Combating who to assist in Formula One this 12 months? That is the information for you.
In compiling this record, it is placing how tough it’s to recollect one other time Formula One had the depth of expertise it does proper now. There is a mixed 14 championships on the grid and 5 – 6 drivers who look greater than able to establishing themselves as F1’s greatest star within the subsequent few seasons.
There’s loads of candidates on your favorite workforce or driver in 2022. Right here we run down all of them.
The season begins with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 20, stay on ESPN (10.55AM Japanese Time).
Mercedes is the benchmark towards which success is measured in F1 proper now. Typically it is simpler to root towards the dominant pressure however Mercedes have made profitable races an artwork type since 2014 and it’s genuinely outstanding the way it has continued to lift its personal bar in that point. If Mercedes stays on high or stays aggressive by one other massive rule change (it did the identical factor in 2018) there can be no denying that that is the best F1 dynasty we have ever seen.
44. Lewis Hamilton
Followers of Lewis Hamilton have seen him rewrite F1’s historical past books repeatedly in recent times and he goes into this 12 months attempting to win an unprecedented eighth championship. He was controversially denied that document final 12 months and comes into this season with a rating to settle, which is commonly when he races at his very best (see final 12 months’s Brazilian Grand Prix).
Hamilton, knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in December, is a spectacular racing driver. He is amazingly quick, whereas his sensible race craft and good tyre administration typically open up technique choices for Mercedes that may not exist for many different drivers. As a bonus, his legacy won’t simply be outlined on the race monitor. Hamilton, the one Black driver within the sport’s 72-year historical past, has change into an actual pressure for social change worldwide, pumping hundreds of thousands of his personal cash into bettering range in Formula One.
63. George Russell
After years of ready patiently for his probability, the time is now for George Russell. We noticed how good he could be when he was one botched pit-stop away from profitable as Lewis Hamilton’s stand-in on the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix and lots of within the paddock suppose Russell is a Formula One megastar within the making. If he lives as much as expectations Russell would be the way forward for Mercedes’ F1 venture for a very long time.
This 12 months Russell races alongside among the finest of all time and he might lay a marker down instantly by beating Hamilton throughout the season. Famously, Hamilton introduced his arrival on the scene by doing the identical to reigning two-time champion Fernando Alonso at McLaren in 2007. May historical past repeat itself in 2022?
Pink Bull is without doubt one of the finest groups of the fashionable period on and off the race monitor, an ideal mix of racing pedigree and high degree advertising. Whether or not it is the large floating motorhome it brings to the Monte Carlo harbour for the Monaco Grand Prix, conducting a pit-stop at zero-gravity at an altitude of 10,000 metres, or letting Max Verstappen drive considered one of his vehicles down a ski slope, you may at all times rely on Pink Bull to do one thing utterly completely different to the remaining.
On monitor, it additionally occurs to be constantly one of many grid’s strongest groups, with chief automobile designer Adrian Newey nonetheless as revered now as he was 15 years in the past. Its driver programme stays the perfect producer of younger F1 expertise on the grid by a snug distance.
Max Verstappen, F1’s defending champion, has modified the sport since his debut in 2015, not simply as F1’s youngest race winner, however in utterly reshaping the game’s guidelines of wheel to wheel racing. His method is controversial to some however Verstappen can do issues with a automobile few others can match. Like Ayrton Senna, his refusal to surrender a nook when going wheel to wheel with one other driver has earned him a legion of assist – a motorsport survey of 167,000 followers carried out final 12 months named Verstappen F1’s hottest driver.
Most amazingly with Verstappen is how unaffected he’s by the adulation and stress which surrounds him. His tempo could be relentless, nearly metronomic, equivalent to his untouchable efficiency finally 12 months’s Dutch Grand Prix, the primary ever in his dwelling nation since 1985. Verstappen gave the impression to be the one particular person in Zandvoort who did not see what all of the fuss was about.
11. Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez at all times appeared like he was going to be considered one of F1’s unfulfilled skills when he was caught as a midfield driver who usually out-performed his vehicles for the odd podium right here and there. Then he gained in Bahrain final 12 months and moved to Pink Bull, presenting the chance of a lifetime. It was tough to argue he did not deserve the chance.
