F1 news LIVE: Lewis Hamilton latest on retirement, Haas 2022 car and livery revealed

The 2022 F1 season is creeping up on us with car launches and practice next up in the weeks ahead after an exhilarating season battled out between world champion Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

The Briton is yet to confirm his status for the upcoming season with Mercedes, as George Russell prepares to team up with the seven-time world champion after succeeding Valtteri Bottas, who left the Silver Arrows after five seasons to join Alfa Romeo.

Under the radar Verstappen’s long-term future is high on Red Bull’s to-do list, with the Belgian-Dutch driver’s salary demands likely to rocket after claiming his maiden world title.

But there is also uncertainty surrounding the future of race director Michael Masi, whose decisions in Abu Dhabi will be debated for many years to come, and his status in the sport may influence Hamilton’s decision to return. Opinions are divided, with Karun Chandhok claiming Masi was “screwed over”: “I think what happened was Latifi crashed and Masi had a choice, at that point you do a Safety Car or red flag. He looked at the incident and thought, ‘that should be relatively quick to clear up’. I think where he got a bit screwed over really is that the brakes caught fire on the car as they were trying to take it off the track.

Here’s the very latest news as the new season prepares for the opening weekend in Bahrain on 20 March. Follow all the F1 news updates below:

F1 news

  • Lewis Hamilton’s F1 future questioned by Mika Hakkinen as speculation continues

  • Hamilton accused of wanting Michael Masi out in bid to ‘turn F1 upside down’

  • Max Verstappen took Red Bull car ‘over the limit’, team boss claims

  • George Russell’s race pace questioned by Red Bull

  • F1 sprint races could be scrapped amid row with teams over money

  • F1 cars 2022 release dates - full list

  • Hamilton retirement would be ‘very damaging’

  • Red Bull tease ‘launch like no other’ for 2022 F1 season

  • Haas F1 Team become first team to reveal new car images

Resta declares Haas VF-22 creation a ‘great success’

15:54 , Jack Rathborn

“This is probably the most complex project the Uralkali Haas F1 Team has dealt with to date for many reasons,” Haas technical director Simone Resta said.

“It’s a completely new set of regulations and this season we have brought in a new team to manage the creation of the VF-22. Not everyone is new, but a good chunk of people have joined with a revised structure now in place.

“I consider this as a great success in the process. We are still early in the project and going through a transitional season of working together on a car for a full year, but if we look back where we started this team is already a success.”

Felipe Massa ‘not surprised’ by Ferrari’s downfall in Formula One

15:30 , Jack Rathborn

Former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa says he isn’t surprised by the team’s decline as their best years came when seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher competed for them.

Ferrari had their worst season for 40 years in 2020 but they improved upon that in the 2021 campaign with drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc. But Massa says Ferrari’s problems are down to the car, not the drivers.

“That did not surprise me,” he told Spanish daily AS. “Ferrari’s best years were with [Michael] Schumacher, then 2006, 2007, 2008.

Why Max Verstappen won’t appear in Drive to Survive season 4

15:15 , Jack Rathborn

The new season of Drive to Survive will be released soon but Red Bull driver Max Verstappen will not be part of it.

The story arc of the fourth edition of the documentary is almost certainly going to revolve around the Dutchman’s title race with Lewis Hamilton.

Netflix bosses will focus on the pair who headed into the final race of the season on equal points to set up a thrilling end to the campaign in Abu Dhabi.

Why Max Verstappen won’t appear in Drive to Survive season 4

George Russell enjoys ‘eye-opening’ first trip to Mercedes after F1 switch

15:00 , Jack Rathborn

George Russell has described his visit to the Mercedes Formula 1 factory as an “eye-opening” experience as he prepares for his first season with the team.

The British driver has joined the German manufacturers from Williams, replacing Valtteri Bottas.

With three weeks to go until the first round of testing in Barcelona, Russell has visited Mercedes’ F1 manufacturing hub at Brixworth in Northamptonshire, along with the outfit’s headquarters in Brackley.

And the 23-year-old was glad to see the inner workings of the team that has helped Mercedes to eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships.

