The 2022 F1 US GP arrives at a crucial juncture in the championship. Max Verstappen has sealed the drivers' title but there are still stakes to fight for. Every position in the constructors' standings leads to a huge increment in prize money and there are so many teams tied close to each other. With just four races left in the F1 season, the stakes will be very high.
Every strong result will help a team ascend, while every bad result can cause irreparable damage. Heading to Austin for the 2022 F1 US GP, multiple teams will be desperate for a strong result this weekend. Who are they? Let's find out!
McLaren was buoyed by its results at the 2022 F1 Singapore GP. It wiped off its deficit to Alpine and regained P4 in the championship. The 2022 F1 Japanese GP, however, was a trial by fire for the team. While Alpine drivers came home P4 and P7, the McLaren duo could only muster P10 and P11 in the rain.
Consequently, the momentum gained in Singapore was thrown out the window and the team now trails Alpine by 13 points. Both McLaren and its driver Lando Norris have conceded that the French team's package currently appears to be superior, as evident in both Singapore and Japan. If it wasn't for the double DNF for Alpine in Singapore, the team would have scored significant points, something it did achieve in Japan.
McLaren, on the other hand, is looking at an eventuality where it finishes the season in P5. For a team that was aiming to fight at the front of the grid this season, that's a poor showing. It would also be the team's worst showing since the 2018 F1 season. The McLaren 2022 F1 car is not a piece of bad machinery and can hold its own on various tracks. The team will be hoping to maximize its potential at Austin, especially with Fernando Alonso expected to take an engine penalty this weekend.
Mercedes went into the summer break on the back of a six-race podium streak. When racing resumed at Spa, the German squad made its intentions clear of trying to challenge Ferrari for P2 in the championship. Since then, the team has been on a downward spiral. Podiums have been rare and both the team and its drivers have suffered a performance dip.
The races in Singapore and Japan have somewhat exposed the issues the car has had all season and it seems that the new concept is the only way it could be solved. The car generates excess drag down the straights and finds it hard to generate temperature in the tires. Due to this, it has been a handful in the second half of the season.
Heading to Austin, the gap between Ferrari and Mercedes in the championship stands at 67 points. With the German team looking at possibly a winless season and a potential P3 finish in the championship, it is heading for its worst season in a decade. The slump in the last few races has made matters worse as well. At the 2022 F1 US GP, Mercedes will be hoping to bring back some respectability this season and score a strong haul of points.
#3 Haas F1
If media chatter is anything to go by, it appears that Haas might have finally decided who will be the driver for the 2023 F1 season. It's likely that Mick Schumacher will now make way for veteran Nico Hulkenberg in the American team. A press conference scheduled for October 20th is rumored to make this announcement.
Keeping the chatter aside, Haas comes to Austin in a precarious situation in the championship. The team has not scored points since the 2022 F1 Austrian GP and it finds itself 8th in the championship tied on points with AlphaTauri in 9th.
It was a drastic fall from grace for a team that was P4 after the first race of the season and has since seen a steady decline. Compared to last season, however, when Haas did not even have any hope of scoring a point, this is a marked improvement.
Simultaneously, though, the team has not lived up to the potential it showed all season. In its home race, the American team will be hoping to break a disappointing run and start scoring points for the championship.