Perez’s degree of assist in Mexico borderlines on non secular worship and as a racing driver he stays considered one of F1’s hottest. His type is difficult to dislike and on the races he might tame the RB17 Pink Bull final 12 months he was actually good — he ought to be much more snug on the workforce this season. Perez additionally confirmed his worth to Pink Bull on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix final 12 months, incomes himself the nickname of Mexico’s Minister of Defence for the best way he held off Hamilton at a key level within the race.
How are you going to not love Ferrari? The Italian workforce is steeped in historical past, having been a part of each F1 season because the world championship began in 1950, however is getting into its 14th straight season with out a title. Over the previous few years Ferrari’s behavior of falling in need of expectations and underwhelming racing followers throughout the globe has felt like a somewhat merciless joke. This might be the 12 months that each one modifications, which is sufficient of a motive to root for the Prancing Horse in 2022.
16. Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc was on his technique to turning into an celebrity in 2019 as a a number of race winner earlier than Ferrari bought into hassle with the FIA over its engine and slid down the aggressive order in 2020 and 2021. However Leclerc’s outstanding expertise is inconceivable to disclaim. He claimed pole place on the Monaco Grand Prix final 12 months however a crash on the finish of qualifying in the end stopped him from profitable his dwelling race.
Leclerc is a particular expertise, who has gained at each degree of racing he is been at and who nearly everybody within the F1 paddock earmarked as a future world champion from the primary second he stepped by its gates.
55. Carlos Sainz
By some means, Carlos Sainz nonetheless appears like an undervalued and underappreciated expertise. He is considered one of many motor racing stars who’ve struggled to interrupt out of the shadow of a well-known racing surname. Rejected by Pink Bull earlier than stints at Renault and McLaren, final 12 months at Ferrari lastly felt like a correct breakout for the Spanish driver and he’s chasing that first F1 win this season.
However why cease there? He out-performed Leclerc, a longtime high tier driver, throughout final season. Leclerc looks like Mr Ferrari and the extra logical choose for ‘Ferrari driver who might be champion in 2022’, however Sainz thrives finest when he’s being written off. If you wish to root for the underdog, Sainz is your man.
Like Ferrari, McLaren is a sleeping big and one of many sport’s most revered groups. Nevertheless, its final constructors’ championship victory was in 2007 and it is solely simply dragged itself out of the darkish days of some years in the past when it was struggling to even make it out of the primary qualifying session each weekend. McLaren’s monumental F1 headquarters in Woking, England appears like one thing out of a science fiction film.
It is an thrilling period for McLaren and this new regulation change appears like its alternative to maneuver again to the massive time. CEO Zak Brown has finished a fantastic job rebuilding the F1 workforce over the previous 5 years whereas juggling a return to IndyCar and an entry to Exteme E. Brown additionally appears dedicated to giving younger North American skills like Colton Herta a possibility to get their foot within the door in Formula One.
4. Lando Norris
Lando Norris appears to be on an unstoppable rise to international superstardom. He is solely 22 however he is getting into his fourth season of Formula One as one of many sport’s hottest drivers. Norris is like F1’s Gen Z star — he loves gaming and nonetheless usually streams to very large numbers on Twitch. He is completely satisfied speaking about psychological well being points and the way he offers with the stress of arriving in F1 so younger and with so many expectations.
One more reason he’s so widespread away from all that’s that his expertise matches the hype. He out-performed Daniel Ricciardo final 12 months and will have gained the Russian Grand Prix. That first win will come, there is no doubt about that. Norris appears able to problem for a world championship as quickly as he has a automobile able to taking him there.
Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo generally appears extra like he is on the brink of host Saturday Evening Stay than race in Formula One, however that’s all a bit deceptive. Within the automobile Ricciardo stays considered one of F1’s high skills, with eight wins to his identify since 2014.
Ricciardo is the motive force you need within the automobile when you’ve got even the faintest sniff at victory, as he appears to discover a new degree in these moments, like finally 12 months’s Italian Grand Prix for McLaren. On his day Ricciardo is considered one of F1’s finest drivers. He the game’s finest at out-braking one other driver right into a nook — “lick the stamp and send it”, as he described it. He risked lots in transferring from Pink Bull to Renault in 2018 and at McLaren he hopes to return to the winners’ circle extra typically.