George Russell enjoys ‘eye-opening’ first trip to Mercedes after F1 switch

Lewis Hamilton faces ‘emotional’ test in F1 return ‘to climb back up the mountain’

14:45 , Jack Rathborn

Lewis Hamilton will find it difficult to continue in Formula One if his Mercedes car is not competitive next season, according to two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen.

Hamilton’s future in the sport remains in doubt following the controversial end to last season which saw the 37-year-old miss out on a record-breaking eighth world championship to Max Verstappen on the final lap of the year.

With Mercedes unveiling their new car this month ahead of the first round of pre-season testing, Hamilton is still to break his silence following the end to last campaign, with his only quotes coming through a team press release.

Lewis Hamilton faces ‘emotional’ test in F1 return ‘to climb back up the mountain’

F1 cars 2022 release dates - full list

14:30 , Jack Rathborn

The 2022 Formula 1 season is just around the corner with the first race pencilled in for 20 March in Bahrain.

The end of the 2021 season proved to be one of the most dramatic in the sport’s history as Max Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to snatch the title away from the seven-time champion.

It was a quite remarkable conclusion to a year which had it all - excitement, overtaking, drama, controversy and incredible performances.

F1 cars 2022 release dates - full list

F1 sprint races could be scrapped amid row with teams over money

14:15 , Jack Rathborn

Formula One sprint races could be axed from the calendar this year amid a row over money.

F1’s CEO Stefano Domenicali, and motorsport boss Ross Brawn wanted to double the number of shortened-format rounds – first introduced at last year’s British Grand Prix – from three to six in 2022.

But F1 is locked in dispute with a number of the grid’s front-running teams, understood to be Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari, who want to see the cost cap set this year at 140million US Dollars (£103m) – effectively increased to cover off the additional races.

F1 sprint races could be scrapped amid row with teams over money

Max Verstappen took Red Bull car ‘over the limit’, team boss claims

14:00 , Jack Rathborn

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has praised Max Verstappen’s drive to secure his first world title at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, saying the Dutchman pushed his car “over the limit” to snatch the win.

Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the Yas Marina Circuit to seal the Drivers’ Championship in dramatic fashion after the intervention of race director Michael Masi.

Marko has overseen Red Bull’s driver development programme since 1999, and helped guide Verstappen into Formula 1.

Max Verstappen took Red Bull car ‘over the limit’, team boss claims

Lewis Hamilton retirement would be ‘very damaging’

13:45 , Jack Rathborn

Former F1 driver Karun Chandhok insists it would be “very damaging” if Lewis Hamilton retires following the controversy at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“Ultimately only he knows what’s going on in his head,” Chandhok told the Express.

“In my opinion, I think it would be very, very damaging for the sport if he walked away.

“Essentially he would be walking away because he didn’t think the sport was fair or credibly run.

“That would be extremely damaging for the reputation of the sport and the FIA.

“For the sake of the sport, I hope he doesn’t walk away at this point.”

Red Bull tease ‘launch like no other’ for 2022 F1 season

13:30 , Jack Rathborn

Red Bull have teased the prospect of a launch like no other for their car for the 2022 F1 season.

“Red Bull Racing has always sought to break the mould and this year we continue to push the boundaries by disrupting the traditional car launch,” read a team statement.

“This season Red Bull Racing will let their fans curate and host the story of the 2022 season launch, on their own social channels.

“In a season of change, we are giving the wheel to the people that matter. Red Bull Racing are putting fans at the heart of the virtual RB18 unveiling.

“Together with Christian [Horner], Max, Checo [Perez] and the wider team, up to 5,000 fans will broadcast the launch on Wednesday 9 February.

“Via ‘The Paddock’, Red Bull Racing’s digital loyalty platform, fans were given the opportunity to host the 2022 season launch on their social channels, to deliver a multi-channel fan-first experience.

“Red Bull Racing has always been at the cutting edge of technological innovation on track, now the team are bringing the same ethos to their marketing approach away from the circuit, as we become the first Formula 1 team to launch a car in this new generation.”

