With the season opener only a few days away, we asked some members of our Divebomb team to give us their predictions for the upcoming 2022 Formula One season. Read on to find out what one of our writers, Max Smolarski, has to say on the upcoming season! Also, be sure to check back over the next few days to hear from more of our team regarding their season predictions.
Written by Max Smolarski, edited by Harshi Vashee
Starting straight to the point with the first of two titles, I see the constructors title is going to Maranello for the 17th time. Ferrari’s fierce, new, scarlet F1-75 celebrates Ferrari’s involvement in motorsport since 1947 and has one of the most unique designs on the 2022 grid. The sidepod design on the top goes inward really deeply, unlike most other teams with a flat or slightly outward design, and allows for a lot of airflow towards the beam wing, which will definitely be a place of experimenting for the teams throughout the season.
The biggest flop I see happening this year is for Aston Martin. Despite my hopes of seeing Sebastian Vettel on the top step in the dark green race suit, the trajectory of the team has fallen quite a lot compared to 2020, and I don’t really see them improving - at least I’ll see them improve compared to last season, but less than any other team. As for the driver flop of the season, I don’t see it going well for Valtteri Bottas. With the problems of Barcelona testing being pretty reminiscent of what happened to McLaren, I don’t see Valtteri picking up many points-scoring finishes during the season. I think he will enjoy being the leading driver and teaching the rookie, Guanyu Zhou, some tips for the season but the points just won’t show it.
That is a pretty shocking contrast to what I’m about to say next. Despite the troubles that Alfa Romeo have, they could develop throughout the season, and, with enough speed from the car and determination from a driver, they’ll be able to achieve a historic win for the team in the final parts of the season, their first since they were BMW Sauber with Robert Kubica behind the wheel at the redemptive 2008 Canadian GP. Who do I see climbing the top step for the Alfas? Ironically, the same one who hasn’t lifted the winners’ trophy for nearly 14 years. Provided Alfa Romeo give him the car for the job, Kubica could weave through the field in Singapore. He could also take the checkered at Suzuka or Interlagos - tracks at which he’s already stood on the podium before.
A driver transfer that people will probably put me down for is that, some time near the end of the season, Lewis Hamilton will retire from the sport. I’d be happy to be proven wrong, but I feel three big factors could impact how the season will go. For one, George Russell is a ferocious new talent that will likely dominate the podium many times this season. His ‘Mr. Saturday’ nickname would be proven many times, and his race pace at the “uncomfortable” seat of Hamilton’s W11 at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix proved he can win. Second, I feel that, especially with the “super engine” that Mercedes provided Lewis in Brazil, the many changes to keep on top of Red Bull throughout the season will prove detrimental to the W13 come season opener. Finally, I really don’t see Lewis maintaining his determination for the sport if the season doesn’t go well for him. I don’t think that his career would have gotten as good as it is had he not lost the title in his first season; the determination to get back up and do it again and again went his way, hence his iconic quote, “Still We Rise”.
I’ve already mentioned my shock winner, but I also have to mention that there are a few drivers waiting for that maiden win that have proven their talents are beyond a single race win. George Russell, Lando Norris, and Carlos Sainz; I predict all of these to win at least twice this season. Not once, twice. I would love to predict exactly at which tracks each will get it, but we haven’t seen enough wheel-to-wheel action of the new cars to really get a sense of how this would pan out.
I have left the juiciest prediction till last. Going into the last race at Yas Marina, there will be many trying to lift the 73rd Drivers’ World Championship trophy. For that title fight I see the drivers being one or both Ferrari’s, George Russell, and either Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, or both. Three to five contenders would be an immense scene, and could prove to be even better than, for example, the 2010 finale at the same track. As for the name of the champion himself, a lot of Ferrari-goers sway towards the pure speed of Charles Leclerc, however I see the Spaniard taking the crown. With double the experience of the Monegasque, the amount of experimentation on-track during practice combined with the pure reliability of a points finish, being the only driver to cross the finish line on all 22 occasions last season and one of three with 20 points finishes, Sainz’s performance from last season has certainly given us a glimpse at how Carlos Sainz Jr. will become the 2022 Formula 1 World Champion.
As the great Murray Walker said, “In Formula 1, anything can happen and it usually does.” This historic quote will be more useful than ever this season, as we truly don’t know how these cars will perform, but it’s fun to guess. I hope you enjoyed my predictions, and maybe let us know about yours by commenting on any of our social media handles!
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