And if all that does not persuade you, he additionally drinks champagne out of his shoe when he is on the rostrum.
Alongside Pink Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes, Alpine (a sub-brand of Renault) is considered one of solely 4 F1 groups that builds its personal engines. That makes it a real constructor in F1 phrases, and in idea it might additionally make it F1’s sleeping big. The workforce based mostly in Enstone has an extended historical past within the sport, relationship all the best way again to Toleman — the workforce that gave Ayrton Senna his F1 debut — and consists of the title-winning outfits of Benetton and Renault, which helped Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso safe their first titles.
Common management modifications in recent times have meant long-term plans have been altered on an nearly annual foundation, and it stays uncertain that the workforce will return to the entrance of the grid underneath its present five-year plan. Former Aston Martin workforce boss Otmar Szafnauer is now accountable for making that occur and it is going to be fascinating to see how the workforce evolves underneath his command.
Additionally, if you happen to like pink vehicles then Alpine is the workforce for you. The French outfit will run a placing all-pink livery on the first two races earlier than switching again to a mixture of its conventional blue and pink for the remainder of the season.
14. Fernando Alonso
He hasn’t gained a championship in over 15 years, however some say Alonso continues to be essentially the most full driver in Formula One. The 2-time world champion, who secured his titles again in 2005 and 2006 with Renault, is a tenacious competitor and nonetheless a real challenger for victories if he ever will get his palms on a automobile able to doing so. He can learn a race from the cockpit higher than some engineers handle from the pit wall, marking him out as a contender for factors irrespective of the place he begins on the grid.
After which there’s the story of unfulfilled potential. He is the motive force who ended Schumacher’s dominance within the early 2000s and regarded set to problem the seven-time champion’s information, just for a collection of dramas and poorly timed workforce swaps to place a cap on his success. Alonso might simply be a five-time champion by now, however for thus many causes he is caught on two. It might be an enormous story if the 40-year-old bought one final shot on the title earlier than retiring.
31. Esteban Ocon
Ocon is a real fighter. Not like lots of his contemporaries in F1, he did not have a racing driver dad or bucket a great deal of cash to construct his profession, and as an alternative needed to do it purely on uncooked expertise and outcomes. He beat Verstappen to the Formula 3 title in 2014, however nonetheless needed to work twice as arduous to make his debut in F1 two years later with backmarkers Manor.
Simply as his profession was constructing momentum at Drive India in 2018, he was pressured right into a 12 months on the sidelines in 2019 when Lawrence Stroll purchased the workforce and drafted in his son, Lance, to switch Ocon. However the Frenchman fought again and returned in 2020 as a good stronger driver earlier than taking the primary win of his profession on the chaotic 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Had the timing of his arrival in F1 labored out in another way, his hyperlinks with Mercedes might have seen him alongside Hamilton in a world championship-winning automobile, however for no matter motive it wasn’t meant to be. However, do not rule him out for title success sooner or later.
It could be Pink Bull’s junior workforce, however AlphaTauri is arguably the good outfit in F1. Borrowing its identify and its type from Pink Bull’s Austrian vogue home means it is at all times trying sharp and the automobile’s crisp blue and white livery is a success with followers.
However do not write it off as type over substance; AlphaTauri has an extended historical past of punching above its weight and has twice gained its dwelling race, the Italian Grand Prix, in 2020 with Pierre Gasly and in 2008 with Sebastian Vettel when the workforce was generally known as Toro Rosso. It is also been step one into F1 for all of Pink Bull’s home-grown expertise, together with Vettel, Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo.
Go additional again within the workforce’s historical past and you will find the legendary Minardi identify, which fought doggedly as a plucky backmarker in F1 for over 20 years.
10. Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly is considered one of two nice Pink Bull reject redemption tales on the grid. Dropped by the workforce in summer season 2019, he returned to its secondary outfit and gained the Italian Grand Prix in 2020, which stays one of the astonishing race victories in F1 historical past. Rooting for Gasly, you are assured of two issues — he’ll qualify properly and he’ll race arduous, with most of the perception he was usually out-performing the automobile in 2021.
