Formula 1 is the topmost level of open-wheel single-seater motor racing sanctioned by the FIA, which is the governing body for motorsport events throughout the world and is owned by the Formula One group. The FIA F1 World Championship is one of the premier forms of motor racing series globally. The inaugural season of the F1 world championship took place in 1950.
A Formula One season consists of a series of races, known as Grand Prix, which are held in purpose-built racing tracks or street circuits (such as Monaco, Singapore, Saudi Arabia where the public roads are closed for F1 races) around the world.
The results of each race are evaluated using a point system and the F1 World Championship is awarded for an entire season. The two main titles are the F1 Drivers’ World Championship and the F1 Constructors’ World Championship for the team as a whole.
The driver who takes part in F1 needs to have a valid super license, which is the highest class of licenses issued by the FIA. The races are held on race tracks graded 1, which is the highest grade rating issued by the FIA.
F1 cars are the fastest open-wheel racing cars in the world with the most advanced level of engineering going into the production of these cars. It is often regarded as the most technologically advanced sport in the world.
F1 cars constantly evolve with time. They can generally be divided into the Supercharged era, the Turbocharged era, the Aerodynamic era, and the current generation cars fall under the Hybrid era. While 2025 will see truly witness the end of the turbo-hybrid era, the 2022 season itself has brought in several new technical regulations which have significantly transformed the cars.
A revision of the sport's technical regulations has led to a new cockpit protection device known as the "halo" which was introduced for the 2019 championship. The Pirelli F1 tire compounds remain the same as last year although the cars are set to adopt new 18-inch wheels in 2022 while most Grand Prix are expected to require one-stop tire strategies. Additionally, unlike in over the last decade, wheel covers are back and F1 will be using over-wheel winglets for the first time ever. While significant changes have been brought about the parts of the car including the rear wing, the front wing, the tires, the fuel, and the overall development of the design and aerodynamics, the power unit will remain constant in 2022 at 1.6-litre turbo- hybrid units.
Stepping into a new era of F1, the 2022 cars are expected to be designed in a way that allows for closer wheel-to-wheel racing than ever before and reduces the disparity in car performances throughout the grid. Additionally, the 2022 cars are set to use more sustainable fuel with the bio-component ratio rise to 10% from last year’s 5.75%.
Safety has been at the forefront of the transformations brought in this year. The minimum weight for the cars has risen from 752kg in 2021 to 790kg this year, representing an approximate 5% increase. The chassis of an F1 car is now also required to absorb 48% energy in the front and 15% more in the rear impact tests.
Reigning F1 world champion Max Verstappen will be determined to defend his first title this year, while Red Bull will be hoping to take their fifth constructors’ world championship title with significant contributions from Sergio Perez who will be entering his second year with the Milton-Keynes based team.
Seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton will fight to clinch a record eighth world championship title that slipped right through his fingers on the very last lap of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Mercedes is the defending World Constructors' Champion, having won their eighth consecutive title at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The team will be looking to extend their domination with the help of their young, new, driver George Russell.
The 2022 season has Carlos Sainz and Monaco’s Charles Leclerc racing for legendary F1 team Ferrari. Their strongest rivals from 2021 have Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at McLaren. Red Bull’s sister team Alpha Tauri has Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly racing for the team. Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso is entering his second year at Alpine with Esteban Ocon, while four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel is at Aston Martin partnering with Lance Stroll.
Valtteri Bottas has moved on from Mercedes after five incredible years at the team to join Alfa Romeo and is partnered with Guanyu Zhou, who is the only rookie racing in the series this season. Alex Albon is returning to the sport after a year on the sidelines with Williams to partner Nicholas Latifi, and so is Kevin Magnussen who is back for the first time since the end of the 2020 season to partner Mick Schumacher at Haas.
Some of the most celebrated names in the sport are Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Mika Hakkinen, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda, Juan Manuel Fangio, and Sir Jackie Stewart to name a few.
The highest number of world championships titles have been won by Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher with a record 7 titles. Juan Manuel Fangio has 5 titles to his credit, while Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel have 4 titles each to their name.
The F1 teams can be classified into an entrant and a constructor. An entrant is a person or a corporate that registers a car and driver for a race who is all responsible for the preparation and maintenance of the car during the race weekend.
In accordance with the FIA regulations, "the constructor of an engine or chassis is the person which owns the intellectual rights to such engine or chassis". The Constructors’ World Championship is awarded to the carmaker who has scored maximum points over the course of an F1 season, where a car's make takes into account both the engine and the chassis. Hence, if a car's chassis and engine constructor are the same such as in the case of Scuderia Ferrari and Mercedes, the make is the name of that particular constructor. When the chassis and engine are constructed by two different entities, the car's make comprises both, the name of the chassis constructor placed before the engine constructor, such as in the case of McLaren which uses a Mercedes engine, or Red Bull which is using Honda.
Ferrari holds the prestigious position of being the most successful team of all time and the oldest constructor in F1 with a whopping 239 wins and 16 World championships to their credit. McLaren has won 183 races and 8 World Championships while Williams has 114 Grand Prix victories and 9 World Championships to its name. In 2021, Mercedes clinched their eighth consecutive constructors’ world championship title and have undeniably dominated the turbo- hybrid era although Red Bull is certainly putting up a fight for their much-awaited fifth constructors’ title.
Red Bull’s sister team Alpha Tauri and Alpine (previously Renault), fought hard all of last season for a fifth position in the constructors’ standings and the battle was one by the French constructor. Further down the grid, Williams, Alfa Romeo, and Haas have undeniably struggled in the past season.