After two opening rounds in the Middle East, the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship is in Melbourne this weekend for the Rolex Australian Grand Prix. This event used to be the opening round for a long time but that ended in 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although some teams had expressed reservations about participating as the pandemic began to look very serious, the organizers wanted to go ahead. It seemed like it was on until government authorities ordered the race to be cancelled – just 2 hours before the first practice was to be run.

In 2021, the Australian GP was again chosen as the opening round but due to the restrictions on travellers, it was moved to November, but cancelled in July. 2022 was the first year that the F1 round returned to Australia and a new contract extends the venue till 2035. The event will also be one of the first 3 rounds of each season, and will be the opening round for at least 5 seasons.


The 2023 Formula 1 World Championship continues in the Middle East after the opening round in Bahrain with Round 2 at the seaside resort and port city on the Red Sea where the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is being held this weekend. Situated 30 kms from Jeddah, the is the third time that the  city is hosting a round on its Corniche street circuit.

Like the Bahrain GP, the Saudi Arabian GP will also be run at night on the 6.174-km circuit, the second longest in the 2023 calendar (after Spa-Francorchamps). Designed by Carsten Tilke, the son of the famous F1 circuit designer, Hermann Tilke, this is the fastest street circuit in the F1 calendar at the moment. Speeds on simulators have averaged over 250 km/h around the track which has 27 turns, the most of any circuit this year.

Race starts at 5 pm in Abu Dhabi | 9 pm in Malaysia

After 21 rounds in 19 countries, the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship has reached its final round this weekend at the Yas Marina Circuit, the venue of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since 2009 and also where racing after sunset began for F1. Since 2014, it has been the last round of the championship and is likely to remain so till the end of the decade.

Last year saw changes made which resulted in a faster, more flowing track, with improved overtaking opportunities. The main changes were removing the old chicane at the start of the second sector and widening the following hairpin. The twisty chicanes at the start of the final sector were replaced by one long, banked corner. This has improved overtaking possibilities into the hairpin at Turn 5, at the new banked Turn 9 and in the final sector where the corners in the hotel complex were opened up.


Max Verstappen is on pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix tomorrow, after an incident with Lando Norris was investigated and the Stewards decided to give him only a reprimand rather than any penalty which would affect his qualifying position.

If the Formula 1 teams were looking forward to a more comfortable environment after hot and humid F1 round in Singapore, they have been drenched again at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan where Round 18 of the Formula 1 World Championship is being held this weekend. But at least it’s cooler (low 20s compared to Singapore’s 30s) and certainly less humid (57% in Japan, 88% in Singapore).

Like Singapore, the Japanese Grand Prix could not be run during the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So instead of being the 38th Japanese F1 GP, it is the 36th time since 1976. Other than 2007 and 2008 when the Japanese event was held at the Fuji Raceway, the Suzuka International Racing Course (owned by Honda) has been the venue since 1987.

Race starts at 3 pm in Azerbaijan/7 pm in Malaysia

After the tight and twisty streets of Monaco in the previous round of the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship, the teams again face the challenge of any urban circuit. It’s the Baku City Circuit for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Round 8 of the championship, which has been a venue every year since 2016 except in 2020 when the event was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Like Monaco, Baku is also along a coast, in this case by the Caspian Sea. Its Old Town has twists and turns and the close barriers of a regular street circuit, which is one type of challenge for the drivers. Then there are also long and wide open boulevards which feed into a number of 90˚ corners, offering many overtaking opportunities.

The cornering speeds and gears used by the drivers of the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS racing car at the Baku City Circuit.

The length of the high-speed straight, however, pushes teams towards a low-downforce set-up, potentially making the streets of the Old Town section even more treacherous. Setting up a racing car for Baku is therefore a tricky task. Teams will look for a compromise in the setup, similar to Spa-Francorchamps, where reducing drag without losing too much downforce is a key consideration.

