Formula 1 - 2022 Season

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Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes driver to decide on F1 future after Abu Dhabi inquiry - BBC Sport
January 11, 2022

Lewis Hamilton will not decide whether to return to Formula 1 this season until he sees the results of an inquiry into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Hamilton is "disillusioned" with F1, his Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has said, as a result of last year's title-deciding race.

Hamilton lost the championship to Red Bull's Max Verstappen after FIA race director Michael Masi did not apply the rules correctly in a late safety-car period. Insiders say Hamilton has lost trust in the governing body as a result.
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One senior source told BBC Sport that Mercedes had dropped their appeal against the results of the race after agreeing a quid pro quo with the FIA.

This deal was said to be that Masi and FIA head of single-seater technical matters Nikolas Tombazis would no longer be in their positions for the 2022 season. Mercedes deny that any such deal was reached, and insist that they dropped their appeal after receiving assurances only that the issue would be treated seriously and appropriate action would be taken by the FIA.

Wolff said last month that Mercedes would "hold the FIA to account".

He did not clarify how he intended to do that but said he had "confidence, trust and faith" that the teams and drivers could work with the governing body to create a "more robust decision-making process".

Several senior figures have told BBC Sport that they do not see how Masi can retain his position as race director, but some have cautioned that the FIA is in a difficult position because there is no obvious replacement.
 

Pete

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Budkowski, let go by Alpine due to team reshuffling (Joe Saward, BBC), may go to Aston Martin. Both stories also suggest that Szafnauer, fired by Aston Martin, may go to Alpine. Weird.

We also have a timeline for the Abu Dhabi investigation (BBC):
  • Jan. 19th, FIA sporting advisory commision (team sporting directors plus FIA people) meet. There will be a separate discussion with drivers, not on the same day.
  • February, F1 Commision gets the report.
  • Mar. 18th, final decision announced.
 
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Bludd

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and no Jean Todt back to Ferrari it seems which is good, doesnt look good
 

Pete

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The Aston Martin 2022 car reveal seems to show the closest thing to their real car so far (Red Bull's was basically a repainted F1 show car, Haas was preliminary CGI with some things like where the front pushrods enter the tub basically a fudge). The Race has a YouTube vid (10mins, undoubtedly better than watching the 40min reveal) with some visual highlights and Gary Anderson's written article. Their Haas reveal video and article are maybe interesting in that the Haas may hint at some Ferrari themes (like the engine / sidepod packaging).

I may as well throw Masi stuff here, as nothing will change the 2021 results so it's really only relevant to 2022+. The BBC notes how Masi seems to parrot Red Bull's communications during the race. I still think Masi's actions are more mistake than conspiracy (prioritizing the weird "let's try to end the race under green flag" pre-race agreement over FIA F1 rules and responsibilities, ignoring his own recent reminder that all lapped cars must pass), but it does paint a picture of someone making a poor choice under time pressure. I still don't think they'll get rid of him because there isn't a clear replacement, a crazy situation considering Whiting's passing was such a surprise. Seb seems to be cool with him.
 

Bludd

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yeah masi alone in such a role going forward is untenable.
 

Pete

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Even more technical detail on the Aston from KYLE.ENGINEERS on YouTube. He was a former Merc aero guy.

Edit: Scarbs talkin’ bout the McLaren. Pullrod front suspension, tip of front wing as low as possible vs. Aston’s upturned lip, front of sidepods a vertical face that pushes the air out vs. Aston’s more scooped (chicken wing? ;) ) design that allows some air below the undercut, no shark gills on top of the sidepods.

Also, it seems the front wing Aston tested with at Silverstone today may be different to that of yesterday’s car, with the first (forward) element of the wing now attached to the nose. (McLaren’s reveal, like Aston’s, has a front element separate from and ahead of the nose.)

The Race’s McLaren vid. It has some nice comparison shots to the Aston.
 
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Pete

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Matthew Somerfield (I know him from Missed Apex’s Tech Time podcasts) has some ~10min looks at the new cars, too: Aston, McLaren, Alpha.

Scarbs (who’s also been on Missed Apex) provides his analysis on Peter Windsor’s channel (when he’s not on F1’s official channel alongside Sam). I linked his McLaren vid above, but he’s also done Aston and Haas.

I haven’t watched any official launches, but I’m guessing I learned more from several (Gary, Kyle, Somers, Scarbs all seem worthwhile) 10min analyses than a single hour-long PR session.

Edit: Kyle on the Alfa (spy shots of it testing, so some interesting stuff).
 
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Pete

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Unsurprising yet still bizarre. So the FIA, after telling everyone the Race Director makes the rules and blaming fans for being dimwitted, tacitly admits Masi erred (at least) in Abu Dhabi and weirdly strengthens the Drivers’ Title asterisk. Why not keep him on (after an apology, public or private, and a public explanation of what went wrong) and give him the benefit of the significant new support staff? Why wasn’t Blash assisting Masi from the beginning? Why haven’t they made the obvious decision to change “any” to “all” in the unlapping procedure? And, as I’ve seen suggested, modified virtual and full safety car rules to allow everyone a chance at a cheap pit stop?

Anyway, Szafnauer is now team principle at Alpine and Ferrari’s new F1-75 has some funky-ass sidepods. Even if these reveals hide most or all of the 2022 cars, at least I’m learning a lot about the new regs and aero in general.
 

Bludd

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im getting hyped for f1 2022.
drive to survive s4 march 11th

otmar at alpine, ok fine. hope his spine has grown back after working for larry stroll

the masi thing sucks, his position was untenable but also new fia president is on the other hand throwing him under the bus
he could maybe be part of the new team, but maybe masi said no he wont continue if hes not the sole race director, who knows
 

Pete

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30min Ferrari analysis video by Kyle. Lots of details to chew on. He’s not as skeptical of it as Gary Anderson, but says it’s anybody’s guess as to how it will perform.

The new Merc also looks interesting (The Race’s video). Sidepods and engine cover look very tight at first glance (look at the comparo shot to the Ferrari at 2:56, though the one at 4:50 shows the Aston isn’t far off), similar to their previous car but different to some new ones.

I’m loving how different some of these cars look.
 
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Pete

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Kyle on the Merc. His Merc and Ferrari vids are especially informative, as was The Race’s podcast on the Alpha Tauri.

Has anyone mentioned Sprint Race points weirdness yet? I think points now extend to fifth place, 6-4-3-2-1. Only three Sprint Races instead of the proposed six because some teams wanted mo’ money “for accidents.” Pole position award will return to whoever tops Qualifying (vs. last year’s sprint race determining pole for the official records). I think they also did away with the Q2 start tire rule, though I don’t remember if that just pushes the start tire to your Q3 best lap for the top ten or if the whole grid gets a free choice.
 
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