FLOYD ON F1: Can Hamilton stop Verstappen in 2022?

Attempting to predict the 2022 F1 season results is tricky at the best of times.

This year it is almost impossible as 2022 heralds the dawn of a new era for the sport and the design of a totally new car.

We have no historic performance – just six days of testing.

Nevertheless, my predictions for 2022 are:

Oracle Red Bull Racing

Team chief: Christian Horner

Chassis: RB18

Powerunit: Red Bull Powertrains

Constructors Title 2021: 2nd 585.5 Pts

Drivers Title 2021: 1st Max Verstappen 395.5 Pts; 4th Sergio Perez 190 Pts

Testing: 698 laps 3 378 km

Verstappen and Perez both appear happy with the car and if the Mexican stays in touch with the front of the field, it could be a tough team to beat.

Verstappen set the fastest time at 1:31.720 and claims there is more to come. Perez was eighth – 1.385 seconds off the pace.

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

Team chief: Toto Wolff

Chassis: W13

Powerunit: Mercedes-Benz

Constructors Title 2021: 1st 613.5 Pts

Drivers Title 2021: 2nd Lewis Hamilton 387.5 Pts, 15th George Russell 16 Pts (Williams)

Testing: 778 laps 3 920 km

Always a hard team to beat, but the W13 suffers “porpoising” and looks a real handful. Hamilton has yet to find the car he needs.

Teammate Russell finished fifth, 1.039 in arrears, with Hamilton 2.421 seconds behind in 16th. The question I ask every year is how much sand is in that bag or is it really a car with issues?

Scuderia Ferrari F1-75

Team chief: Mattia Binotto

Chassis: F1-75

Powerunit: Ferrari

Constructors Title 2021: 3rd 323.5 Pts

Drivers Title 2021: 5th Carlos Sainz 164.5 Pts, 7th Charles Leclerc 159 Pts

Testing: 788 laps 3 941 km

As with all teams the handling was an issue in Spain, but in Bahrain the F1-75 looked the car to beat, with both Sainz and Leclerc setting quick times and long, trouble free runs.

Leclerc’s 1:32.415 gave him third spot and Sainz finished 11th, but I expect more from the Spaniard this weekend. Perhaps a Ferrari revival is at hand.

McLaren F1 Team

Team chief: Andreas Seidl

Chassis: MCL36

Powerunit: Mercedes-Benz

Constructors Title 2021: 4th – 275 Pts

Drivers Title 2021: 6th Lando Norris 160 Pts, 8th Daniel Ricciardo 115 Pts

Testing: 566 Laps 3 063 km

It started well for the Woking team in Spain, but the MCL36 front brake cooling issues cost the team lot of track time and the problem was not resolved at the time of writing.

Ricciardo, unfortunately, contracted Covid-19 and did not drive in Bahrain. His illness may mean a reserve for the weekend. Norris managed 1:33.191 for ninth fastest. I still see the team in the high mid field for 2022.

BWT Alpine F1 Team

Team chief: Otmar Szafnauer

Chassis: A522

Powerunit: Renault

Constructors Title 2021: 5th 155 Pts

Drivers Title 2021: 10th Fernando Alonso 81 Pts, 11th Esteban Ocon 74 Pts

Testing: 582 Laps 2 941 km

Lots of changes for the Enstone team during the break with Szafnauer now in the hot seat. It looks as though Alpine could finally start to climb the ladder.

The A522 is allowing Alonso to stretch the Alpine’s legs. His 1:32.698 was good enough for fourth fastest, 0.975 slower than Verstappen, Ocon was in an unusual position – 17th on 1:34.276.

Scuderia AlphaTauri

Team chief: Franz Tost

Chassis: AT03

Powerunit: Red Bull Powertrains

Constructors Title 2021: 6th 142 Pts

Drivers Title 2021: 9th Pierre Gasly 110 Pts, 14th Yuki Tsunoda 32 Pts

Testing: 678 laps 3 443 km

 A team with huge potential and this season it needs to prove that it is more than a flash in the pan. Gasly has shown his ability and Tsunoda has improved thanks to Albon’s coaching.

The Japanese driver achieved seventh fastest, six ahead of Gasly. Can we expect more from the team and the AT03?

Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team

Team chief: Mike Krack

Chassis: AMR22

Powerunit: Mercedes-Benz

Constructors Title 2021: 7th 77 Pts

Drivers Title 2021: 12th Sebastian Vettel 43 Pts, 13th Lance Stroll 34 Pts

Testing: 635 Laps 3 218 km

Will a new team chief improve the situation at Aston Martin? Since the time of Force India and Racing Point the team seems to be in a steady decline, despite increased investment.

Vettel managed a 12th fastest and Stroll 15th in testing. The AMR22 has yet to show its potential- Is it a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth?

Williams Racing

Team chief: Jost Capito

Chassis: FW44

Powerunit: Mercedes-Benz

Constructors Title 2021: 8th 23 Pts

Drivers Title 2021: 17th Nicholas Latifi 7 Pts, Alexander Albon (Did not compete)

Testing: 605 laps 3 018 km

With both drivers at the bottom of the performance table, Albon 3.350 and Latifi 3.914 seconds of the pace, Jost Capito must be having sleepless nights.

I certainly hope the FW44 will be a car to take Williams back to their former glory days and surprise us all, but I have my doubts.

Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN

Team chief: Frédéric Vasseur

Chassis: C42

Powerunit: Ferrari

Constructors Title 2021: 9th 13 Pts

Drivers Title 2021: 3rd Valtteri Bottas 226 Pts (Mercedes), Guanyu Zhou (did not compete)

Testing: 509 laps 2 632 km

Certainly not the car we expected with a multitude of issues and a gearbox failure for Bottas. But on the bright side the Finn did place the C42 sixth fastest on 1:32.985 before the transmission stopped further running.

 Zhou took 15th fastest and looks to be competent. Perhaps he will threaten his team mate during the year. But it looks like a long hard road for the team.

Haas F1 Team

Team chief: Guenther Steiner

Chassis: VF-22

Powerunit: Ferrari

Constructors Title 2021: 10th 0 Pts

Drivers Title 2021: Mick Schumacher 0 Pts, Kevin Magnussen (Did not compete)

Testing: 385 laps 1 650 km

An unfortunate start to 2022, the loss of title sponsor and one driver just prior to the Bahrain test. Out with Nikita Mazepin and a return for Kevin Magnussen.

The VF-22 appeared lacklustre with several issues but the Danes 10th fastest and Schumacher’s very surprising second fastest must give the team some hope.

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