The 2022 F1 season is about to begin, with the first race in Bahrain happening this weekend! The 3-month long wait will finally come to an end, and with it talk, rumours and speculation up, down and beyond the F1 paddock will resume once again. There’s a lot to talk about, so let’s look at some of the hot topics ahead of the Bahrain GP.
Picking up the pieces from 2021
Last year’s Max-Lewis battle was the most exciting, enthralling and enjoyable battle in years even if the ending to it was highly controversial. We saw the title protagonists duke it out on many occasions – coming close to contact during the early stages of the season before having a few run-ins during the latter part of the season as well. The fight was so incredibly close that the two went into the last round with a grand total of ZERO points separating them!
With these new cars and their all-new design and chassis concepts, there is always the chance for the battle to continue on into this new “venturi tunnel” era of F1 as well. Teams have gone for split design choices in terms of their chassis design, with Red Bull and Mercedes’ car design being very different, something which we will discuss next up. Regardless, there will still be bad blood and the bitterness to beat one another will still be there, for they both are sportsmen who partake in activities at the highest level after all!
All-new car concepts
To give you a basic idea of how crazy this season could get, the top 3 teams from last year have all chosen split strategies with their car concepts- just let that sink in. All 3 have different viewpoints on how to tackle the rule changes, and the question as to who will come out on top is a very, very big unknown! The rear wing itself plays a crucial role in determining the performance of the car- read more here.
Mercedes shocked the paddock by turning up with a car that had no sidepods at all! To retaliate, Red Bull brought a redesigned sidepod and floor combination to the final day of testing. While the focus was on them, a certain red team from Maranello brought a new floor to the tests which some teams say make their car the most stable in the entire field. All 3 are praising the others and downplaying their own true performance, for why wouldn’t they? You can read about the aero and chassis changes of all 3 teams in detail by clicking here.
None of the teams seems to be in the lead, and almost every driver has been in the lead of a session at some point- even the Haas team were in the lead one day. No that’s not a typo or a joke, HAAS finished top of the timesheets in the second Bahrain test during the extra time they got to run! The car concepts are vastly different from one another, so who knows- maybe all our assumptions might be proven wrong in no time!
The Midfield Battle
F1 has always seen a steady pattern of a few top teams, many midfield teams and a few backmarkers. Well, this year has the capability to shake everything up, for we really have no clue where a team is or where it could finish in a race- the unpredictability is too high!
A team could be decently-placed in one race only to be bottom of the pile in the next, for then only to come back with flying colours in the race after. This year’s midfield battle should be an incredibly close one, and we can’t wait to see it!
The future of F1 in Bahrain
Bahrain has hosted an F1 race at this Sakhir track every year since 2004 bar 2011, and the venue seems to be here to stay. Well it better stay, or the FIFTEEN YEAR contract it recently signed with F1 and the FIA will result in nothing, won’t it? Mind you, we aren’t complaining for it is a fabulous track!
Under the lights, Bahrain provides both spectacular shots for the camera as well as provides us with amazing racing. Just last year, we had a showdown in the final stages of the race between Max and Lewis, which saw good, hard-fought racing and a great battle for us as fans.
It was also the venue for the second and televised bit of pre-season testing, and gave us many mistakes as well proving that the challenges of the circuit do exist, and that we could well be in for a banger of a season opener in a few day’s time!
Are Ferrari really back?
The biggest game of “Are they, or are they not?” has been played by the Ferrari F1 team since the start of 2009, for it really has been that long since we last saw them win a championship of any kind. That is, if you’re not counting the championship awarded for the most mistakes made by the strategists of a team during the course of a season. In that case, Ferrari has won that title a lot of times!
However, honestly speaking the team look to be in the best shape possible. The team has a tradition and history of winning, being as of now the most successful team in F1 history. F1 has proven to us though that resting upon one’s laurels does not end with success, as we saw with McLaren from 2013-2018 and more recently Williams from 2017-2020. The Tifosi can rest easy though, as by no means they will have to relive the horrors of 2020, or so it seems on paper!
Their car looks a lot more competitive than the SF21, which in itself was a whole heap more competitive than the tractor, a.k.a the SF1000 from 2020, so Ferrari have been making the efforts to regain competitiveness. Their car’s sidepod design bears a resemblance to a bathtub, so it will be good to see by the end of the year whether the team are celebrating in it or drowning their championship hopes in it!
And with that we conclude a small preview for the Bahrain GP. Will we see any of these storylines unfold any more this race weekend? We can sure hope for it, but one thing is for certain- you should absolutely not miss the Bahrain GP! We will bring the day’s updates to you at the close of each day, so do stay tuned.