With a new calendar year comes a new Formula 1 season as we take you through all the moves and lineups for 2022.
With 2021 squarely behind us, we now look ahead to a season of uncertainties as swathes technical regulation changes look set to shake up the order. However, 2021 saw some drivers say their goodbyes and join new challenges. With new faces at Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, and Williams, as well as a new rookie joining the field, we take a look at how the 2022 grid is shaping up.
#44 – Lewis Hamilton
#63 – George Russell
The reigning champions retain the services of Formula 1’s most successful (and newly knighted) driver Sir Lewis Hamilton after he narrowly missed out on the title in dramatic and controversial fashion at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The 37-year-old has been quiet over the winter break and remains tight-lipped about his future with Mercedes beyond 2022.
Hamilton will be joined by ex-Williams man George Russell who replaces the out-bound Valtteri Bottas. Russell impressed back in 2020 when he nearly took victory at the Sakhir Grand Prix after replacing his new teammate who had contracted COVID-19. An all-British lineup for the German marquee looks set to be a fascinating one as Russell will be hungry for success following bitter the disappointment with Mercedes in 2020.
#1 – Max Verstappen
#11 – Sergio Perez
It’s a season of ones for Red Bull who have their first World Champion driving for them since Sebastian Vettel in 2014. The Verstappen has elected to choose car #1 for 2022 (the first time since 2014 when, again, Vettel took the number). The Dutchman is now the man to beat as fresh regulations mean a potential reset for the grid – so the title could be anyone’s!
Perez joins him as teammate for a second campaign in a row with 2022 being the first season for a few years where Red Bull have had consistency in their driver pairing. After parting ways with Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon in 2019 and 2020, Red Bull will be looking to Perez to help them claim the constructors title this year. The Mexican proved his value with some star performances in 2021, and he played some key roles in helping Verstappen win the title.
#16 – Charles Leclerc
#55 – Carlos Sainz
A strong end to the 2021 season saw Ferrari bag third in the constructors title after a hard fought battle with old rivals McLaren. Leclerc continues his long relationship with the Scuderia having joined the team in 2019. The Frenchman didn’t win in 2021, but a number of podiums and solid drives saw him finish seventh in the standings. With Ferrari setting themselves lofty targets of fighting for regular wins in 2022, Leclerc could be one to watch.
Ferrari have opted for consistency in 2022 and will keep hold of Sainz for their second seat. After a shaky start to 2021, the ex-McLaren man got to grips with his car eventually outscoring both his Ferrari teammate, and ex-teammate McLaren’s Lando Norris. Expect Sainz to be fighting for a victory or two in 2022.
#3 – Daniel Ricciardo
#4 – Lando Norris
Another team who keep their drivers on for another year, McLaren have gone from strength to strength since 2019 and been a regular visitor to the podium. However, 2021 was a landmark year in the teams’ recent history by winning their first race since 2012 as Ricciardo lead a one-two at the Italian Grand Prix. Ricciardo had struggled all season, and the win showed that the fire was still burning inside the Australian. With a new car, and new regulations, Ricciardo is a driver to keep a close eye on throughout 2022.
Norris is now becoming one of the more experienced drivers on the grid with 60 Grand Prix starts to his name. However, the young Briton is still in the early stages of his career and enjoyed his most successful season to date in 2021. With 160 points scored, sixth place in the standings, and four podiums including a career-best second place at Italy, the only way is up for the 22-year-old.
#14 – Fernando Alonso
#31 – Esteban Ocon
Alpine were in a strange place throughout 2021 with their car seemingly struggling against Ferrari and McLaren, yet taking victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Two-time world champion Alonso remained a solid pair of hands with some strong races for the team, and will be looking to build on the momentum that the Enstone-squad built towards the end of the season.
Ocon was more than a match for his experienced teammate Alonso at times in 2021 and took a surprise victory in Hungary, seeing off Vettel and Hamilton to take the chequered flag. The Frenchman is a bit of an old-hand in F1 now after starting with Manor back in 2016. A year out in 2019 as Mercedes test and reserve driver didn’t blunt his skills with regular points in 2020 and 2021.
#10 – Pierre Gasly
#22 – Yuki Tsunoda
It was a bit of a mystery how the Red Bull sister team ended down in seventh in standings for 2021. After regularly fighting with McLaren and Ferrari for best of the rest, a mix of misfortune and mistakes saw the team lose out on points. Gasly has had a phenomenal brace of seasons having bounced back from being dropped by senior team Red Bull in 2019, he’s risen to the occasion and consistently been in the top five.
Tsunoda had a lukewarm start to life in F1 – the 21-year-old is clearly quick, but inconsistencies and mistakes saw him lose out on points throughout 2022. Moving closer to the team factory in Italy has proved fruitful with a solid end to 2021. The new season should see more development growth for the Japanese man.
#5 -Sebastian Vettel
#18 – Lance Stroll
The newly-named British squad have had a difficult start to life in F1 but hope that consistency will help bolster their chances in the sophomore season in 2022. Four-time world champion Vettel had some strong performances, but had a podium taken away from him in Hungary due to fuel irregularities. This will be the Germans’ 15th season in F1 and will be looking for more pace in 2022.
Stroll joins Vettel for a second time in 2022 and the new regulations will give the Canadian opportunities to move up the field and improve on Aston Martin’s seventh place in the Constructors.
#6 – Nicholas Latifi
#23 – Alex Albon
With their long-standing relationship with Russell coming to an end, Williams have elected to bring in ex-Red Bull man Albon as his replacement. Having spent 2021 on the sidelines with Red Bull, Albon will be keen to get back out on track. Williams are a team on the up, having gone from the slowest car on the grid, to regularly fighting for points. The eighth place in the Constructors standings vindicating their progress.
Latifi starts his third season with the British squad and scored seven points in 2021. The new season will give the 25-year-old plenty of opportunities to build on his progress made.
#24 – Guanyu Zhou
#77 – Valtteri Bottas
It’s a brand new lineup for Alfa Romeo who say goodbye to retired Kimi Raikkonen, and Formula E-bound Antonio Giovinazzi. In their place comes another fast Finn in Bottas who has been instrumental in helping Mercedes secure back-to-back Constructors titles from 2017. It will be a fresh start and a new challenge for the 32-year-old and the new regulations should provide some intrigue as to where in the pack he will be racing.
Zhou joins F1 from Formula 2 and the F3 Asian Championship where he was champion. A strong season in F2 saw the Chinese driver finish in third place, but the 22-year-old does have F1 experience having been the test driver for Alpine in 2021.
#9 – Nikita Mazepin
#47 – Mick Schumacher
Haas have opted for consistency this year and both Mazepin and Schumacher will be glad to get rid of their 2021 cars in favour of their 2022 challenger. Last season was a year of growth for the then rookies and their second year will bring opportunities for points. The US-based outfit have been working on their 2022 car for a long time having not developed their car at all last season.