You’d struggle to create a Formula 1 season that is as exciting as what we saw in 2021. It gave us a fierce rivalry from the first race, jostling for position at the top of the driver’s standings, plenty of action in the mid-field, and a last-lap title decider.
So the idea that the rules need to change in 2022 to create an even more exciting spectacle for fans might seem a little laughable, but Formula 1’s plans to revolutionise the sport have been many years in the making.
They stem from the realisation that the 2017-2021 specification has created giant beasts that are too big and too difficult to overtake. That’s why Ross Brawn and his team set about changing the way cars create downforce moving the bulk of the work to the underside instead of using lots of wings and winglets on top. This will, in theory, make them about as fast but also allow drivers to get much closer to each other on track.
The new rules are just one of many changes to make F1 bigger and better, another notable innovation from recent years has been the better collection and implementation of data to make the viewing experience more immersive.
Wagering on Formula 1 has always been possible, with the most popular option being the drivers’ championship. For example, online betting Betway currently ranks Lewis Hamilton as the favourite with odds of 2.0, while reigning champion Max Verstappen is close behind with odds of 3.0.
However, in the last couple of years, better use of data has helped to open up new betting opportunities for fans that want to put their predictions to the test.
After its acquisition of the sport, one of Liberty Media’s first moves was to partner with Amazon Web Services]) to collect more data from the cars and tracks to give TV viewers more insight into what was happening during the Grand Prix.
It then used this data to make wagering on races easier by providing more data. This has helped to make races and qualifying sessions more engaging by increasing the number of in-race betting opportunities like whether there will be another safety car, which driver will get the fastest lap, and the chance to cash out mid-Grand Prix.
But will F1’s biggest move yet really give us what we want in 2022?
Forecasts Look Good
Zak Brown, the boss of McLaren, believes that the rule changes for the 2022 season will “create an awesome era of Formula 1”, adding that he believes it’ll break the hegemony we’ve seen since the start of the turbo-hybrid era in 2014.
Formula 1’s own predictions are that the loss of downforce from trailing cars will be cut from 35% to just 4% with the 2022 rules, allowing drivers to get and stay much closer and, therefore, more likely to overtake.
A Change at the Front?
Another possible source of excitement for 2022 is the fact that both Mercedes and Red Bull were locked in a close battle for both of the titles right until the bitter end in 2021. This could put them on the back-foot for this upcoming season as they’ve had less focus on 2022 compared to other teams like Ferrari and McLaren.
The new handicap development rules and the cost cap will also limit their ability to buy their way out of the problem. This could mean we have a refreshing change at the front, perhaps with a return to the classic Maranello-Woking rivalry.
Another consequence of the changes is that 2022’s Formula 1 cars will feel very different to those used in 2021. Lando Norris commented on the changes by saying that he doesn’t think the new cars will be “as nice to drive” and that they will likely be driven much closer to the limit.
That will create a different challenge for the drivers, suiting some and hindering others, which could be another source of change. It could also mean we’ll see more mistakes as drivers try harder to squeeze as much from their machines as possible.
Overall, F1 2022 remains an unknown quantity until we see cars on track for the first round in Bahrain, but all signs are suggesting we could be in for an exciting season.