The tarmac on the Baku City Circuit is very smooth, and some sections of it are re-laid annually to completely cover the old town’s cobblestones. Furthermore, the tight confines of the buildings around the circuit mean that there are alternate areas of light and shade, varying the track temperature quite a bit around the lap.

Getting tyres up to temperature can be tough due to the very low average steer angle, which results in very little energy being put into the tyres. Teams have to rely more on the heat from braking to keep tyres warm since not as much energy is generated in the corners as at other circuits.

For this round, Pirelli has brought the three softest tyres in its range. This is the same selection as was made for the same event last year, but the compounds and constructions are completely new for 2022.

“Until Jeddah came along, Baku was the fastest street circuit of the year. But the demands of this city track are still relatively low, as none of the corners take a huge amount of energy out of the tyres due to the low levels of abrasion and contained lateral loads – which means that we can have the same nomination as Monaco,” said Mario Isola, Pirelli’s Motorsport Director.

Since the track is 6 kms long with 10 braking sections, the brakes are used for 20.5 seconds per lap: this may sound a lot but is only 20% of the entire race compared with 21% of the Monaco GP and 22% of the Singapore GP.

In the Drivers’ Championship, third place in Monaco means Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has a 9-point lead over Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who finished fourth in the last round. Victory in Monaco has put Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s team mate, just 6 points behind Leclerc. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull, with 235 points, now lead Ferrari by 36 points.

Since the first race (as the European GP) in 2016, Mercedes-AMG has won 3 times, making it the most successful team in Baku. Red Bull is next with two wins. No driver has managed a repeat win in Baku and last year’s winner, Sergio Perez, will certainly be aiming to go to the top of the podium again.

Race starts at 3 pm in Monaco/9 pm in Malaysia

After the Spanish Grand Prix a week ago, Formula 1 is in Monte Carlo this weekend for the seventh round of the 2022 World Championship – the Monaco Grand Prix. This is among the oldest events and this year is the 68th time the event has been held as a championship round. It was on the original calendar in 1950 and has only been cancelled once – in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced authorities to stop all public gatherings.

The Monaco GP is probably the most famous race of each season and for a while, its major attraction was being a street circuit. Because it uses public roads, the track is narrow with many tight turns. It is a challenging track with no run-offs, just concrete walls and barriers. Overtaking is nearly impossible, putting the emphasis on qualifying – but the drivers have always loved it.

Somewhere in there is the Formula 1 racetrack that has been used since 1950.

There is a high risk of incidents, and the Safety Car has often influenced the race outcome at this track in the past. However, as with the other tracks so far, the new generation of F1 racing cars this year will also present new challenges as their behaviour and performance will be different.

“Winning a race there in 2008, I felt like I was at the top of the highest mountain of the world,” said Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton. “So many different things need to come together for that to happen and it is a track where you just can’t leave anything on the table.”

“Usually after that race, you are mentally destroyed for a good couple of days,” Hamilton said. Other tracks require a mix of physical and mental strength but, in Monaco, the focus is much more on the mental side, due to the levels of concentration needed to lap the circuit.

“Monaco is a circuit that’s probably the highest in concentration and mental focus,” he explained. “The street circuit nature, the fact it is quite short and there are not very long straights. It’s not a massively physical circuit because we are not doing really high speeds through corners and pulling the g-forces you would somewhere like Barcelona. But your mind is having to work so much faster.”

The cornering speeds and gears used by the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team drivers.

Over just one lap in Monaco, there’s little time for drivers to rest, taking multi-tasking to the next level. Balancing the brake, throttle, steering, dealing with the forces and feeling what the car is doing through their body, and also paying attention to their surroundings – there’s a lot for drivers to deal with over a lap that is just 3.337 kms in length.

And then you have to consider the drivers making switch and steering wheel changes as they lap the track, too. With few straights, there aren’t many opportunities to take their hand off the wheel and make those adjustments. So teams have to really consider whether it’s worth the risk of drivers making switch changes, and also ensure they head out on track each time with the correct settings, to minimise the workload.

