The 2022 Formula 1 Season In a Nutshell
Formula 1 is often advertised as the pinnacle of motorsport, yet it is often overlooked by many people. There are 10 teams with 2 drivers competing to build the fastest car under certain rules, and the winning team wins the championship. In 2021, the championship came down to the last race in which Max Verstappen’s Red Bull RB17 barely edged out Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes W12 with the help of Nicholas Latifi. Honda, Red Bull's engine supplier, has pulled out of F1 and Redbull created Red Bull Powertrains (RBPT) to fill the hole. However, the top teams' normal order shifted, as new rules and regulations were added to make racing more competitive in 2022. Here’s the 2022 Formula 1 season in a nutshell…
Pre-season testing showcased the 2022 cars for the first time. On the final day of testing, Mercedes had the two fastest times. At the first race in Bahrain, it was a close race between the Ferraris and the Red Bulls, until Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri, which uses RBPT, suffered an engine failure that required a late race safety car. Shortly after, the 2 Red Bulls also experienced engine issues and were forced to retire from the race, giving Ferrari a considerable lead in the overall Standings. Over the course of the next couple of races, Ferrari and Redbull seemed deadlocked until the Monaco Grand Prix, the crown jewel of the F1 calendar.
The Monaco GP is not only the crown jewel, but it also was a turning point in the 2022 season. Ferrari and Charles Leclerc occupied a great position in the front row for the start of the race. However, a typical Ferrari strategy call cost them a win and let the Red Bulls finish 1st and 2nd. Yash Shah (‘26), a Ferrari fan said, “It was terrible watching Ferrari mess up their strategy as usual. It hurt and made me wonder why I even liked Ferrari in the first place.” Unfortunately for Yash and other Ferrari fans, things only got worse with more strategy mistakes, driver errors, and engine failures. The Hungarian GP was the last race before summer break and Max Verstappen shocked the world. He made an amazing comeback to win the race starting from tenth position. 4-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel also announced his retirement ahead of the Hungarian GP.
After a month with no racing, F1 returned for the Belgium GP in which Max Verstappen won the race starting from 14th. The latter half of the season was filled with Red Bull dominance and a lot of important driver transfers for the 2023 season. During the Italian GP, Nyck De Vries subbed in for Alex Albon at Williams on short notice and outperformed teammate Nicholas Latifi to score 2 points for the team. Max Verstappen was crowned drivers champion after a race at the Japanese GP in which Red Bull won the Constructors Championship a couple races later. The focus soon became the fight for 2nd place in the Drivers Championship between Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez (Max Verstappen’s teammate).
The last two races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi played a crucial role in deciding 2nd place in the championship. Mercedes had a resurgence in performance and vying with the Red Bulls for the lead in Brazil. George Russel won his first race after a close battle with Max Verstappen. Verstappen was asked by the team to let Perez pass him, but he did not follow the orders. At the last race in Abu Dhabi, Max Verstappen won the race, setting a record for most wins in a season. The battle for 2nd place went down to the last lap, with Perez chasing Leclerc but eventually losing the duel.
The 2022 season was not what fans expected to be after a dramatic 2021 season. However, the new aero package of the cars did provide more parity in races throughout the season.