Five things we cant wait for in 2022 F1 season as Lewis Hamilton eyes revenge
The 2021 F1 season will go down as the best in the sport’s history as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen engaged in a titanic battle.
The pair went back and forth both on the track and pushed each other to the absolute limit in each and every race.
The Dutchman prevailed in controversial fashion and secured his maiden title in the process.
Hamilton was denied a record 8th F1 world title, but despite rumours concerning his future, the Briton looks set to return and aim to regain his crown.
Now, Mirror Sport takes a look at some of the exciting things we want to see transpire ahead of the new campaign.
A new chapter in the Verstappen vs Hamilton rivalry
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s rivalry reignited the sport as the pair battled for the prestigious world championship crown.
Their pursuit for the title began to intensify at the British Grand Prix this summer, when the pair collided on the opening lap, resulting in Verstappen flying into a tyre wall.
Things were really set alight as they took each other out at Monza.
Verstappen was found to be predominantly at fault for that infamous incident, which resulted in his Red Bull coming to rest on top of the Mercedes after the back wheel appeared to strike Hamilton's helmet.
Furthermore, the Red Bull racer appeared to aggressively run his rival wide in Brazil before a similarly reckless overtake attempt in Saudi Arabia last week, which took place before the multiple near misses and eventual collisions in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
It was no surprise that such a dramatic season ended in controversy in Abu Dhabi, but there’s no doubt that fans would relish another tantalising title fight between the two incredible drivers in 2022.
George Russell’s first season at Mercedes
Back in September, it was announced that George Russell will leave Williams and join Mercedes in 2022, replacing Valterri Bottas who will join Alfa Romeo.
Having struggled towards the back of the pack during the 2021 season, Russell will make a much-anticipated step up by heading to Mercedes.
It will be interesting to see how the partnership with seven-time world champion Hamilton rising star Russell will develop and how the 23-year-old will fare in a title-chasing car.
However, Russell has experience of driving a silver arrows car, when he replaced Hamilton at the Bahrain Grand Prix in December 2020 after the 36-year-old tested positive for Covid-19, which will prove valuable heading into his first full season with the team.
The Brit has already begun testing and will no doubt maximise the off-season to prepare for the next step in his burgeoning career.
How will the youngster cope with driving a top car alongside a sporting legend? All will be revealed next year.
The new 2022 F1 cars
All teams will need to adapt to a new set of regulations next year, with a new breed of F1 cars set to be introduced to the public when pre-season testing gets underway in February.
The new rules are designed to reduce the level of aerodynamic downforce on cars with the intention of reducing the effect of dirty air in order to promote closer racing.
Red Bull and Mercedes will be desperate to avoid slipping down the pecking order, with the widespread nature of the regulation changes potentially able to shake up the grid next year.
The 2022 regulations are set to significantly simplify the top-body aerodynamics.
That means less downforce from the firmly-regulated front and rear wings, which are tightly-prescribed in order to eliminate the outwash aerodynamics that have made F1’s turbulence problems worse over the past decade or so.
In order to enable better racing and remove the prospect of dirty air having an impact on overtaking, the aerodynamic phenomenon known as ‘ground effect’, will help to reduce the "catastrophic downforce loss."
New circuits and the return of old ones
For the first time in its history, the 2022 F1 season will include a record 23 races after the sport's bosses confirmed plans for a gruelling schedule.
The calendar includes two triple-headers and an inaugural race in Miami. Further changes see Bahrain hosting the opening round on March 20, displacing Melbourne, which had become the cemented venue for the traditional curtain raiser.
However, the strict Covid-19 regulations in place in Australia has prompted officials to push the Albert Park race back to April 10.
The Canadian and Japanese Grand Prix will make a return to the calendar in what is sure to be another eventful F1 season.
How will the different tracks and conditions benefit each of the different drivers and with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali keen to host more sprint races, what impact will that have?
"We are excited to announce the 2022 calendar as we prepare to enter a new era for the sport," said Domenicali in October.
"This season has been incredible so far with great battles on the track, large audiences tuning in and fans returning to the races after the impact of the pandemic.
"We look forward to welcoming more fans back next season and hope 2022 feels more normal than the life we have all experienced in the past two years.”
The resurgence of Ferrari?
Team principal Mattia Binotto has stated 2022 was the year Ferrari were targeting to be competitive in the F1 title race again.
The legendary team has everything it needs to succeed in the coming season, with significant investment going into infrastructure at Ferrari, including a new driver-in-loop simulator that’s due to play an active part in the development of their new car.
Things have also improved aerodynamically and mechanically and slow progress has been made on both the chassis and engine side over the past year.
With bold innovations on the combustion side, as well as changes to aspects such as the intercooler planned, there’s real optimism at Maranello.
Ferrari have not won a driver’s title since 2007 and the constructors since 2008, but with the promising improvements and two talented drivers in Charles LeClerc and Carlos Sainz, the future looks bright for those in red and white.
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