When it comes to the track layout, the circuit is dominated by slow and medium-speed corners, including some of the lowest corner speeds on the calendar. The slippery street asphalt (which is opened up to traffic each evening) and slow speeds mean that the energy going through the tyres is low, with minimal wear and degradation, but quite a high degree of track evolution each day.

All this means that a one-stopper is the norm in Monaco, but there’s quite a wide pit-stop window and the timing of the stops can be influenced by Safety Cars, which are very likely around the tight confines of the circuit.

The cars run a special high-downforce configuration for Monaco in order to maximise grip at low speeds, with combined grip generated both mechanically from tyres and aerodynamically from downforce. This is obviously the first time that the new generation of 18-inch Formula 1 cars has raced at Monaco though, so the teams will have a lot to learn about how they react in these unique conditions, with the weather on the Mediterranean coast sometimes hard to predict at this time of year.

“Monaco is often described as one of the most unpredictable races of the year,” said Pirelli’s Motorsport Director, Mario Isola. “We might see some different strategies this year, with some drivers picking harder compounds to begin the race to target running a long first stint, given the difficultly of overtaking. Others may choose a more traditional approach by starting on the softest compound, at a race where strategy can make a real difference.”


Race starts at 3 pm in Australia/1 pm in Malaysia

The Australian Grand Prix of 2020 was the first Formula 1 event to be cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was a sudden cancellation, literally at the ‘eleventh hour’. The state government has forced its cancellation as the pandemic worsened and it started the ball rolling for other organizers to also cancel.

The Australian round has traditionally been the opening round of the season for many years so for the 2021 calendar, it was again placed at the start. However, the strict entry conditions at the start of 2021 made it difficult and uncertain for teams, so the organizers asked for their round to be postponed towards the end of the year when, hopefully, conditions would ease. But they did not (and would not till this year) and so the event had to be cancelled altogether.

This year, the Australian Grand Prix can finally be run although it could not regain its season-opening position and was scheduled as Round 3 of the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship. The circuit at Albert Park in Melbourne has changed and the entire track has been resurfaced. Some of the turns have been widened and a chicane has also been removed. The latter change is intended to provide a good overtaking spot, something which gives spectators the excitement to watch.

According to Brembo, the brake suppliers for all teams, it is one of those tracks with a medium level of difficulty for brakes. Since it is usually used for daily traffic, the track is slippery on Friday but, session by session, the asphalt is increasingly rubberized, also improving braking performance. This also translates into greater pad and disc wear, as they reach extremely high temperatures due to the increase in grip. ​

With the long experience Brembo has accumulated in Formula 1 since 1975 when they supplied to Ferrari, they have a range of solutions for the calipers that contribute to the heat dissipation of the entire braking system. One of these solutions is the Brembo pads with ventilation holes, something that is anything but simple to achieve because of their small dimensions and the materials the pads are made of, starting with carbon. Thanks to these holes, air circulation is greater and this staves off the overheating of the pads and the calipers themselves.

In 2022, the technical regulations ban having these holes in the pads in order to limit the cost of the component, but the teams are already on the hunt for cooling features that will improve this aspect without breaking any rules, such as fins or other processes to at least increase the exchange surface.

The minimum cornering speeds and gears used by the Mercedes-AMG drivers at Albert Park.

For Pirelli, the tyre people, there are a few unknowns because of the new track surface and changes, so past data cannot be entirely referred to. “There is a completely new generation of cars and tyres that the drivers are still trying to learn about. All these factors mean that there will be a lot of work to do for teams and drivers in the free practice sessions. We decided to opt for the step in the compound nominations because we noticed that there was a relatively small performance gap between the C3 and C4 compounds during development testing, and we believe that Albert Park – with its new asphalt and layout – is a good place to try out this option,” said Mario Isola, Pirellis’ Motorsport Director.

