Weblog – AutoWeek is ready for the new F1 season

Formula 1 Red Bull Racing 2021 (© Red Bull Content Pool)

My heart rate has only just returned to normal after the blood-curdling final phase of last Formula 1 season, or the next season is already on its way. Hopefully it will be just as beautiful as in 2021. In any case, we can’t wait.

I can’t wait for the new Formula 1 season to start, and – as I said in the introduction – ‘we’ can’t wait. By that I mean the editors of AutoWeek. This year you will read and see a lot more about Formula 1 at AutoWeek. That is not new to us. Ever since AutoWeek 1 from 1990, our first issue ever, we have been writing about motorsport and Formula 1. A few years later, Jos Verstappen even acted as a columnist. We’ve downshifted a few times since then, but this year we’re putting it back into top gear. I’m really looking forward to that. In the past I wrote about Formula 1 full-time with a previous employer, so it is a pleasure to be able to put the love for F1 again in my work in addition to my passion for cars. I hope you, the Formula 1 interested readers, are looking forward to it just as much.

There is in fact enough special to expect and never before has the royal class of motorsport lived so strongly in the Netherlands. After all, the 2021 Formula 1 season was really one to lick your fingers. For the first time since 2016, we had another title fight that continued until the very last Grand Prix. It was also eight years ago that a driver from a team other than Mercedes last took the title. For the majority of Dutch viewers, it was of course absolutely delicious that it was none other than Max Verstappen. The battle between him and Hamilton was one that was reminiscent of duels between icons like Schumacher and Häkkinen, Senna and Prost, Hunt and Lauda. As icing on the cake, the first Dutch Grand Prix since 1985 also took place. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never experienced so many goosebumps from F1 as I did last year.

So 2022 has some pretty big shoes to fill. It can’t just be as beautiful as 2021, you might say. Still, it promises to be very interesting again. The regulations that came into effect in 2017 and have been refined since then will be put in the bulky waste bin. In a sense, everyone starts again with a clean slate. The basic design of the cars will be different, with much less complicated aerodynamics on the car and more emphasis on cleverness under the car. To some extent, it heralds the return of the ground effect. The main goal is to improve racing because the cars cause less airflow disturbance and should make it easier to follow each other. We should see less of the ‘train ride’ if all goes well, although the question is always how great the intended effect really is. A person can dream.

Another important aspect is the budget ceiling. Until 2021 there was no spending limit in Formula 1, but those times have passed since last year. The top teams in particular are therefore forced to continue with fewer resources. It is hoped that it is no longer a foregone conclusion that only Mercedes or Red Bull Racing is the obvious favorite every race and that the rearguard teams can also keep up with the pace. Still, I don’t think we should hope too much for that next year. I think the chance that Haas will suddenly win races is very small. I do expect that next year we will see a more diverse battle in the front of the field. I see Ferrari and McLaren as the biggest contenders to join in and maybe Alpine will also conjure something out of the top hat. It would be great for the sport, although there is also a chance that it will take a little longer before the differences shrink further. Mercedes and Red Bull Racing still have the best papers to immediately come up with a top car, even if they now have less to spend.

For the Verstappen fans, the latter is of course exactly what they hope for. Max will be the new world champion this year, beautifully visible every race through the 1 on his car. That will be a special sight. Millions of Dutch people will be glued to the tube again from March to see whether the mega talent can immediately put a title behind it this year. The anticipated battle between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell is also something to look forward to. What Russell showed at times at Williams, and certainly what he accomplished in Hamilton’s car in Bahrain in 2020, was nothing short of impressive.

I can keep going, but unfortunately for now there is nothing to do but patiently wait for the winter test and then the start of the season on March 18. We are already on the edge of our seat, are you?

– Thanks for information from Autoweek.nl

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