After two very interesting preseason tests in Barcelona and Sakhir, we asked our writers to give us their predictions for the upcoming 2022 Formula One season. In this article, you will find out what our tech writer, Ive Bauk, thinks will happen this year! Also, be sure to check out other articles from this series to read more from our team regarding their season predictions.
Written by Ive Bauk, edited by Umut Yelbaşı
I shall try to explain my opinions in the best way I possibly can by using the data we have from last season: testing data, pictures we got from the tests, and my own calculations. Let's start with our record equalling World Champion. I personally think after the infamous season finale in Abu Dhabi last year, we are going to see a changed Lewis Hamilton. The last time Lewis lost a championship by an extremely close margin, he came back stronger than ever and dominated the next few seasons. I think up until last year, he had eventually lost motivation to fight as strongly as he used to. Now that he finally has a very strong competition, and now that he is very close to breaking one of the most important F1 records, I think he will bounce back and win the championship in 2022.
Now the Constructors’ Championship. Prior to the second test, I couldn't see a clear leader. After the Barcelona tests, I carefully analysed all cars to see exactly what the genius F1 engineers came up with this time. The Barcelona spec Mercedes seemed like a very solid car with few to none risky inventions and parts that could bring more performance. At that point, I was thinking two things: either Mercedes simply didn't want to risk that much and simply adapted their 2021 car to the new regulations, or they made a Barcelona edition of the W13 as a plan B in case their real, much more developed car, failed. In the end, the second case turned out to be the correct one, as they brought a car with a zero sidepod philosophy to Bahrain. This is a very special invention and I think, together with a great driver lineup, it will lead them to their 9th WCC in a row. We saw how well Russell performed in Mercedes in 2020, but I still expect him to take some time to get used to the new car and team, so that's why I think he will only be 6th in the WDC standings.
Next we move to Ferrari. There is a big hype going on around the whole team, as they finally seem to have 2 great drivers who can consistently get good points, and after the tests it seems that they have a very interesting design on the car. They’ve created a big dent in the bargeboard where the cold and clean airflow will get mixed with the hot air from the vents and that should create a stronger air flow towards the rear and the beam wing. On paper the team looks great, but I honestly think that in classic Ferrari fashion, they will fully bottle this season. I think Leclerc will keep his position as the first driver in the team, however he will make too many mistakes. To sum it up, I think we will see Ferrari finish 4th in constructors with Leclerc in the 5th and Sainz finishing 7th.
I expect McLaren, Ferrari’s biggest rival, to be a huge underdog this season. I think there is too much hype going around Ferrari and too little going around McLaren. In the second half of last season we noticed a big dip in their performance, I reckon around then they had fully scrapped the 2021 season and concentrated fully on 2022. Only for that one reason I think they will have a faster car than Ferrari and that they won't make any huge mistakes, but they still won't be fast enough to catch Mercedes - so my prediction for them is 2nd in the Constructors’ with Lando in P3 and Ricciardo in P4.
Last season's title contenders, Red Bull, concentrated a lot on the last season. Yet they still came up with a very interesting design this season, one with very aggressive sidepods. Their sidepods are very clean and designed to downwash a lot of air onto the floor. I think this philosophy seems very interesting and promising, however I don't think they spent enough resources and time on the development for this season because of the great fight they had with Mercedes last season. With all this said, let's not forget about their driver lineup. I personally don’t think Verstappen will finish any lower than 3rd in the Drivers’ championship, and I predict he will finish 2nd, just shy of Hamilton, however as he is under a lot of pressure to perform, Pérez could have a pretty bad season. I predict those four front-running teams to be very evenly matched, so any mistake will be crucial. That’s why I’ve decided to put Pérez in 5th place and Red Bull in 3rd.
I think the biggest surprise of the season will be McLaren. Fans really seem to be sleeping on them too much and I think after what could only be described as a disappointing season, Ricciardo could bounce back.
The biggest flop of the season is going to be Aston Martin. Even though no one has huge expectations, they will be even worse than that. I predict that they will be the worst team on the grid, however due to a crazy chain of events, Vettel is going to win a race and bring Aston lots of points to put them just ahead of Haas.
I have two candidates for most improved driver. One is Daniel Ricciardo, who has a lot to prove, and another is Nicholas Latifi, who I expect to flourish in a Williams team he will lead.
The driver that will over perform his car the most will either be Verstappen or Gasly, pretty safe prediction because that is what they always do.
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