“We had to deal with a lot of new things compared to the last time that we raced here. The track is completely different from what it used to be: it’s definitely faster and the new tarmac feels totally different in terms of grip as far as I can remember,” said Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

The first two rounds of the championship have seen Ferrari and Red Bull Racing outpacing the Mercedes-AMG team. It’s still early days and the reigning champions are trying hard to address issues with set-up but still some way to go to match the pace of the frontrunners.

The Albert Park circuit is one of those where Lewis Hamilton has not had a notable record of wins (only two) even though he started from pole position a record 8 times. It is Michael Schumacher who has had the most wins with 4 wins, followed by Sebastian Vettel who has won 3 times. The McLaren team has had the most victories in Australia with eleven to date, with Ferrari having two less.

Race starts in Jeddah at 8 pm/1 am (Monday) in Malaysia

While the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 caused cancellations and rescheduling of the rounds of Formula 1 World Championship, there have been many other times when certain rounds have not been run in the past. However, they were not due to conflicts or political issues in the host country, with the exception of the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix which was cancelled when anti-government protests (inspired by the ‘Arab Spring’) led to concerns about security for the F1 participants.

This year, the conflict in Ukraine has seen the termination – not just cancellation – of the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi by Formula 1 as a response to the invasion of Ukraine. Yesterday, the second round of the 2022 championship in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, was also the subject of security and safety concerns after an Aramco oil storage facility just 11 kms from the circuit was attacked by Yemen’s Houthis. However, after much discussion with government agencies and the teams, it was announced that the race would go on as there were sufficient assurances of protection.

“We have received total assurance that the country’s safety is first,” said Formula One CEO, Stefano Domenicali. “So they have in place all the systems to protect this area, the city, the places where we are going. So we feel confident and we have to trust the local authority in that respect.”

“The attacks had targeted economic infrastructure and not civilians. We have the assurance from a high level that this is a secure place, the whole thing will be secure and let’s go on racing,” added FIA President, Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

This second round of the 2022 championship is the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and it is the second time the event is being run at Jeddah where the 6.174-km long Corniche Street Circuit has been created. Like the Bahrain round last weekend, this 50-lap race will be run after sunset with over 600 lights providing illumination (connected by 200,000 metres of cable and fibreoptic lines).

Very fast circuit
The young circuit has proven to be one of F1’s fastest circuits (and it also has the most corners this year). At an average speed of 253.9 km/h, Lewis Hamilton’s pole lap last year is second on the current calendar, behind Monza. It trails the Italian track, Silverstone (pre-2010 layout) and the Osterreichring in the all-time list.

A number of revisions have been made, mainly at improving the sight-lines for the drivers. This has been done by moving the barriers further back. The track at the final Turn 27 has been widened to 12 metres, and that could mean a quicker lap time than last year.

However, as will be the case at every track this year, the redesigned cars for 2022 will require understanding of the new demands. With the walls close and the stakes high, judgment and precision will be key factors for victory.

Haas F1’s Mick Schumacher was going flat out in the second qualifying session and crashed into the wall at Turn 12. He was conscious when extracted from the car and taken to hospital.

Cornering speeds and gears used by the Mercedes-AMG W13 racing cars for the 27 corners of the circuit.

“The Jeddah circuit marks a completely different challenge compared to the opening Grand Prix in Bahrain due to the diverse track characteristics, both in terms of layout and asphalt. Drivers will also use a softer range of compounds this weekend to cope with the specific demands of the track, which is nearly as quick as Monza. The teams have no experience of these tyres and cars on the circuit, and conditions could be somewhat different from last time in Saudi Arabia just 4 months ago – with the race now being held at a different time of year and a few track modifications in store,” said Pirelli’s Motorsport Director, Mario Isola.

