F1 driver George Russell’s message to Williams after Mercedes move
Mercedes have dropped their biggest hint yet that Lewis Hamilton will return for the 2022 Formula 1 season after weeks of uncertainty.
While Max Verstappen is still not bored of talking about his amazing world title triumph in Abu Dhabi, as the Red Bull start edged out the seven-time world champion. The news ahead of the new season is centered around new car launches, with Red Bull next up on Wednesday.
A major overhaul of the rules could cause a serious shake-up of the grid, with a new flooring design for extra downforce, more simple front and rear wings, and larger 18-inch tires. So far Haas have revealed their new livery, but this week the unveilings really begin with the new cars of Aston Martin and McLaren to launch on Thursday and Friday, before Ferrari and Mercedes next week.
Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton broke his social media silence this weekend as speculation continues over his future in motor racing. The 37-year-old Mercedes driver has been conspicuous by his absence from him since December’s debacle in the desert, when he was denied a record eighth world title in the controversial conclusion to the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who is said to be debating whether to return to the grid in 2022, hinted he is close to making a decision when he announced on Twitter on Saturday evening: “I’ve been gone. Now I’m back.” Mercedes announced earlier in January that they would launch the first car of F1’s revamped technical era at Silverstone on February 18, five days before the first winter test in Barcelona. Here’s the very latest news as the new season prepares for the opening weekend in Bahrain on 20 March. Follow all the F1 news updates below:
Mercedes drop clear hint over Lewis Hamilton future
vMercedes have posted the clearest sign yet that Lewis Hamilton will return next season.
The 37-year-old ended his own absence from social media last week with a post stating “I’m back” alongside a photo of him in the Grand Canyon.
But Mercedes have been clearer, tweeting an image of Hamilton in his F1 race suit with his crash helmet, adding the caption: “Welcome back, Lewis Hamilton”.
jack ratborn9 February 2022 07:04
Max Verstappen: One more lap and I couldn’t have finished the race
Max Verstappen admits “one more lap and I couldn’t have finished the race” when analyzing the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Belgian-Dutchman says “adrenalin” helped him make the aggressive move.
The Dutchman tells the Guardian: “If you go back over the data you will not see a very smooth throttle input. I was screaming on the radio (after he had won) but the whole lap my foot was going like that.
“It was completely done. One more lap and I couldn’t have finished the race like that. The stress levels were so high in the final lap that probably your body reacts to that. But you cannot give up.
“I knew I had more grip so I was like ‘I’ll surprise them on that corner’. Even my dad didn’t expect me to do it there. These kind of things make the difference. But two long straights were coming up.”
jack ratborn9 February 2022 07:00
Mercedes star Russell has race pace questioned by Red Bull
Helmut Marko is not yet convinced by new Mercedes addition George Russell when it comes to the most important factor of all in F1: Race day.
The young Brit has impressed in qualifying, showing consistency and control while with Williams, but Helmut Marko wants to see an improvement on Sunday sessions, as he told Autorevue.
“Now let’s see what Mr Russell will do at Mercedes and whether the praise he has received in advance is justified,” he said. “I want to see that first.
“There’s no discussion in qualifying, he’s sensational there but if you look at his race speed, he wasn’t far ahead of [then Williams team-mate Nicholas] Latifi.”
Lawrence Ostlere8 February 2022 18:14
Hamilton’s F1 return will be ’emotional’ says Hill
Lewis Hamilton will find it difficult to continue in Formula One if his Mercedes car is not competitive next season, according to two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen.
Hamilton’s future in the sport remains in doubt following the controversial end to last season which saw the 37-year-old miss out on a record-breaking eighth world championship to Max Verstappen on the final lap of the year.
Hakkinen believes there remains a lot of “question marks” surrounding Hamilton’s future in the sport, and the competitiveness of his car next season could be a factor in his decision.
Lawrence Ostlere8 February 2022 17:44
Red Bull to be first team to launch 2022 F1 car
Red Bull will be the first team to reveal their new car for the 2022 F1 season this week.
