TeamTalk has polished the crystal ball ahead of the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship season, predicting who will be The Boss this year.
It is a very tall order, as this year one might think twice on this question as Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, although clear favourites to win the title this year, are not sure bets for the title.
Knowing motorsport as we do, F1 in particular, it is farcical to predict a winner now, if we could we would be playing lotto 247, so this should be taken for what it is: having a fun look at what to expect and tapping into what our TeamTalk crew have to say ahead of what will be an epic F1 season.
Thus, look at it as a bunch of blind mice trying to find the cheese, feel free to join us with your predictions for F1 2022 in the comments below.
We tapped into our TeamTalk pundits for their opinions, this is what they had to say.
David Terrien: My vote goes for Max winning the Driver’s Title, Merc the Constructors’
To start off, two new pundits join our narrative. Introducing Frenchman David Terrien CIK Karting World Champion and FIA GT World Champion in his heyday. Made it all the way to F3000 in the late nineties, possibly the toughest F1 feeder series at the time, as many times 40 drivers trying to qualify for 26 or so grid spots .
David is now a businessman and runs PSD Entertainment Supply, a karting and leisure consultancy out of Dubai, he has also run teams, organised series, designed kart tracks and now has agreed to provide a new voice to our coverage of the sport, by being accessible for TeamTalk.
This is Terrien’s prediction: “The winter test results being so inconsistent, new cars and new rules and teams like Mercedes, always having hidden their hand during pre-season testing over the last few years, it is extremely arrogant to predict a winner!
“But let’s give it a shot. One thing for sure is that Max and Lewis are my favourites since I am expecting a rematch of 2021. Of course, I would love to see McLaren, Ferrari and even Alpha Tauri play a role but they might be a bit short on speed and consistency over the full championship.
“Hamilton and Verstappen are at the top of their game and the latter will want to prove he can do it again, whereas the former will want to prove that he would already be eight times World Champion without the Abu Dhabi drama. I believe they are both still very hungry for titles and none will rest on his laurels.
“My vote goes for Verstappen winning the Driver’s Title while Mercedes again winning wins the Constructors’ Championship. What is the rationale behind it?
“Not much but that’s where I would put my money on for now. Whether I am right or wrong, I hope for another masterful fight, full of drama and action… much like 2021.” – David.
Damien Reid: Max Verstappen will be a two-time World Champion in Abu Dhabi
Next is another TeamTalk rookie but perhaps the most knowledgeable F1 pundit and motoring journo in the business, Damien Reid aka the English-language voice of motorsport in the Middle East. Commentating on F1, with a weekly radio show and his writing in high demand, Damo will also be sharing his insights and thoughts on our TeamTalk reports.
This is what Damo had to say: “Who will be Drivers Champion? Stability could rock Lewis Hamilton this year both in and out of the car. The Mercedes was bouncing like a noddy doll over the full six days, but add a new teammate who will challenge for wins especially if there’s a sniff at Silverstone, plus the fickle nature of Mercedes in the car business who could see a struggling F1 team as a bad corporate asset, and it’s not the steady ship we’re used to.
“Red Bull has stability. They seemed to have solved the ‘porpoising’ issue on Day 3 in Bahrain with a new floor, they’re now masters of their own domain with their own engine and the driver line-up remains solid with Checo knowing his role. They also left Bahrain as the fastest.
“I see Red Bull and Max Verstappen riding a wave of confidence that has been knocked out of Mercedes for the early part at least until Merc bounces back as it always does to start taking wins and climbing back a likely points deficit. This will largely be to Hamilton’s ability to dig deeper than just about anyone else and hopefully too, better tactical calls from the radio, but will it be enough?
“Ferrari, Alpine, and McLaren will steal race wins that could be vital at the end of the season but Mercedes and Lewis have a hill to climb if they want to overcome the Red Bull/Verstappen juggernaut – and Ferrari.
“As I see it, Max Verstappen will be a two-time World Champion in Abu Dhabi.” – Damien.
Sean Stevens: My money goes on Hamilton as I rate him the best all-round race driver
“With my crystal ball currently at the repairers, making any kind of prediction is challenging enough. Add to this the new regulations and the certain sandbagging in testing. We’re faced with the Formula 1 equivalent of trying to pin the tail on the donkey.
“That said, I can’t resist having a side bet on Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen renewing their rivalry again for 2022 titled: “The return of the Champ”.
“These two represent the best on the grid, but my money goes on Hamilton as I rate him the best all-round race driver on the track. I know this will irk the “Max fans” but if it’s any consolation I think Max will get there with a few more years under his belt.
“In the words of Sir Jackie Stewart: I’m not the fastest on the track, I just win the races.
“Max would do well to let those words resonate in his head. We should also remember that short of a surreal turn of events in Abu Dhabi, Max was on the floor, dazed and being counted out by the referee until the fight was suspended and he had a chance to recover.” – Sean
Mark Kay: I can’t see Max being beaten in the championship
“Good drivers win one championship. Great drivers win their first, and then they move into another gear and become unbeatable and then go on to win multiple championships. It seems remarkable that even though he is only 24 years old, he already has 7 years of experience in F1, and I doubt he is anywhere near his best, yet.