Red Bull missing ‘ultimate poacher-turned-gamekeeper’

13:15 , Jack Rathborn

Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley admits he misses former F1 race director and “mentor” Charlie Whiting amid the uncertain future of Michael Masi following the Abu Dhabi controversy.

Masi stepped in for Whiting in 2019 after the 66-year-old passed away three days before the Australian Grand Prix.

Whiting enjoyed a 22-year stint the role, while also working for the FIA from 1988 and Wheatley has opened up on his legacy.

“Charlie was your ultimate poacher turned gamekeeper,” Wheatley said on The Jack Threlfall Show.

“He worked in Formula 1 in the era at Brabham where rules were interpreted creatively. I used to love, over a glass of wine and a dinner, hearing about various little things that they got away with back in the ‘80s, but Charlie had the respect.

“He was consistent in his decision making, consistent in the way he dealt with people across the board. He knew when to tell you to shut up and when you needed an arm around you.”

Mercedes unsure of new F1 ‘limit’ for 2022 and beyond

13:00 , Jack Rathborn

Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott admits he does not know the limit of performance ahead of F1’s new era this season.

“When you get a new set of regulations, it is a challenge, a challenge to start from scratch,” Elliott said.

“In most years, when you have got carry over regulations, you have got a pretty good idea of what good looks like.

“You know what sort of gains you need to make from the previous year’s car and you can work on a direction of fine-tuning and finding all those incremental gains that can make you quicker.”

“You don’t know what the limit is”.

Haas F1 Team react to new car unveiling

12:40 , Jack Rathborn

“This is probably the most complex project the Uralkali Haas F1 Team has dealt with to-date for many reasons,” Simone Resta, Technical Director of Uralkali Haas F1 Team, said. “It’s a completely new set of regulations and this season we’ve brought in a new team to manage the creation of the VF-22.

“Not everyone is new but a good chunk of people have joined with a revised structure now in place. I consider this as a great success in the process.

“We’re still early in the project and going through a transitional season of working together on a car for a full year, but if we look back where we started, this team is already a success.”

Haas F1 Team react to new car unveiling

12:30 , Jack Rathborn

“It’s exciting to be at the point where we know the VF-22 will be on-track shortly,” said Guenther Steiner, Team Principal – Uralkali Haas F1 Team.

“We all know what the team is capable of, we’ve proved that in the past, and with this new car – born out of a completely new set of regulations and with our new design team in place, I’m confident we can showcase once again that we can compete on weekends.

“It’s been a tremendous effort by everyone involved and now comes the fun part of getting the new car to the circuit and dialing in all the elements. Last season was a long one but I’m confident that 2022 will see us back in the mix with the VF-22.”

Haas F1 Team react to new car unveiling

12:20 , Jack Rathborn

VF-22 Gene Haas, Founder of Haas Automation and Chairman of Uralkali Haas F1 Team, said: “It’s that time of year where you’re naturally optimistic that the hard work and effort of everyone will translate to a competitive entry on track.

“We made the decision back in 2020 to really channel time and resources into the VF-22, foregoing anything track-related for 2021 – which wasn’t easy to watch. Hopefully that decision bears fruit and we return to challenging for points and taking something from the weekends.”

Haas F1 Team become first team to reveal new car images

12:14 , Jack Rathborn

Valtteri Bottas labelled a ‘loser’ at overtaking by Red Bull chief Helmut Marko

11:20 , Jack Rathborn

Red Bull boss Helmut Marko says Sergio Perez is much better at overtaking than “loser” and former Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas.

Marko suggests Perez was more beneficial to the team than Bottas was to Mercedes as the Spanish driver could support Max Verstappen’s bid for the title. A prime example came in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when Perez held off Lewis Hamilton at the front of the race while Verstappen pitted.

In contrast, Bottas was stuck in the midfield throughout the race and had little impact on Hamilton’s bid to win in Abu Dhabi.

Valtteri Bottas labelled a ‘loser’ at overtaking by Red Bull chief

Felipe Massa ‘not surprised’ by Ferrari’s downfall in Formula One

11:05 , Jack Rathborn

Former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa says he isn’t surprised by the team’s decline as their best years came when seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher competed for them.