Brembo supplies all teams
The Brembo Group is supplying all the teams with its calipers, the first time since 1975. All 20 cars will have new nickel-plated and machined from billet 6-piston calipers, the maximum number allowed by the regulations. Five of the teams will also use by-wore units to manage rear braking, allowing balancing of braking forces between front and rear wheels.

Brembo engineers have also worked with each team to customize many of the brake systems because each racing car is set up differently. Some teams opt for lighter and less rigid calipers, while others choose stiffer, heavier set-ups; so the weight/stiffness ratio has to be optimized for each brake caliper. In-wheel sensors keep the team’s engineers informed of the disc and caliper temperatures at all times so they and the drivers can regulate and optimize braking performance.

Some of the new regulations have affected brake disc design. Until 2021, discs could be pierced with up to 1,480 holes of 2.5 mm diameter. This year, the requirements allow for between 1,000 and 1,100 holes at the front and around 900 at the back, compared with 1,050 holes previously. The updated rules also impose a new minimum diameter of 3 mm. This means that while disc thickness stays the same, there will be fewer and larger holes, reducing cooling ability.

Perforated brake pads have also been banned this season, so Brembo is offering teams a choice of two alternative configurations. In terms of weight, the 2022 braking system is around 700 gms heavier per wheel, adding almost 3 kgs to the total weight of cars compared to last season.

Changing dominance?
The new era of F1 has already lived up to expectations that the dominance of Mercedes-AMG and Red Bull Racing can be challenged by others, and Ferrari’s victory in the first round showed this. While the reigning champions Mercedes-AMG will be looking to do better than third (and not from the misfortune of others), Red Bull Racing has revealed that the sudden power failures to both its cars in the closing laps was because of a fault in fuel delivery which they do not expect to happen again.

Haas F1 had a surprising performance without Nikita Mazepin around (not that he contributed any points last year) as Kevin Magnussen finished fifth, and Mick Schumacher was just one position short of the top 10 finishers. George Russell also did well in his first official drive with the Mercedes-AMG team (second if you include the stand-in drive last year), while the tenth placing by newcomer Zhou GuanYu was commendable for his very first F1 race.

The first race of the new Formula 1 season started as the sun disappeared and the lights came on around the Bahrain International Circuit in the Sakhir Desert. Unusually, there was no car with the Mercedes star at the front row, and it was a red Ferrari with Charles Leclerc in it occupying pole position. Alongside Leclerc was Max Verstappen, the World Champion, and his arch-rival was further back in the fifth spot – ironically alongside his former team mater, Valtteri Bottas who is now in Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN.

As the lights went green for the first time in the 2022 season, Leclerc used his position to sprint forward ahead of Verstappen as the rest of the pack followed. While Hamilton managed to move up a couple of positions, his old buddy Bottas lost ground and fell further back before Turn 2.

The two Haas drivers were not having an easy time getting into the ‘groove’ as Kevin Magnussen locked up his tyres and Red Bull driver Sergio Perez, who had fallen down to seventh (due to a poor start), got past him, while Mick Schumacher had an ‘incident’ with BWT Alpine’s Esteban Ocon which got the attention of the Stewards. The latter was given a 5-second penalty but both cars were able to remain in the race.

By the time the first tenth of the 57-lap race had passed, Leclerc and Verstappen were steadily pulling away from the rest, separated from each other by about 2 seconds. Third place was being contested by three drivers – Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), Hamilton and Perez, while Geroge Russell was pushing hard to get closer to his new team mate in the Mercedes-AMG team.

On lap 8, it appeared than McLaren’s Lando Norris was pushed wide by Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll (which also caused Daniel Ricciardo to have to go wide) and after the Stewards looked into the incident, it was decided that no action or penalty was necessary.

By lap 13, Verstappen and Hamilton were frustrated with quickly diminishing grip from their tyres as degradation was faster than expected. Hamilton chose to come in for a change to Hards. When he rejoined, he was down to 11th and then 12th when the Alfa Romeo of newcomer Zhou sped past him – but he was ahead of the 7-time World Champion only briefly.