The Milton-Keynes based squad has announced that their unveiling will take place tomorrow on 9 February, one day prior to Aston Martin’s launch.
This year’s car reveals are some of the mostly highly anticipated in the history of the sport, with a new set of regulations meaning vehicles will look significantly different from their predecessors and the competitive order of the grid could be shaken up.
Lawrence Ostlere8 February 2022 17:19
McLaren will upgrade 2022 at first race
McLaren will bring their first car upgrade of the season to Bahrain for the first race of the 2022 campaign.
That means that the vehicle which contests the Grand Prix on 20 March will be a slightly different version to the one that undergoes pre-season testing at the same Sakhir International Circuit a fortnight previously.
“We know performance at race one is critical, and we’ll be delivering an upgrade package to that event, but we expect much more to follow,” said McLaren F1 operations director Piers Thynne on the team’s website.
Lawrence Ostlere8 February 2022 16:51
Two teams yet to announce car launch dates
Eight Formula 1 teams have now announced the dates on which they will launch their 2022 challengers, leaving two still to go.
Haas and Williams have spent the past few seasons right at the back of the F1 grid and are hoping to take advantage of the regulation shake-up in order to fire themselves further forward.
Williams have made significant changes since being purchased by Dorilton Capital in 2020, including hiring Jos Capito as team principal and bringing in Alex Albon to replace the Mercedes-bound George Russell.
Haas, meanwhile, have the lowest budget of any team on the grid but have opened a new facility at the Ferrari HQ in Maranello, Italy. They unveiled a new livery last week.
Lawrence Ostlere8 February 2022 16:31
Full car launch dates for eight F1 teams
So, Red Bull will get 2022’s slew of car launches underway next Wednesday 9 February after they announced earlier this morning they will precede Aston Martin by a day and become the first team to unveil their challenger for the new campaign.
All teams bar Williams and Haas have committed to dates when they will reveal the result of all their hard work, too. These are the dates as things stand:
9 February: Red Bull RB18
10 February: Aston Martin AMR 22
11 February: McLaren MCL36
14 February: Alpha Tauri AT03
17 February: Ferrari F1-75
18 February: Mercedes W13
27 February: Alfa Romeo C42
Lawrence Ostlere8 February 2022 16:16
‘A lot of optimism’ about Ferrari engine before new season
Spanish newspaper Marca reports that there is “a lot of optimism” coming out of Ferrari regarding its upgraded engine for the 2022 season.
The Italian manufacturer put all their eggs in the 2022 basket long ago, focusing their development and resources on the long-term goal of being at the top of the competitive order for the new era of F1.
The combination of Ferrari’s spending power and their ability to write off the last couple of seasons in order to focus on 2022 has led many observers to believe they could be a serious contender once the seasons gets underway in Bahrain in March.
Haas and Alfa Romeo also run Ferrari engines, and could benefit enormously from a successful upgrade.
Lawrence Ostlere8 February 2022 15:55
Mercedes faces ‘big challenge’ with wind tunnel restrictions
Mercedes’ technical director Mike Elliot has admitted the Brackley-based squad faces a “big challenge” in the wind tunnel over pre-season.
Finishing first in last season’s constructors’ championship means Mercedes has is permitted less time in the wind tunnel to test their new car than any other team in the sport, as F1 allows teams more aerodynamics testing time the lower down the other they finish in an effort to narrow the spread of the field.
“The big challenge over the winter has been the fact we have fewer runs to use in the wind tunnel,” Elliott said in a video released on Mercedes’ website. “So that has been challenging, trying to work out how much we should have spent on last year’s car versus how much we should have spent on this year’s car. This had knock-on consequences all the way through the factory. In terms of design work, we start design work earlier on things like gearbox and chassis, particularly as the gearbox is fixed for a period of time. We have had to get that right.”
Lawrence Ostlere8 February 2022 15:29
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.