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TREMAYNE: New rules, old rivalries, and plenty of action – How the first season of F1’s new era played out | Formula 1®

The 2022 season could have lacked the visceral battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton that had so enlivened 2021, but it surely was nonetheless an interesting battle which noticed the Dutchman win his second world championship in a lot much less controversial circumstances – and set a outstanding new file of 15 wins in a single marketing campaign.

Looking again, it appears inconceivable that at one stage Charles Leclerc and Ferrari have been really 46 factors forward of him, such was his and Red Bull’s eventual dominance.

READ MORE: Verstappen pinpoints breakthrough race that got title charge back on track after ’pretty terrible’ start to 2022

A brand new period begins

Much had been anticipated of the brand new ground-effect guidelines, which had been deferred from 2021 as a result of lingering results of Covid. Early-season hypothesis hinged round which crew may make a whole cobblers of it, however few foresaw that it might be Mercedes.

But when testing started it quickly turned clear that the W13s, newly returned to silver and with George Russell stepping confidently into Valtteri Bottas’s place to help Lewis, have been in a world of damage.

While a number of groups bumped into the phenomenon generally known as porpoising – the place vehicles misplaced and gained downforce at pace and, because of this, bounced vertically at fairly alarmingly violent charges – Mercedes clearly suffered probably the most.

Red Bull battle again from faltering begin

Meanwhile, Ferrari and Red Bull set the tempo, and a gripping yr appeared in prospect as they proved very effectively matched within the season opener in Bahrain, the place Charles gained from pole and set quickest lap, and Max retired with gasoline feed issues.

Race Highlights: Bahrain Grand Prix

Red Bull hit again with a slender victory in Saudi Arabia over Charles, however when the Monegasque gained once more in Australia as Max retired but once more, he topped the factors with 71 to the Dutchman’s 25. Max then took victory at Imola, the place Charles was solely sixth after a spin. They left Italy on 78 and 33 factors respectively, however then all of it started to unravel for the reds.

Max gained in Miami (which embraced F1 like an outdated pal), and Spain (after a bit of assist from crew mate Sergio Perez), to move the factors with 110 to Charles’ 104.

WATCH: From Leclerc battles to comeback wins – The best moments from Verstappen’s record-breaking season

The Dutchman was solely third behind Sergio and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in Monaco, however continued his rampage thereafter with additional wins in Azerbaijan and Canada, earlier than Ferrari’s strategic bungling value Charles the British GP and gifted it as an alternative to Carlos, as Max hit hassle and needed to battle Mick Schumacher for an eventual seventh.

Charles obtained again within the battle together with his third victory of the yr in Austria, thrashing Red Bull on their dwelling floor, however Max was second, then gained but once more France, Hungary, Belgium, Holland and Italy, earlier than Sergio took his second win of the yr in Singapore the place Max once more met hassle in qualifying and the race, and once more netted solely seventh.


Despite a stuttering begin, Max Verstappen ended the yr as world champion

But the place Ferrari typically slumped, Max and Red Bull all the time hit again on the uncommon events when issues went mistaken for them. Japan, the US and Mexico all introduced extra wins, earlier than George Russell dominated beautifully in Brazil for his maiden victory.

But Max had the final phrase in Abu Dhabi, to set that new file. The standings informed the story simply as brutally. He ended with 454 factors, whereas second place over Sergio in that finale gave Charles a much-deserved runner-up slot. But the Monegasque and the Mexican have been on 308 and 305 factors apiece…

READ MORE: Best drives, biggest shocks, and funniest moments – Our writers reflect on the thrilling 2022 season

Struggles for the Scuderia

So why did Ferrari collapse so dramatically? Mattia Binotto, whom it has since been introduced can be leaving the crew on the finish of the yr, defined that Red Bull and Ferrari took their growth in several instructions.

Red Bull wanted to save lots of weight, Ferrari wanted to enhance their aerodynamics. He additionally admitted that they stopped growth months earlier than the top of the season due to the constraints of the associated fee cap.


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Mattia Binotto will depart his put up as Ferrari crew boss on the finish of the yr, regardless of the Scuderia claiming P2 in each championships

But there have been additionally the strategic errors, and an engine reliability downside centring on spark plug failures damage the crew badly with blow-ups in Spain, Baku and Austria. They needed to wind down the efficiency till the answer was discovered, and likewise needed to do it once more later on the increased altitude tracks in Mexico City and Brazil.