Other drivers began to come in after that, with Leclerc – still leading – coming in on lap 16 together with Perez. However, where the Ferrari driver switched to Softs, Perez got Mediums. Leclerc’s departure from the track was short and quick and he kept his lead position but with less than a second’s separation from Verstappen as he rejoined.

Once Hamilton got his tyres warmed up, he began to move up but it was a long way to the leaders who were about 18 seconds away. He made it up to fifth and then there was a 5-second gap to Perez which was going to need a lot of effort to close. Russell was next in line but 7 seconds behind and steadily working his way forward, mindful of Magnussen pursuing.

On lap 19, Verstappen made a strong effort going into Turn 1 but miscalculated and locked up, not making t pass the Ferrari. In the process, he flat-spotted his tyres and had to back off a bit to let the brakes cool down as well. While he was doing that, the other Ferrari driver, Sainz, was moving closer but had to watch out for the other Red Bull as well.

As the race reached the halway point about 50 minutes after the start, Hamilton came into the pits to switch to Mediums. As he rejoined, he slotted between Pierre Gasly and Ocon to take eighth place. The other drivers who had also come in a second time to change tyres were Fernando Alonso and Yuki Tsunoda.

Verstappen came in on lap 31 and Ferrari brought Leclerc in right after that. The pitstops dropped the Dutchman to fourth and Leclerc to third, while Sainz inherited the lead with Perez about 3 seconds behind.

On lap 34, Sainz and Perez departed from the race to get their tyres changed and Leclerc got back his lead, with Verstappen 2 seconds behind and told by his team that he could go all out.

By lap 38, the frontrunners were encountering the slower cars and Sainz had a scare as he passed Alexander Albon and the Williams driver almost collided with him. Actually, the Thai driver was not up to speed as he had just come out from the pit lane. However, no contact occurred and the Ferrari managed to quickly speed away.

The two McLarens were way down the field (almost at the end), unable to move up and Lando Norris tried to do with just one stop but couldn’t, while Ricciardo was having problems with his radio. Tsunoda was trying his best to keep his tenth place as Alonso kept trying to take it from him.

Magnussen was showing that Haas should never have dropped him and given his place to Nikita Mazepin who didn’t do anything positive for the team in 2021. On his first race back with the team, he was able to move into a secure seventh by 15 laps from the end, almost certain to collect points that Haas never saw at all last year.

On lap 46, as Verstappen was reporting steering problems, Gasly’s car suddenly caught fire and he quickly pulled to the side and managed to get out safely. The Safety Car was quickly sent out to lead the racing cars and Leclerc took the opportunity to get into the pits, switch to Softs and have fresh tyres to fight better in the remaining 11 laps. As he sped back to take his place, he almost rammed into the Safety Car! Unhappy that the Mercedes-AMG was not going fast enough, Leclrc complained to his team, hoping they would pass on the message that it must go quicker and not cause him a ‘big disadvantage’.

The Safety Car came in on lap 50 and Leclerc was ready to slingshot away from the Red Bull which was just behind. However, Verstappen could not focus too much on the car ahead as he had another Ferrari in his mirrors as well. Perez and Hamilton were also jostling for fourth and perhaps in desperation, Hamilton almost collided with the other car.

Verstappen’s race ended suddenly as he pulled into the pits on lap 55 and the last conversation heard over the radio was something about the battery, which his engineer said was not the problem. He had been having steering problems but was not informed what exactly was the fault.

The departure of Verstappen left the way open for Sainz to close in on his team mate and give Ferrari not just its first win since September 2019 but also a 1-2 finish. Perez also began having loss of power and before he could get around Turn 1, his car spun and the other cars had to avoid it. For Hamilton, at least the sudden retirement of the Rd Bulls allowed him to get onto the podium, while Russell finished just behind in fourth. That’s racing… it isn’t decided till the finish line is crossed by someone.

