The 2022 F1 Season's surprises so far: Part One
Written by María Fernanda Peña, Edited by Sasha Macmillen
Although we’ve only had three grand prix so far, they have assured us that this season will be incredibly exciting. In this short time, we have been able to see some fantastic racing due to the new regulations and also experienced many surprises that might´ve looked impossible last year. For that reason, I´m going to be listing some of the most exhilarating and shocking things that have happened in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Australia, that last year may have seemed impossible.
Haas scores points & K-Mag is back
One of the most surprising, yet put-a-smile-on-your-face moments we´ve had so far is Haas finally scoring some good points both in Bahrain, and in Saudi Arabia. And this isn’t the end of it, because those points were scored by Kevin Magnussen, who returned to F1 at the start of the year after Nikita Mazepin was dropped by the team. The return of K-Mag was certainly surprising, but he has proven yet again that he is a driver worthy of competing in Formula 1. Given the circumstances in which the team were last year (not scoring a single point in the season), many believed their luck wouldn't change and the car would still be the least competitive of the grid. However, this has turned out to be wrong with Kevin scoring a P5 finish in the season-opener Bahrain and P9 in Saudi Arabia, placing the team P7 in the constructors’ championship. Slowly Haas are returning to the midfield and while Mick hasn't scored points yet, he´ll look to do so in the next few races. Therefore, this season, the future of the team looks bright and maybe they´ll give us yet another surprise with a podium.
McLaren's poor performance
On the dark side, one of the most frustrating surprises of the season so far is how poor the performance of the McLaren has been compared to previous years. The first race in Bahrain saw no points, with Daniel in P14 and Lando in P15. After this race, many fans were worryingly starting to question whether the team would return to how they were in 2017 (finishing P9 in the constructors). It was not only very disappointing but also shocking because the team seemed to be in a great economic space given the amount of partnerships Zak Brown had secured for the team this year, Google being the prime example. That weekend, it was clear the frustration was running high for the whole team. However, in Saudi Arabia they were able to step it up and Lando finished P7. Still, this result wasn't enough for the team and they were still pretty disappointed with Lando saying: “[they are a] long way off” and that he is “expecting pain” during this season. Nevertheless, in Australia things started to improve greatly for the team with both Lando and Daniel scoring points; P5 and P6 respectively. So, it was a big surprise especially in the first two races of the season how poorly the car was performing, but given the results of Australia the team will probably develop as the season progresses and they'll be able to compete for podiums and with an outside chance at P3 in the constructors’ championship.
Red Bull’s reliability issues
Last year after Max Verstappen’s championship success, it was clear that Red Bull would strive to enjoy another great season with Max and Checo. Pre-season testing in Bahrain proved that they had at least the 2nd fastest car on the grid, just behind Ferrari. However, despite their car’s potential, we never thought that their reliability would be so poor. In three races, Max's car has failed twice, ending his race and Checo's car once. In Bahrain both cars failed to finish with fuel supply issues, and in Australia Max had more fuel issues which forced him to stop the car. The problem is that if Red Bull don´t solve this issue, it´ll be impossible for them to keep up with Ferrari, and other teams like Mercedes might stay ahead. This would make it a championship campaign like Michael Schumacher's one in 2006 and Fernando Alonso´s in 2007, where the teams had powerful enough cars to win races but so little reliability they would not finish and lose the championship.
Stay tuned to see even more surprises of the 2022 season!