Top 2022 F1 Season Storylines

The 2021 season packed drama, action, and a storyline no one could have predicted. Though there were controversies here and there, many were pleased with its conclusion. The upcoming season is likely to be tight once again. With that, we look at the top five storylines heading to the 2022 Formula 1 season as it kicks off in Bahrain.

The Top 5 Storylines Heading To 2022 F1 Season

READ MORE: Will Lewis Hamilton Race the 2022 F1 Season?

READ MORE: 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix F1 Odds, Preview, and Prediction

New Formula 1 Car Design

The most anticipated storyline heading into the 2022 Formula 1 season is the all-new cars. Most of these changes are described as game-changers and bring the sport into a new era. The major changes include updates to the front wing, rear wing, floor, wheels, and bargeboards. All of these revisions are designed to help with aerodynamics and the overall performance of the cars.

As part of the sport’s drive to push a fully-sustainable fuel in the future, Formula 1 made the introduction of E10 fuel. This type of fuel uses Ethanol (E) while “10” refers to the percentage in the mixture, which means E10 fuel is made of 10% ethanol. Ultimately, it impacts the car’s interaction with the power unit and overall performance.

The aforementioned panel updates and bigger wheels mean weight added to the car. This is the tradeoff for better safety measures. In an interview, Lando Norris (+2500 odds) mentioned that the cars feel “quite sluggish”. He added, “But it shouldn’t be too long [to adjust] and I think by the end of the day, you’re a little bit more used to it and it feels almost normal again”.

Grid Changes and New Mercedes Duo

Several teams revamped their lineup. Kimi Räikkönen’s retirement and no contract renewal for Antonio Giovinazzi meant two open seats for Alfa Romeo. The drive was given to departing Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas (+50000 futures odds), while the other one was secured by Guanyu Zhou (+100000 futures odds).

There were late changes in the Haas lineup after the team cut ties with Russian sponsor Uralkali amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Nikita Mazepin was sacked after a season with the team. Mick Schumacher now races alongside new teammate and former Haas driver Kevin Magnussen (+30000 futures odds).

Perhaps the biggest change is the fact that Lewis Hamilton (+137 futures odds) lost his wingman Bottas. The other half of the Mercedes duo is occupied by ex-Williams driver George Russell (+800 futures odds). Mercedes finally pulled the trigger after the Brit spent three years learning and developing with the team. Meanwhile, Williams fills the empty seat with the 2021 Red Bull test and reserve driver Alex Albon (+50000 futures odds).

Race Administration Changes

The new car design took the sport by storm. But that’s not the end of the major storylines. Formula 1 introduced the following race administration changes for the 2022 season:

  • Virtual Race Control Room – This takes after the Video Assistant Referee in football, assisting the F1 Race Director with the application of the rules
  • The procedures concerning unlapping cars during a safety car period will be reviewed.
  • Radio communications to the race director during a race will be detached from television broadcasts. Team principals can still ask questions through an updated and non-intrusive process.
  • FIA Officials Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas will share the role of Race Director, rotating across 23 championship races in 2022.
  • Herbie Blash is the newly-appointed Permanent Senior Advisor together with Wittich and Freitas. Michael Masi is reassigned to a new role in the FIA.

Multiple Podium Contenders

Eight different teams scored podium finishes in the 2021 season. Only Alfa Romeo (+75000 futures odds) and Haas (+40000 futures odds) missed out on a top-three finish in any Grand Prix. Mercedes (-120 futures odds) and Red Bull (+250 futures odds) are likely to be frequent podium finishers, but they have a bigger target on their backs. Ferrari (+275 futures odds) and McLaren (+1600 futures odds) are likely to push on and improve their podium record in 2022.

Mid-tier teams AlphaTauri (+75000 futures odds), Alpine (+6600 futures odds), and Aston Martin (+15000 futures odds) are coming in hot this season. Teams are eager to close the gap and seize every opportunity coming their way. On the other hand, Williams will try to score more points and hope to repeat their 2021 Belgian GP performance.

Haas surprised everyone in pre-season testing with both drivers posting top-ten lap times in Bahrain. Mick Schumacher finished right behind defending champion Max Verstappen. Additionally, Kevin Magnussen forced a tenth-place finish and just over a second behind his teammate.

More Sprint Qualifying

We witnessed snippets of the recently-introduced sprint qualifying format. This time around, some of its mechanics have been tweaked for the sake of improvement. Three races feature the unique qualifying format, including Imola, Austria, and Brazil. The qualifying race on a Friday still decides the sprint grid, but now the fastest driver in qualifying will receive points having secured pole position. The 100km sprint race on Saturday then decides the grid for Sunday’s GP. Furthermore, rather than awarding the top three finishers, the top eight drivers are awarded points–from eight to one–with the intent of encouraging competition.

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