Formula 1 Season Opener approaches
After the spectacular 2021 season and one of the closest, most intense championship fights in the history of the sport, it is almost time to go again.
by Maximilian Merkel
On the 20th of March, the 2022 championship of the world’s fastest motorsport will go underway. 10 teams, 20 drivers, and a whole lot of brand-new rule and personnel changes.
Most recently, Haas F1 Team has decided to part ways with their title sponsor Uralkali, a Russian producer and exporter of fertiliser, and terminated the contract of Nikita Mazepin, controversial driver and son of Russian oligarch Dmitry Mazepin, due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Dmitry Mazepin’s ties to President Vladimir Putin. Haas has confirmed that Kevin Magnussen will rejoin the team, alongside Mick Schumacher.
Other notable driver changes are George Russel’s switch to Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas’ move to Alfa Romeo, Alex Albon’s return to F1 with Williams, and controversial Alfa Romeo rookie Zhou Guanyu as the first Chinese driver in the sport. It will be especially interesting to see Russell’s upgrade to drive for Mercedes play out and how he will fit next to 7-times champion Lewis Hamilton. This could be a potential rivalry right at the top of the field that, in my opinion, isn’t talked about enough. With Hamilton trying to score his 8th championship, which will take him above Michael Schumacher as Formula One’s most successful driver, and redeem himself for just missing out last year, and the young, ambitious Russell seeking to seize the opportunity presented by one of the fastest cars on the grid, this season has incredible potential for both conflict and greatness.
Also exciting to watch will be Ferrari’s performance this season. After trailing behind Mercedes and Red Bull for several seasons now, the legendary team will try everything to fight for a championship again. Their drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz form one of the most talented duos in the sport and could catapult Ferrari back into the championship fight.
After nearly a decade of Mercedes domination amid limited competition in midfield, this year’s field looks to be the most competitive for some time. This is also a result of several drastic changes to the rulebook, aimed at levelling the field. Roughly 7 of the 10 competing teams look ready to possibly challenge for 3rd place in the constructors’ championship.
This might be a bit of a stretch for a few teams, but with the new rules, a lot seems possible.