Race starts at 6 pm in Bahrain/11 pm in Malaysia

The 2022 Formula 1 World Championship starts a new season this weekend in Bahrain which, as in 2021, was the venue for the season-opener and replaced Australia (which had complications due to its pandemic restrictions and requirements). This is the 18th time Bahrain has hosted a round of F1 and has done so every year since 2004, except in 2011.

Although the last race at the Bahrain International Circuit was at the end of March last year, the drivers have fresher memories of the track as they had test sessions there just last month. The circuit at Sakhir is located in the middle of the desert (on what was formerly a camel farm) and has no less than 1,120 palm trees around the site. But while it may be located in a desert, sand doesn’t present much of an issue for the teams and cars, and the track surface cleans up quickly.

The majority of the F1 races held in Bahrain have used the 5.412-km Grand Prix layout, but on one occasion in 2010, the 6.299-km Endurance layout was used. It was not a popular switch as drivers found that the additional corners did not offer passing opportunities, so the GP circuit was used thereafter up till today.

The Bahrain Grand Prix is a twilight race, starting at sunset and finishing after dark when 495 lighting posts are switched on to bring daylight onto the track. Despite the new F1 weekend format, FP1 and FP3 still take place in daylight, while FP2.and qualifying take place in the evening. FP2 is therefore a crucial session for all the teams as it is the one chance to run the car in similar conditions to those experienced in qualifying and the 57-lap race.

Because of the various changes to the weekend format, there is less time for mechanics to work on the cars and less engineering time, due to the earlier curfew. So, more emphasis is put on hitting the ground running with good preparation and simulation work, hence more emphasis being on the pre-weekend preparations.

By now, racing fans will know that this year sees major changes in technical regulations to the extent that even wheel sizes have been increased. So this first round will be very interesting, and everyone will be watching to see how the changes affect performance. Toto Wolff, the Mercedes-AMG team boss, expects the performance of the cars through the corners will change. “For example, we expect the cars to take Turn 4 in Bahrain at 115 km/h in 2022, compared to 135 km/h last year. Similarly, a high-speed corner like Turn 12 will now be taken at 240 km/h, compared to 265 km/h,” he said.

“The teams had the chance get familiar with the 2022 18-inch tyre range, having spent a total of 6 days of testing with all the compounds, although not always in representative conditions. We know from the past that track temperatures can play an important role in Bahrain, affecting tyre degradation, and that’s something we noticed at the recent test as well. During the race temperatures should be milder compared to FP1 and FP3, so the teams will have to focus on their data from FP2 and qualifying. It’s still hard to predict the race strategy as, in the past, Bahrain has been a multi-stop race, but it will be interesting to see if anyone will try something different this year,” said Mario Isola, Pirelli’s Motorsport Director.

The official tyre-supplier has chosen the hardest compounds in the new low-profile range. Removing the requirement for the top ten to start the race on their Q2 rubber will, however, alter the established pattern in which the teams choose their tyres during the weekend.

The No. 5 Aston Martin won’t be in the race and instead, you’ll see No. 27 which is the number for Nico Hulkenberg. He takes over Sebastian Vettel’s place as the German driver tested positive for COVID-19.

Zhou GuanYu, the first F1 driver from China, will be racing for Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN, alongside Valtteri Bottas.

2022 sees former driver Kevin Magnussen returning to take Nikita Mazepin’s place in the Haas F1 team, while Thai-British Alexander Albon gets another go at F1 with Williams Racing, along Nicholas Latifi. Joining Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN is Zhou GuanYu who is the first F1 driver from China, and he will partner Valtteri Bottas who has moved over from the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Team. You’ll notice Nico Hulkenberg listed with the Aston Martin Aramco COGNIZANT Team and that’s because Sebastian Vettel cannot take part due to being tested positive for COVID-19.

F1 tyres to go from 13 inches to 18 inches in 2022 (w/VIDEO)



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