Follow all the latest F1 news and developments ahead of the 2022 seisoen
Lewis Hamilton’s future remains unresolved as the new Formula 1 season draws closer.
The Briton has maintained radio silence since being left “disillusioned” with the FIA over how the title-deciding race in Abu Dhabi controversially unfolded last year, met Max Verstappen’s win branded “unsatisfactory” by Damon Hill this week. Mercedes reportedly want race director Michael Masi to stand down as a result and team chiefs and the FIA are said to have met in London this week for a one-hour summit to discuss several outstanding issues.
McLaren team principal Zak Brown admitted Hamilton’s return shouldn’t be taken for granted and that the Briton was still incredibly frustrated. Brown also reserved criticism for Mercedes’ chief Toto Wolff too, wel, saying the Austrian’s lobbying of the FIA during races had been “unacceptable”. The FIA’s report into the final race will not be released until two days before the new season begins in Bahrain in March. Follow all the latest F1 news below:
Celebrating with a song – looking back at Jenson Button’s world title
Another look back at one of Jenson Button’s finest moments in a Formula 1 car, the Brit showing combining brains with Brawn to take his sole Drivers’ Championship – and celebrating in style.
George Russell on Jenson Button
“I’ve been fortunate even prior to Jenson joining Williams again that I had a good relationship with him,” said George Russell of Williams’ senior advisor.
“He was very open and always there whenever needed… but he’s more so now actually due to the Covid rules [daardie] have opened up.
'[He’s] always in the garage, in the hospitality, talking to the engineers, to myself, to Jost [Capito, CEO of Williams] and I think that’s really great, just to sound ideas off him and get his feedback and input from his own experiences because obviously he’s had a huge amount of experience. So it’s unique to have somebody like Jenson a part of your team.”
Nicholas Latifi and George Russell hail the influence of Jenson Button
Birthday boy Jenson Button, 42 vandag, returned to Williams in an advisory role last year, and both Nicholas Latifi and George Russell have hailed the impact of the former world champion in some rather kind comments released on the F1 website.
“I guess from the personal side, I’m still very new to Formula 1. He’s given me little words of wisdom on starting out, good approaches, bad approaches and whatnot and yes, just the odd little bits of encouragement after qualifying or after the race if I manage to bump into him,” Latifi explained. “He obviously has a wealth of experience in the sport and the unique perspective as a driver which is good for me personally, and even his old race engineer [Dave Robson] is with our team as well so we have a relationship as well.”
Grosjean’s ‘heart was pumping’ during F1 finale
Romain Grosjean said his “heart was pumping like hell” when he watched F1’s controversial season finale and admitted that, although he thought Hamilton was hard done by in Abu Dhabi, Verstappen was a deserving winner over the course of the season.
“I loved it!” said Grosjean. “It was exciting, my heart was pumping like hell. And I think having two cars fighting over one lap for the World Championship was amazing.
“I think the wrong conception is to think that the world championship went on one lap. Dit was 22 Grands Prix, and if you look at the full season, you know Max had the puncture in Baku, Valtteri Bottas crashed into Verstappen in Hungary, there was the Silverstone race [clash between Hamilton and Verstappen]. I think at the end, if we look at how many points were lost by Verstappen, not necessarily by his fault, he was the one that deserved more the championship.
“On the Abu Dhabi race, Lewis deserved more the championship. He got unlucky over the last lap. But as a race fan, I loved that last lap, and it was super exciting to watch.”
Pirelli report encouraging results after testing of 2022 tyres
Pirelli 28 days of last year testing a new 18-inch tyre, which will be introduced in 2022. Some have feared that the new compounds would lead to significantly slower cars, but Mario Isola – Pirelli’s Head of F1 and Car Racing – was encouraged by test results using mule cars from nine of the ten Formula 1 spanne.
“In terms of wear, it’s difficult to make a prediction because we were using mule cars, so we need to wait for the real performance of the new 2022 cars,” Isola explained.
“We have simulations coming from the teams, simulations are telling us that the new cars are not much slower compared to last year’s cars.
“At the beginning we were talking about more than three seconds per lap; now it’s half a second, one second, so if they start with only one second difference it means that during the season they probably achieve the same level of performance that we had in 2021.”
New FIA president visits F1 HQ
The FIA appointed a new president in December, with Mohammed bin Sulayem succeeding Jean Todt at the top of the governing body having been a vice-president since 2008. He’s the first president from outside Europe in the organisation’s history – four Frenchmen, three Belgians, two Brits, an Italian and an Austrian, if you are counting – and bin Sulayem has been in London for some meetings with Formula 1.
Damon Hill on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Sky Sports are looking back at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix over the last few days, more than one month on from the dramatic desert denouement to the 2021 F1 season. Damon Hill has been talking about that controversial ending – and suggested that Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes may be right to feel aggrieved…
Die 1996 world champion was left unimpressed by the controversial conclusion to the 2021 seisoen
Jenson Button’s birthday
It’s Jenson Button’s birthday today, met die 2009 World Champion turning 42. It seems a good opportunity to relieve one of his most famous wins – holding his nerve to overtake a sliding Sebastian Vettel in 2011.
F1 impasse could see sprint races scrapped in 2022
Back to Zak Brown, who is not happy at all about the attempts of some teams to block the expansion of the popular sprint race format in an attempt to hold out for more money.
Brown believes that a proposed doubling of the number of sprint race events for next season may now not occur.
Three sprint events were held in 2021
Dan Fallows allowed to leave Red Bull for Aston Martin after deal agreed
It was announced in June last year that well-regarded aerodynamicist Dan Fallows would be leaving Red Bull to take up the role of technical director at Aston Martin, but since there has been a mighty squabble over when Fallows would be able to start work with his new team. A cumbersome contract could have meant Fallows remaining in his current post for an extended period, with Christian Horner saying last year that “it certainly won’t be within the next couple of years”.
Wel, now it will. The two teams have finally reached an agreement that will see Fallows start at Aston Martin on April 2, soon after the start of the new season on March 20.
Fallows, who will bring to a close a more than 15-year association with Red Bull, said he is excited to get to work: “I’ve enjoyed many happy years at Red Bull Racing and am proud of what we achieved. I am looking forward to next season and a new challenge.”
The move reunites Fallows with Sebastian Vettel.