The indications in Abu Dhabi have been that Ferrari have been again at full energy, which bodes effectively for 2023. But quickly afterwards Binotto tendered his resignation, throwing the Scuderia again into turmoil.

In Abu Dhabi the identify of Alfa Romeo-Sauber crew principal Fred Vasseur was extensively bandied about as a alternative, amid robust denials. It stays to be seen who can be within the Ferrari scorching seat subsequent yr.

ANALYSIS: Why Binotto’s gone now, what’s next for him – and who will replace him at Ferrari

Mercedes pull themselves again into the battle

Meanwhile, Mercedes scored simply that single victory for George who beat Lewis with 275 factors to 240 as they sandwiched Carlos on 246. But a yr that others may describe as disappointing was as an alternative, for them, difficult – as a result of as ever they set about doing one thing about it.

By Texas, the ultimate improve had made the W13 a winner in the fitting circumstances. Too late to alter the course of 2022, however hopefully a harbinger for a close-fought 2023 with Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes all within the combine.


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The W13 was a tough automotive to start with, however by the US Grand Prix in Texas, Mercedes had unlocked rather more pace

Cost cap wranglings

An important downside that each one the groups confronted was the associated fee cap, which this yr was set at $145m. That restricted the quantity of growth that every may undertake, which in itself was depending on all its different outgoings.

Williams have been late sending again their ‘return’ for the 2021 season and Aston Martin obtained a slap for a minor infringement. But in the direction of the top of 2022 the political aspect of the game was rocked with claims that Red Bull had exceeded the cap by a major margin.

TIMELINE: How the FIA Cost Cap story unfolded as Red Bull and Aston Martin enter Agreements over breaches

Allegations swirled at a time when Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz was gravely sick, making October and November very robust months for Christian Horner and Helmut Marko.

In the top the discrepancy turned out to be lower than the rumours recommended, however forward of the Mexican GP on the finish of October it transpired that the crew had by inaccurately excluding or adjusting various prices overstepped the cap by round $2m.


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Christian Horner had loads of challenges in 2022, however Red Bull nonetheless ended the yr as champions

It lastly got here to an ‘accepted breach agreement’ with the FIA which meant a $7m wonderful and a ten% discount in wind tunnel time (on prime of the rolling discount determine that probably the most profitable groups obtain every year in an try and even out the enjoying area).

Elsewhere, the very closely revamped Alpine crew achieved their intention of fourth place regardless of some severe reliability issues, particularly on Fernando Alonso’s automotive.

Drivers on the transfer

And they too have been within the political limelight after Monza when it transpired that the Spaniard was leaving to interchange the retiring Sebastian Vettel chez Aston Martin, whereas promising new hotshoe Oscar Piastri was additionally leaping ship from the French crew to arch-rivals McLaren, who have been changing Daniel Ricciardo after the Australian’s ongoing struggles didn’t assist their season-long battle in opposition to Alpine.

ANALYSIS: Unpacking the Piastri-Alpine-McLaren situation after the CRB’s ruling

Overall the brand new laws have been deemed to have been profitable in selling typically nearer racing and higher probabilities of passing, whereas the three Sprint Races have been sufficiently profitable to generate six in 2023. Brazil, the place George Russell gained, indicated that they work finest on tracks the place overtaking is best.


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Vettel retiring and Alonso becoming a member of Aston Martin to interchange him would have knock on results for a number of different groups up and down the grid

Zhou Guanyu’s disturbing inversion at Silverstone, and the presence of a tractor on monitor within the gloom at Suzuka created incidents which an FIA in transition investigated with commendable pace.

As Sebastian bid an emotional farewell in Abu Dhabi to the game which made him a four-time champion, two different giants additionally took their depart.

Ross Brawn is himself a a number of constructors’ champion, whereas Liberty Media’s Chase Carey did an outstanding job of steering F1’s transition from the Ecclestone period to the present one; between them they’ve formed F1’s future, and the indications from 2022 have been that the brand new laws, and the associated fee cap, maintain the eventual promise of a extra degree enjoying area within the years to come back.

READ MORE: Ross Brawn on a stellar 2022 season, pride at seeing F1 ‘as strong as it’s ever been’ and his next chapter

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