2022 F1 World Championship
- F1 World Championship
Eight years of Mercedes dominance looks set to be over following the regulation changes for the 2022 season. With greater emphasis on ground effect, this has allowed cars to follow one another easier, resulting in more overtakes and better quality of racing.
However, the reigning world champions have misjudged their aerodynamic approach. While many teams have opted for the use of side pods, the Mercedes car has been trimmed down which makes it a lot more aerodynamically sensitive. Therefore, the world champions have had big problems with porpoising, which is when the driver’s head is constantly bobbing up and down quite vigorously through the straights. As a result, they lack speed in a straight line and have been off the pace since the opening round.
It was supposed to be a redemption year for their driver Lewis Hamilton, following the controversy of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but things got to a new low for him when he was eliminated from Q1 in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix qualifying. In their place, Ferrari and Red Bull are the title protagonists.
Race victories have been jostled between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, but Red Bull have a reliability problem. So, although at the time of writing Verstappen has the most wins this season, Leclerc currently has the upper hand. But on the whole, the Red Bull looks to be the quicker car and it will be interesting to see if the Scuderia can cope with that throughout the rest of this season, or if they simply have to rely on their rival’s poor reliability to win the championship.
Nonetheless, an improved Ferrari power unit has seen newfound hope in teams like Alfa Romeo and Haas, who were both once lingering at the back. Alfa Romeo have been much further forward in the midfield and Haas, too, have scored points this season for the first time since the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix. Meanwhile, other teams using a Mercedes power unit have been seen to struggle, with Aston Martin and Williams currently the bottom two teams in the championship.