Formula 1 is back for its 2022 season. We break down everything you need to know ahead of the new season after a thrilling finish last year.
Welcome to Formula 1 — the premier global racing series — as it embarks on its 73rd season. Last year saw 7-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton’s title-winning streak halted on the final lap of the final race of the season. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen took the checkered flag in Abu Dhabi in highly controversial fashion to claim his first championship and marked the end of Mercedes seven-year dominance.
2022 ushers in new technical regulations and salary cap limitations aimed at making the racing more competitive. With teams arriving to the first race of the season with completely different initial designs, there is ample opportunity for a shakeup in the driver and team standings. Four past World Champions and drivers from 14 different countries set the field for what is expected to be a thrilling season.
F1 is comprised of ten teams: Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri, Alpine, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Haas, McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull, and Williams. Each team has two drivers, with all 20 drivers racing each weekend. Every team also has reserve drivers at the track in the event a primary driver is unable to compete.
Drivers and teams accumulate points from each race that add up over the course of the season to determine the Drivers & Constructors (Teams) Championships. The drivers who finish 1st through 10th earn points based on their position – 1st (25), 2nd (18), 3rd (15) …. 10th (1). An additional point (1) is awarded to the driver who completes the fastest lap during the race, as long as they finish in the top ten. Team points are accrued from both drivers’ finishes added together. Whichever driver and team have the most points at the end of the season claims the respective championship trophy.
This season ushers in a brand new era for Formula 1 with sweeping changes coming to most areas of the sport:
Qualifying is broken into three sections. Q1 features all 20 drivers and lasts 18 minutes, with the top 15 fastest times advancing. Q2 repeats with format with the remaining drivers, lasting 15 minutes and only the top ten moving forward. Finally, in Q3 the top ten drivers have 12 minutes to set their fastest lap and starting place in the race. Each driver’s finishing position from the respective groups decides the running order for the Grand Prix.
2022 will be the longest F1 season ever, featuring 22 races held around the globe. After running 21 circuits in 2018 & 2019, COVID restrictions have been lifted and fan-favorite tracks in Australia, Canada, Japan & Singapore are returning to the schedule. The season kicks off on March 20th in Bahrain and will conclude on November 20th in Abu Dhabi. 2022 also marks the debut of the brand new Miami Grand Prix in May, which is the second American race on the calendar — joining the October United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
In the United States, ESPN holds television rights for Formula 1, primarily rebroadcasting Sky Sports (UK)’s coverage. Each practice, qualifying session, and Grand Prix are featured on the ESPN family of networks. Fans without cable can directly purchase full F1 coverage via F1TV.
Whether you are a long-time supporter, recent adopter, a fan of Netflix’s Drive to Survive docuseries, or brand new to the series, it’s the perfect time to jump aboard as Formula 1 embarks on a brand new era of car designs and competition. The 2022 F1 season kicks off this week with the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, March 20 at 11 am ET.