As another thrilling season of Formula 1 comes to a close, now is the perfect time to recap the beginning of this new era of the pinnacle of motorsports.
New regulations introduced at the beginning of the season were meant to improve the quality of racing, regardless of the circuit.
What F1 teams stood out?
Max Verstappen dominated the 2022 season. A lot of the credit for that has got to go to the Red Bull Racing team. Although they didn’t manage to secure the team’s first 1-2 finish in the Drivers’ Championship, the Constructors’ Title was secured well before the end of the season.
It seems obvious to note Red Bull as a team who stood out, but they adapted superbly to the new technical regulations. Clearly better than any other team in 2022.
Despite the countless DNFs (and the two drivers butting heads at times) for Alpine in 2022, they finished 4th in the Constructors’ Championship. The consistency and class of both Alonso and Ocon proved to be enough to counter the high amount of mechanical problems for the Enstone team.
It may not seem like a season of progress for Alpine, but they performed superbly with the only Renault engine-powered cars on the grid.
Which drivers stood out?
As if there were any doubts about the credibility of Max’s first Championship in 2021, he dominated the grid in 2022. Breaking the record for most wins in a season (15) and winning the Drivers’ Championship by round 18.
Let’s not forget that he didn’t finish two out of the first three races due to problems with the Red Bull engine!
Zhou had plenty of doubters as the only rookie for the 2022 Formula 1 season. He proved them wrong instantly by finishing in the points on the first race of the season – and in an Alfa Romeo car that struggled throughout the season.
Which teams underperformed?
Although Ferrari improved massively from 2021 to finish 2nd in both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship, it could have (and probably should have) been so much more for the Marinello team.
Poor strategy decisions and unfortunate crashes were Ferrari’s achilles heel in 2022. At least Charles Leclerc was able to finish the race in Monaco for the first time in his career.
The “Pink Mercedes” turned into the “Green Red Bull” in 2022 as the Silverstone team’s car closely resembled the fastest car on the grid. They still struggled throughout the entire season. They were scoring regular points towards the end of the season, but you’d expect more from one of the richest teams in Formula 1.
Those Who Failed To Show Up For The Races
Unfortunately, the driver, who no one hates, couldn’t deliver consistent results in his McLaren.
After a summer break of speculation about where Oscar Piastri was going to drive, Daniel shared a video explaining that he wouldn’t be driving for McLaren in 2023. And despite being the only driver to win a race for McLaren since 2012, the team decided that his recent performances weren’t good enough to warrant another contract.
The rumours that Ricciardo was returning to Red Bull as a reserve driver were confirmed at the end of the season. But everyone hopes he can get back on the grid soon as a top-team driver.
In stark contrast to their sister team, Red Bull, Alpha Tauri only managed to finish 9th in the Constructors’ Championship in 2022 (which will impact their F1 prize money). Despite the talents of Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda, the car never seemed to match even the shadows of Red Bull.
Race Of The 2022 F1 Season
There were some entertaining races in 2022, but the race of the season has got to be Brazil.
Not only was it the first race of the season where a Ferrari or Red Bull didn’t win, but it was George Russell’s first race win in Formula 1. The whole weekend was full of entertainment. Kevin Magnussen qualified on pole in a dry-to-wet qualifying.
There were flashbacks of 2021 as Verstappen and Hamilton collided. Ricciardo and Magnussen crashed. Norris tapped Leclerc into a wall (but he kept going). And in front of all of that, George Russell led every lap.
Some honourable mentions were the British Grand Prix and the United States Grand Prix (COTA).
The race at Silverstone was intense up until the final lap. Carlos Sainz certainly earned his first win in Formula 1, standing atop one of only two podiums that Verstappen or Leclerc wasn’t a part of. The other is Brazil.
The second USA Grand Prix of 2022 delivered excitement, too. A last-lap resurgence for Vettel to overtake Magnussen. Crashes on lap one. And a throwback to 2021 with Max and Lewis occupying the top two steps on the podium.
The race had it all. There were just 8 seconds separating 1st and 4th positions!
Moments Of The Season
Every Formula 1 season has feel-good, controversial, record-breaking, and shocking moments. It’s difficult to pick just one moment of the season.
Verstappen lapping Hamilton in Imola, Monza ending under a safety car (unlike Abu Dhabi 2021), first wins for Sainz and Russell, and some big crashes all can be contenders for the moment of the season.
However, one of the most exciting moments was when Lewis Hamilton overtook Sainz and Perez in the last corner at Silverstone. Although the overtake didn’t stick, it was still an amazing moment to hear the 120,000+ fans cheering.
We said “goodbye” to four drivers in Abu Dhabi. Nicholas Latifi, Mick Schumacher, and Daniel Ricciardo lost their seats for 2023 (replaced by Logan Sargeant, Nico Hulkenberg, and Oscar Piastri, respectively). Who knows if we’ll see these drivers in an F1 seat in the future?
2022 was also the final year for one of the most successful drivers of all time, Sebastian Vettel.
We waved goodbye to 53 wins and four World Championships in an emotional final race in Abu Dhabi. Although, as we know, retirements are rarely foregone conclusions with Formula 1 drivers.
Here’s To The 2023 F1 Season
Formula 1 fans around the world have got to wait patiently until the 5th of March next year for the start of the F1 2023 season.
It looks like 2023 promises to deliver more controversy, excitement, and surprises.