Gasly nonetheless appears unable to persuade Pink Bull he deserves a second probability, which is all of the extra motive to leap onto the Staff Gasly bandwagon this 12 months.
22. Yuki Tsunoda
It is tough to seek out causes to dislike Yuki Tsunoda. He is the primary to crack a joke about how small he’s (he stands at 5 foot 2 / 1.59m, small even by racing driver requirements) and admit he wants to surrender Uber Eats and gaming if he desires to remain in F1 long run. As a rookie, he struggled for consistency, however gave endearingly frank self-assessments to the media, which is a rarity in a sport as cut-throat as F1 and in an atmosphere as notoriously unforgiving as Pink Bull.
On monitor the Japanese driver could be one of the thrilling wheel-to-wheel racers of the lot and if he lives as much as all his guarantees of self-improvement in his spare time, he simply would possibly be capable to present everybody what all of the hype was about when he joined F1.
The legendary British sports activities automobile model returned to F1 final 12 months after a 61-year absence. If the Aston Martin model, we can’t must work too arduous to persuade you the way cool it’s, however suppose James Bond and British engineering as the final vibe.
Nevertheless, the racing workforce behind the identify dates again to Jordan, which scrapped away as F1’s perennial underdog for almost 20 years earlier than being purchased by Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya. It is newest consortium of householders, led by Lawrence Stroll, have set their sights on shopping for their technique to the entrance of the grid, so if you wish to be part of a workforce in the beginning of its success journey, Aston Martin just isn’t a foul place to look.
After Hamilton, Vettel has gained essentially the most titles of any driver on the grid with 4 to his identify from his time at Pink Bull. Since then he is pushed and gained races for Ferrari, the place he was adored by the workforce however struggled to ship a title, and final 12 months switched to Aston Martin the place he hopes to rekindle his profession.
Vettel just isn’t solely a proficient driver but in addition among the finest ambassadors for the game. Previously 12 months he has campaigned for LGBTQ+ rights in Hungary, promoted the significance of recycling after the British Grand Prix and proven his assist for Ukraine on his helmet following Russia’s latest invasion.
18. Lance Stroll
The son of workforce co-owner Lawrence Stroll, Lance appears set to be a everlasting fixture on the workforce for so long as he desires to stay in F1. He is about as laid again as a driver could be, however has proven glimpses of his underlying ardour for F1 when outcomes have gone his means, equivalent to his epic moist climate pole place qualifying lap on the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix.
Within the Nineteen Eighties and Nineteen Nineties, Williams was a powerhouse in Formula One. The workforce nonetheless sits second as essentially the most profitable outfit when it comes to constructors’ championship victories — with 9 to its identify — however hasn’t gained a title since 1997. Regardless that it’s now not owned by the Williams household, everybody in Formula One nonetheless has a delicate spot for the British workforce. To see the historic identify return to the entrance of the sphere can be one of many nice feel-good tales in sport, though the probabilities of that occuring this 12 months stay extremely slim.
23. Alexander Albon
Within the area of three years, Albon has had a rollercoaster F1 profession. On the finish of 2018 after a robust displaying in Formula 2, it regarded like he was set to forge a path in Formula E just for Pink Bull to come back knocking on the final minute and signal him as much as fill a niche at its junior workforce, Toro Rosso, for 2019. He was so spectacular within the first half of the 2019 season that he was promoted to the senior Pink Bull workforce halfway by the 12 months after which given a shot at partnering Verstappen for a full season in 2020. Sadly issues did not go his means and by the top of the 12 months he was again out of F1 and racing in Germany’s DTM collection in 2021.
However for all of the ups and downs, there is no doubt that Albon deserves one other shot on the pinnacle of the game. At Williams he might have discovered the right atmosphere to construct his confidence and show simply how good he’s.
He is one of many nicest guys in F1 and, on his day, has proven the potential to attain factors in an underperforming automobile. Over the previous two years he struggled to shine alongside Russell at Williams, however which will have been a mirrored image of how good his former teammate was somewhat than a mark towards his personal expertise.
Going up towards Albon is an efficient alternative for Latifi to point out he can nonetheless problem the perfect of F1’s younger drivers, and his success in doing so might decide how lengthy he stays within the sport after his present contract expires on the finish of the 12 months.
