Williams. Valtteri Bottas lost his place with the world champions but not in sport, with the Finn, who certainly did not hurt Mercedes, heading towards the Alfa Romeo backed by Ferrari for 2022.

There are two new drivers on the grid; one returning to F1 and one a rookie. Alex Albon, former teammate of Verstappen at Red Bull, takes over from Russell at Williams while Guanyu Zhou takes the step from F2 to F1 alongside Bottas to Alfa. Zhou, 22, is the first Chinese driver in the sport.

When and where are the races?

A record 23 Grand Prix schedule for 2022 has been revealed, starting in Bahrain on March 20 and ending in Abu Dhabi on November 20. There is a new name on the calendar, with Miami hosting the first of two races in the United States.

Every session and every race is live on Sky Sports F1.

When will the cars be launched?

Those first pre-season car launches represent some of the most anticipated dates of the season, particularly in a year where cars are so radically different.

While the teasing has begun, no official dates have yet been announced. The cars are usually unveiled in early February, although we often get a January outlier.

When is the test?

There will be six days of pre-season testing this year following a reduced schedule for 2021. The first week of testing is in Barcelona from 23-25 ​​February, while the second week is in Bahrain – on the same track as Sakhir which will host the inauguration of the season – from 10 to 12 March.

How many Sprint races and when?

The Sprint format debuted last year at Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos and F1 is looking to double the number of those Saturday grid races to six this year. Bahrain, Imola, Montreal, Austria, Zandvoort and Interlagos have been designated as locations.

Who are the other stars to watch out for?

The potential for teams to move up in order could also give riders a chance to establish themselves in races, and possibly in the title, contending stars. Russell is the one to watch with his move to Mercedes, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo – who are already race winners – could thrive, along with their amazing teammates Carlos Sainz and Briton Lando. Norris.

If they have cars to contend with, also keep an eye out for multiple world champions Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) and Fernando Alonso (Alpine), with the Spaniard particularly fast in 2021. Mick Schumacher also hopes to build on his impressive rookie season with Haas. , although it remains to be seen how competitive they will be.

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