10 things every Formula 1 fan should be excited for in 2022
It feels like the 2021 season ended in a grandstand spectacle just yesterday but we're already now in the new year and flying towards what has the makings of a thrilling new campaign. Here are 10 things to look forward to ahead of the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship season.
1. Brand new cars
This season sees a new era of Formula 1 ushered in with all-new car designs that are the result of sweeping new regulations aimed at improving the racing spectacle.
A number of features including a focus on ground effect, 18-inch tyres, plus a redesigned front wing and nose, mean that the cars should be able to race closer to each other – with the potential for more passing on-track too.
READ MORE: 10 things you need to know about the all-new 2022 F1 car
The cars are also safer, use a higher ratio of sustainable fuel and should look dramatically different to previous years.
Roll on the car launches – Mercedes have already fired up their W13 engine - and the unveilings will come thick and fast.
2. Verstappen defending, Hamilton hunting
What good is a new car without a fitting championship fight? After the blockbuster 2021 season, we have round two to look forward to between main protagonists Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
That means a fired-up Hamilton aiming for a record eighth championship while Verstappen aims to defend his title and take a second in the process. It’s been a while since we had someone other than Hamilton defending a title (back in 2014 when it was Sebastian Vettel), and this year will also see Verstappen use the #1 on his car for the first time since Vettel did so in 2014.
HAMILTON VS VERSTAPPEN: Why their rivalry has the potential to be the greatest in F1 history
George Russell steps into the Silver Arrows to replace Valtteri Bottas, giving us the opportunity to see what the 23-year-old can do with championship-contending hardware.
As mentioned, the new era of F1 cars could mean closer racing – more teams hoping to crash the party this year – plus a frozen engine concept should mean Red Bull Powertrains could go toe-to-toe with the power of Mercedes once again.
3. A bumper 23-race F1 campaign
That epic title fight will take place over 23 races – the longest F1 campaign yet – in 2022. Favourite venues such as Suzuka, Montreal, Melbourne and Singapore are earmarked to return while we have the debut Miami Grand Prix (more below) in May.
If 2021 showed us anything, it’s that every one of the 23 circuits on the provisional calendar – Zandvoort, Jeddah and Imola included – are set up to provide us an exciting contest.
The season is slated to begin on March 20 and end on November 20. Head here to view it in full.
4. Ferrari and McLaren stepping up to the plate
Ferrari and McLaren hope to be fighting at the front this season, both teams having shown glimpses of their giant stature and past success in 2021, McLaren having taken in Italy the only one-two finish of the season, while Ferrari clinched third place in the championship and nearly 200 points more than they did in 2020.
READ MORE: Most improved, best ‘bang for buck’ and more – it’s our 2021 star car awards
Lando Norris had his best season yet in 2021 and was unfortunate to miss out on P5 in the standings while Ferrari’s line-up of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz proved perhaps the strongest on the grid, taking points in every race bar France.
Daniel Ricciardo should be all caught up to workings at Woking and hit the ground running in 2022, making Ferrari vs McLaren a true battle of the titans. Can they be more than a thorn in the side of Mercedes and Red Bull?
5. Two rising titans aim to hit the front
There's more tough competition in the form of Alpine and Aston Martin, the former a works team – and the only one using Renault power – and the latter having been given carte blanche to attack by owner Lawrence Stroll.
Alpine achieved a victory courtesy of Esteban Ocon in 2021 while Fernando Alonso made a brilliant comeback to F1, taking a podium in Qatar to prove he hasn’t lost any of his trademark fight.
Aston Martin may have struggled a bit more – even if Sebastian Vettel did take a brilliant podium in Baku and almost another in Budapest – but they have serious potential. Just listen to their owner speak about his plans...
Make it a triple-A fight, as AlphaTauri have the rapid Red Bull Powertrain underneath with Pierre Gasly at his best and Yuki Tsunoda hitting his stride after learning the ropes in his rookie season.
6. Williams continue their journey as Albon returns
Alex Albon is back after producing some great performances in 2020. The Thai-Briton spent a year out on the sidelines with Sergio Perez performing for Red Bull and Tsunoda stepping into his AlphaTauri seat.
READ MORE: Alex Albon on his year on the sidelines, how Red Bull helped him get back on the grid, and the next chapter with Williams
Williams signed the Red Bull-backed 25-year-old to partner Nicholas Latifi as Russell was promoted to Mercedes. For the Grove squad, it was a fitting signing as they look to continue their uphill march.
It would be great to see Williams reach the heights they’re known for but that might be a tough ask in 2022. Regardless, last season showed the British team working their way back to their best and 2022 could well be another step in the right direction for them.
7. Zhou makes his debut
Zhou Guanyu will make history as the first Chinese driver to race full-time in Formula 1 and as the only rookie in the field, his debut season will be watched intently.
The 22-year-old will join Alfa Romeo alongside ex-Mercedes Grand Prix winner Bottas in a pairing that matches experience and youth.
ANALYSIS: Why Alfa Romeo went for Zhou, how the deal came together – and who else was in contention for the seat
It's not Zhou's F1 car debut – he has of course tested Alpine and Alfa Romeo machinery – but he will prove himself on the grid for the first time and enjoy a home race too, the Chinese Grand Prix having recently signed a long-term deal to stay on the calendar.
8. Haas and Alfa's clean slate
There’s also the curious case of Haas, who ended 2021 without points. Now it may look dire for the American team but let’s not forget that they decided to forgo development on their 2021 car in order to focus their resource and time on this season.
Furthermore, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin are entering their second season and it’ll certainly be interesting to see their progress.
Alfa Romeo struggled in 2021 as well but they have an all-new driver line-up and (like Haas) a Ferrari power unit, the Scuderia touting their rapid improvement as they attempt to catch up with Honda and Mercedes.
9. F2 and F3’s biggest season yet
As the title suggests, the road to Formula 1 enjoys a enticing season in 2022.
Both championships will race on the same weekends as F1 and revert from three races per weekend to two, their formats also changing to reflect that.
READ MORE: F2 and F3 calendars confirmed for 2022 with biggest-ever seasons for both F1 support championships
We’ll now see F2 join F1 at 14 events in 2022, beginning at the Bahrain season-opener while F3 will compete alongside both F2 and F1 in nine rounds.
Both championships also welcome Dutch outfit Van Amersfoort Racing, with whom a certain Verstappen made his single-seater debut in 2014, and a host of new drivers aiming to make their mark.
10. Welcome to Miami
Yes, 2022 will see the first-ever Miami Grand Prix – a party in the city where the heat is on (naturally) – take to the streets on May 6-8.
Drivers will take on 19 corners and 5.41 kilometres of the Miami International Autodrome around the Hard Rock Stadium. This exciting new circuit features three straights and DRS zones with an estimated top speed of 320 km/h, and there’s no doubt that it’ll be a scintillating test for the drivers and the new F1 cars.
MIAMI GP: Everything you need to know about F1's newest race - including how the track was designed
Furthermore this is the first time we’ll see F1 hold two races Stateside – Austin holding the United States Grand Prix in October – since 1984.
This season could be another cracker and we're already waiting with bated breath to see the teams' car designs. Stay tuned, as they'll be unveiled very soon.