Alfa Romeo has one of many longest motor racing histories of any automobile firm on the planet. Enzo Ferrari began out racing Alfa Romeos within the Twenties and the identify continues to be one of the evocative within the motor trade. These days, Alfa Romeo’s presence in F1 is a branding train as a part of a sponsorship cope with the Sauber F1 workforce — the Swiss-based outfit that also makes and runs the vehicles. However when the branding appears pretty much as good because the livery on this 12 months’s Alfa Romeo C42, that is merely another excuse to get behind the workforce.
What’s extra, Sauber is considered one of F1’s most likeable groups, with an extended historical past of punching above its weight and the quirky truth it is the one workforce not based mostly in both the U.Okay. or Italy. This 12 months, it seems to have made a step ahead underneath the brand new rules, which might make it a daily level scorer as soon as extra.
77. Valtteri Bottas
For the previous 5 years, Bottas has been finest recognized for being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate, so the change to Alfa Romeo is a bit like hitting the reset button on his profession. He’d nonetheless be at Mercedes if he’d had the selection, however the hope is that the brand new atmosphere will assist re-energise the Finn after so a few years taking part in second fiddle to Hamilton. On his day, he is clearly one of many quickest drivers in F1 and was able to beating Hamilton in straight fights on multiple event.
If he can discover extra consistency now the stress is off, his profession might get a second wind that propels him again to the entrance of the grid. Below the straight-talking exterior there’s a brilliantly dry sense of humour, which can hopefully shine by as he leads Alfa Romeo this 12 months.
24. Zhou Guanyu
Zhou is China’s first full-time F1 driver and arrives within the sport with the expectation of nation weighing on his shoulders. F1 has lengthy tried to crack the Chinese language market, however regardless of a small and dependable fanbase that attends every race in Shanghai, the game has not gone mainstream within the nation. F1 hopes Zhou, who he’s undoubtedly essentially the most proficient driver to emerge from China so far, will change that.
He’s additionally the one rookie driver on the grid this 12 months, which comes with a level of stress but in addition a helpful excuse if he makes errors. He carried out fairly properly in F2 final 12 months, taking 4 victories and ending third general, however there are a lot of who imagine the prospect to race in F1 at Alfa Romeo ought to have gone to the person who beat Zhou to the F2 title, Oscar Piastri. Zhou, naturally, can be attempting to show his doubters flawed in 2022.
It is endured a couple of tough seasons lately, however when F1’s American workforce is aggressive it’s the grid’s equal of Scrappy-Doo. A small outfit which has at occasions punched properly above its weight on restricted assets in comparison with the remaining. Add to that the circumstances this 12 months, the place it comes into the season with out a title sponsor and with a automobile that set headline grabbing occasions in follow, and it could be one other nice underdog story.
47. Mick Schumacher
This one is straightforward. Mick Schumacher has essentially the most well-known surname in motor racing. His father Michael is considered one of F1’s biggest ever and is beloved by followers so it is pure to need his son to be a hit. Mick appears like an F1 model of Dale Earnhardt Jr in that regard.
Schumacher’s race quantity, 47, is a nod to his dad — he is mentioned beforehand he appears like he is racing “for number seven”, a reference to the variety of titles his father gained in his unbelievable profession.
However like Dale Jr, Mick can be decided to be his personal man and show he belongs on advantage. He has a fantastic alternative to do this in 2022 in what might be a aggressive Haas. It is arduous to seek out many individuals in racing who don’t desire this to be one other Schumacher racing success story.
20. Kevin Magnussen
One of the nice comeback tales in F1’s latest historical past, Magnussen doubted he’d ever drive in F1 once more in the beginning of this month, solely to be referred to as upon to come back again to Haas and substitute Nikita Mazepin. Magnussen is a hard-racing driver who battles for each inch of monitor, which is ideal for what Haas will want within the midfield this 12 months.
When he must be, he is outspoken and as his well-known run-in with Nico Hulkenberg reveals, he is by no means afraid of telling one other driver the place to go. The Dane’s scrappy angle completely matches the Haas workforce, which makes ‘Okay-Magazine’ very tough to root towards.