“Combined with what looks like another Red Bull masterpiece under the leadership of Adrian Newey, I can’t see Max being beaten in the Championship. Pencil that one in!
“For me, the Constructors in 2022 is more difficult to predict than the Drivers because of the significant regulative shift imposed on the sport this year, for the first time.
“History has demonstrated repeatedly that in times when significant regulative change occurs, there is usually one team that gets it so right that they become dominant for a period of time, whilst the rest play catch up.
“With the 2022 pre-season having just concluded it seems to me that there is no doubt that Red Bull are a ways ahead now with their ground effect design development.
“Not only have they seemingly mitigated the ‘porpoising’ effect the most effectively, but they have also started to raise the rear, bringing in rake to get the front working even more, but it hasn’t negatively impacted the ground effect downforce.
“And, as I touched on above, with a Max Verstappen that I don’t even think is at his prime yet, the pairing with Sergio Perez may just be the dominant force in 2022 and possibly beyond.” – Mark.
Kevin Melro: Max will be carrying the #1 plate for some time to come.
There is nothing I would like to see more than Sir Lewis Hamilton earning his unprecedented eighth Title, but if I’m betting on a World Champion this far out I’m siding with youth as they will likely overcome the issue of re-learning how to drive the cars soonest.
“When the push comes to shove, and the heat truly turns on, I suspect the ‘porpoising’ is going to get a whole lot worse combined with heavier cars, there’s going to be a greater emphasis on driver conditioning. This is one is for the boys, as it should be! The talent is too great amongst themselves alone.
“George Russell finally has his hands on the Mercedes challenger, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz looking just fine in the Ferrari F1-75 and Lando Norris in the McLaren; It’s their time to shine.
“Unlucky for some, the new “Boss” in town is Max Verstappen. So deliberate is his approach, he’ll be carrying the #1 on his car, it’s there now and it’s likely staying on his car for some time to come.” – Kevin.
Jad Mallak: I am going with Max for World Champion as he has the momentum
“This kind of prediction is tough enough ahead of normal seasons, so imagine having to do them with new regulations and new cars, but let’s have a go at it.
“At the risk of getting accused of being a Red Bull and Max Verstappen fan – something that has happened before, but it is what it is – I am going with Max for World Champion, simply because he has the momentum and is currently in formidable form, since you can’t underestimate the boost he got from winning his first Title, and he can only get better.
“Let’s not forget the impressive RB18 at his disposal, and that he also has a clear “wingman” in the form of Sergio Perez with no worries about intra-team rivalries, which doesn’t apply for Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz at Ferrari, despite the pair having a decent piece of kit in the form of the F1-75.
“Lewis Hamilton should always be considered as a contender, but has to deal with a new hungry teammate in George Russell, so we have no clue how the team dynamic will develop there. The Mercedes W13 – again I risk end up eating my words – is not there yet and may need some time to develop into a race winner, which will be a factor that plays in the hands of Verstappen.
“As for the Constructors’ Championship, I expect Ferrari to make operational mistakes as usual, and I am not so sure how Perez will factor in at Red Bull in that regards, but one might expect a consistent points’ haul for Mercedes, so maybe a ninth Constructors’ Title is beckoning for the Silver Arrows… Again, we can only predict…” – Jad.
Paul Velasco: Carlos Sainz ‘smooth operates’ his way to the 2022 F1 Title
“My head says Lewis or Max of course, but for this one going with my heart. I am not a Ferrari fan, but if you want to see F1 explode like never before, those Red Cars winning regularly again is really what we need right now.
“So many new F1 fans – since Ferrari last won a Title with Kimi in 2007, and before that Schumi’s relentless streak in the early-2000s – have yet to witness the power of a potent Scuderia, and I for one dream of them being back in the fight, for real.
“In Carlos Sainz they have a driver who has really grown in stature, defied his doubters, including me, and is proving to be a very ‘Real Deal’. If Mattia and the backroom boys have produced a good car, and it does look splendid, expect Sainz to rise even further.
“I will easily go out on a limb and drop a tenner on Sainz being 2022 F1 World Champion. But be warned, my F1 crystal ball has not served me well, I had Lewis winning last year.
“For the season ahead, I gave it a good shake, a wipe but still, it kept showing me a Spaniard in a Red car, interestingly not a Red tractor – maybe that’s a good sign?
“The ball also shows images of many bent Mercs and Red Bulls, as if they have collided. A lot. Also in the depths of the crystal, there are signs of the other Ferrari also bent.
“For me the message is clearish: Best of mates, Max and Lewis will take points off each other; Charles takes points off himself and Carlos smooth operates his way to the Title. Keke style…
“Constructors Title: Red Bull. Now prove us wrong!” – Paul.