Max Verstappen was proclaimed world champion in Japan when there were still four grand prix to go. That means that the fight for the main title, that of drivers, is already over, but whoever thinks that everything is already seen in F1 in 2022 is wrong.
See what’s at stake on and off the track in the 2022 Formula 1 season.
1) The 2022 F1 Constructors World Championship: when will Red Bull regain the team throne?
Having won the drivers’ title with Max Verstappen, Red Bull is on the verge of taking the constructors’ championship, and in fact it could already do so this weekend at the United States GP.
Whether or not they succeed in Austin, Red Bull will end up achieving its fifth team championship after the four consecutive they achieved with Vettel (and Mark Webber) between 2010 and 2013. And, despite the fact that Verstappen was proclaimed champion in 2021, that crown went to Mercedes, thanks to a Valtteri Bottas who beat Checo Pérez .
2) Pérez vs. Leclerc for being second in the 2022 F1 Drivers’ World Championship, and other positions
It is probably not what he expected at the beginning of the season, but Charles Leclerc now only has to fight for the runner-up position. And how tight is the fight for that second position! Right now Sergio Pérez has it with 253 points, but he only beats the Monegasque by one, and it seems that they will play it until the last race.
It would be curious to see Max Verstappen helping the Mexican to finish ahead of his rival, and although more than 100 points remain to be shared, what does seem clear is that the two from Red Bull and the one from Ferrari will occupy the podium of the season , as George Russell and Carlos Sainz are too far away.
Those two pilots, in turn, play for fourth place, separated by only 5 points in favor of the British. Then Hamilton appears, a bit in no man’s land, 22 points behind Sainz. Esteban Ocon (eighth) is 23 points behind Lando Norris (seventh), and Fernando Alonso (ninth) is 13 behind Ocon. Bottas, tenth, sees the Asturian from Alpine already 20 points away.
3) Records within reach of Verstappen and Red Bull in F1 2022
Although it would be with more races (this season he has 22 grands prix), Verstappen is one victory away from equaling the 13 achieved in the same season by Michael Schumacher (in 2004) and Sebastian Vettel (in 2013). If he wins two of the remaining four, the Dutchman will take over the historical record, despite the fact that he would do so with a lower percentage than Schumacher unless he took the remaining four wins and added 16 of 22.
As for Red Bull, even if they won the remaining four races they would add 18 wins out of 22, behind the 19 out of 21 that Mercedes did in 2016 and, in percentage, also behind other brands of McLaren, Ferrari …! and Alfa Romeo (6 wins out of 7 in 1950)!
4) A dignified goodbye to F1 for Vettel, Ricciardo and Latifi
Sebastian Vettel, Nicholas Latifi and Daniel Ricciardo are facing their last races in F1 and, although the Australian hopes to return, everything seems to indicate that in Abu Dhabi we will see the definitive goodbye of the other two.
Thus, and although Vettel hates the expression, he continues his farewell tour, that of a four-time world champion who will forever remain in the history books and who will want to close a successful stage in the top category in the best possible way. Vettel will try to put a finishing touch to a race in which he will have accumulated, in 300 grand prix, more than 50 victories and pole positions, more than 120 podiums and almost 40 fastest laps.
Ricciardo confirmed that he will not be in F1 in 2023, although he does not close the door and will try to return in 2024. The Australian deserves a happy goodbye, with much more brilliance than what he has had during his time at McLaren, where things did not suit him. they have finished going out except for their victory at Monza 2021. His talent deserves more than the image of a smiling but uncompetitive driver that he seems to have now.
For his part, the short but intense career of Nicholas Latifi in F1 has generated memes and controversy, but Williams finally scored points in the recent Japanese GP and will want to use it as a boost to finish the year well.
5) Alpine seeks revenge on track against McLaren after battle in dispatches
The ‘Piastri case’ caused a duel in the offices between the two teams, and the Contract Recognition Board ended up agreeing with McLaren, who will take the Australian driver by 2023.
However, on the asphalt there is another fight for fourth place in the constructors’ world championship, the one that guarantees to be ‘the best of the rest’ and, in addition to the economic amount that is at stake by winning a position, Alpine will surely want to prevail over the team that has taken away what was their bet for the future.
The French lead McLaren by 13 points with four races to go, but although they have a better car, their reliability can keep the fight alive.
Beyond them, Mercedes sees Ferrari far away for second place (67 points difference), Aston Martin is 7 points ahead of the sixth place that Alfa Romeo currently owns (52 against 45), and Haas and AlphaTauri tie in the ninth position with 34 units.
6) Close the year 2022 of F1 on high, the best springboard for 2023
Carlos Sainz pointed out the importance of Ferrari returning to the path of victory several months later, despite apparently having little at stake. The man from Madrid recalled the importance of finishing the year with high motivation to face the next course with the same spirit.
That is what Hamilton also wants to achieve at Mercedes, and the Englishman insists on the importance of continuing to trust in the possibilities of the multi-champion structure to recover his chances of success next year.
Another ex of Mercedes knows well what the story is about. After Hamilton sealed the 2015 championship title at Austin with three races remaining, teammate Nico Rosberg won all three. Thus, in 2016 the highly motivated German added four consecutive wins in the first four grands prix to pave the way to his first and only world championship. Will any of Verstappen’s rivals make a similar push this season finale?
7) The punishment for Red Bull F1 for the cost cap
Off the track, the big current issue is the cost limit that Red Bull would have exceeded in the 2021 F1 season. The FIA continues to study what action to take , and the rival teams ask that it be a sporting sanction. From Milton Keynes they insist that everything they presented was fine and Marko says that it would be ridiculous to take the title from Verstappen.
But, beyond whether the result of the past world championship is changed or there is a reduction in points for this championship, what the FIA decides will be key for the future, because it can invite teams to spend more than allowed if the consequence is less. serious than the profit that this entails.
Be that as it may, it does not seem that it will be an issue that will be resolved soon, so we will continue to see and hear crosses of accusations and pressures.
8) The latest moves in the F1 2023 driver market
Only two seats remain free for next season, and the other 18 team positions are already occupied by drivers who had a contract, who have renewed or who have signed for a team.
Only Haas and Williams remain to decide who will accompany Kevin Magnussen and Alexander Albon respectively, and although the most intense of the driver market for 2023 has already passed, those two pieces have yet to fit together.
Logan Sargeant is the driver with the most ballots to be chosen by Williams, but he will have to earn his super license in Formula 2. For his part, Haas continues to strip the daisy, and although Mick Schumacher has won integers to continue, there are other drivers on the list and the German has received a slap on the wrist from the boss…
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