THE CIRCULAR

5 Lessons Learned from the First Two Grand Prix

Photo by Abed Ismail on Unsplash

We are now two races into the 2022 Formula 1 season. The teams which are made up of two drivers each are competing for the Constructors Championship. Ferrari currently leads the Constructors Championship with 78 points, 40 points ahead of second-place Mercedes. The individual drivers are competing for the Drivers Championship. At the moment Charles Leclerc leads the championship with 45 points. I decided to look back on the opening two races and pick out 5 crucial lessons learned from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

1. Ferrari show “Sainz” of being the best team on the grid.

Scuderia Ferrari has amassed 78 points from the opening two races. That is 18 more points than what the eventual Constructors Champions Mercedes had at this point last year. Ferrari’s opening 1-2 in Bahrain was their first win since Singapore 2019 which coincidentally was also a 1-2. In Saudi Arabia, both the Ferrari cars showed remarkable pace around corners and it was only Verstappen’s timing and cuteness on the fourth last lap that denied Leclerc two wins in a row. On the evidence so far Ferrari has proven themselves to be real constructor’s championship contenders this year and in the betting market, they are now as short as 4/5 to claim the 2022 title.

2. Haas are better off without them Russian lads

The improvement this year for any team using a Ferrari engine has been incredible. At the moment one of the teams that use the Ferrari Engine outside of the main Scuderia Ferrari team is Haas. Haas has had a remarkable start to the season with Kevin Magnusson achieving 12 points for the team who last season was seen as the whipping boys and regularly had their two drivers either being the last two across the line or not finishing at all. There is a sense of genuine delight for the team in the formula 1 community. At the start of the season, there were big question marks after they departed the company with their Russian sponsor Urakali and Russian driver Nikita Mazepin and Russian driver Nikita Mazepin both for obvious political reasons. However, that controversy is a distance memory now for the team, and for a team, under serious financial constraints, they are achieving a great level of success with the powerful Ferrari Engine playing a massive role.

3. Alfa Romeo getting closer to being Alphas of the Track

Alfa Romeo also has shown great improvement. The third and final team on the grid using a Ferrari Engine. Last Season Alfa Romeo was regularly finishing just above the likes of Haas and Williams. This year they have two new drivers. Former Mercedes Veteran Valtteri Bottas and Chinese Rookie Guanyu Zhou. Valtteri started the season on a flyer achieving 6th place. He was unlucky in Saudi Arabia. It looked like he’d repeat his Bahrain performance when what has been reported as a gearbox failure put an end to his race. Guanyu Zhou also achieved points in Bahrain which is a rare sight for a rookie in their first race. Had it not been for an error by the pit team when touching his car during a 5-second penalty, he would have also finished in the points in Saudi Arabia. Alfa Romeo just needs a little more rub of the green to see their points tally increase and commence the climb up that Constructors Championship table.

4.The Big Bad Wolff is in a spot of bother

It has been a disastrous start to the season for giants Mercedes and their boisterous CEO Toto Wolff. In the opening 2 races, this season Mercedes has only achieved 38 points. That’s the lowest points total achieved by Mercedes since Wolff took over as CEO back in 2014. The biggest pointer in terms of this decline for the team can be directly correlated with their engine. Unlike Ferrari the teams using the Mercedes, engines have been drastically underperforming. The McLaren team looks like a shell of what they were last year. Riccardo and Norris are making the best of a very bad situation for Zak Brown’s team. In the opening race in Bahrain, the last six finishers were all Mercedes engine-powered cars. In Saudi, Lewis Hamilton qualified back in p16 which was his worst qualifying since 2009. The only bright spot for Mercedes is that George Russell seems to be driving well in his first season for the team considering all the issues there are with the car. It is very unlikely that Mercedes will be competitive this year at this rate which is so surprising given their dominance for the last decade

5. Ocon and Alonso going at it in the Alpines

Saudi Arabia this past weekend was the first time this season we saw two teammates going wheel to wheel. Always very entertaining for the fans but nerve-wracking for the team principles, two teammates competing for position always adds a little spice to the action. The Ocon and Alonso battle this past Sunday was no different. The two drivers traded places and battled hard for a couple of laps, Alonso eventually getting the better of Ocon. Ocon looked like he was going to push back but was warned on the radio not to do so as Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo was looming large behind. Fans of Ocon will remember his epic battle with Sergio Perez back in 2018 fondly as the two clashed often during that season. Coincidentally Ocon and Perez were competing for the BWT sponsored Force India. BWT now sponsors the Alpine team. The distinctive pink livery that sports the BWT sponsored cars once again provides spicy entertainment and hopefully, the Ocon/Alonso team battle this season will be half as good as the Ocon/Perez feud.

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