Ferrari had their worst season for 40 years in 2020 but they improved upon that in the 2021 campaign with drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc. But Massa says Ferrari’s problems are down to the car, not the drivers.

“That did not surprise me,” he told Spanish daily AS. “Ferrari’s best years were with [Michael] Schumacher, then 2006, 2007, 2008.

Felipe Massa ‘not surprised’ by Ferrari’s downfall in Formula One

Why Max Verstappen won’t appear in Drive to Survive season 4

10:50 , Jack Rathborn

The new season of Drive to Survive will be released soon but Red Bull driver Max Verstappen will not be part of it.

The story arc of the fourth edition of the documentary is almost certainly going to revolve around the Dutchman’s title race with Lewis Hamilton.

Netflix bosses will focus on the pair who headed into the final race of the season on equal points to set up a thrilling end to the campaign in Abu Dhabi.

Why Max Verstappen won’t appear in Drive to Survive season 4

George Russell enjoys ‘eye-opening’ first trip to Mercedes after F1 switch

10:35 , Jack Rathborn

George Russell has described his visit to the Mercedes Formula 1 factory as an “eye-opening” experience as he prepares for his first season with the team.

The British driver has joined the German manufacturers from Williams, replacing Valtteri Bottas.

With three weeks to go until the first round of testing in Barcelona, Russell has visited Mercedes’ F1 manufacturing hub at Brixworth in Northamptonshire, along with the outfit’s headquarters in Brackley.

And the 23-year-old was glad to see the inner workings of the team that has helped Mercedes to eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships.

George Russell enjoys ‘eye-opening’ first trip to Mercedes after F1 switch

Lewis Hamilton faces ‘emotional’ test in F1 return ‘to climb back up the mountain’

10:20 , Jack Rathborn

Lewis Hamilton will find it difficult to continue in Formula One if his Mercedes car is not competitive next season, according to two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen.

Hamilton’s future in the sport remains in doubt following the controversial end to last season which saw the 37-year-old miss out on a record-breaking eighth world championship to Max Verstappen on the final lap of the year.

With Mercedes unveiling their new car this month ahead of the first round of pre-season testing, Hamilton is still to break his silence following the end to last campaign, with his only quotes coming through a team press release.

Lewis Hamilton faces ‘emotional’ test in F1 return ‘to climb back up the mountain’

Haas 2022 car launch countdown

10:06 , Jack Rathborn

F1 cars 2022 release dates - full list

10:05 , Jack Rathborn

The 2022 Formula 1 season is just around the corner with the first race pencilled in for 20 March in Bahrain.

The end of the 2021 season proved to be one of the most dramatic in the sport’s history as Max Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to snatch the title away from the seven-time champion.

It was a quite remarkable conclusion to a year which had it all - excitement, overtaking, drama, controversy and incredible performances.

F1 cars 2022 release dates - full list

F1 sprint races could be scrapped amid row with teams over money

09:50 , Jack Rathborn

Formula One sprint races could be axed from the calendar this year amid a row over money.

F1’s CEO Stefano Domenicali, and motorsport boss Ross Brawn wanted to double the number of shortened-format rounds – first introduced at last year’s British Grand Prix – from three to six in 2022.

But F1 is locked in dispute with a number of the grid’s front-running teams, understood to be Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari, who want to see the cost cap set this year at 140million US Dollars (£103m) – effectively increased to cover off the additional races.

F1 sprint races could be scrapped amid row with teams over money

Max Verstappen took Red Bull car ‘over the limit’, team boss claims

09:35 , Jack Rathborn

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has praised Max Verstappen’s drive to secure his first world title at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, saying the Dutchman pushed his car “over the limit” to snatch the win.

Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the Yas Marina Circuit to seal the Drivers’ Championship in dramatic fashion after the intervention of race director Michael Masi.

Marko has overseen Red Bull’s driver development programme since 1999, and helped guide Verstappen into Formula 1.

Max Verstappen took Red Bull car ‘over the limit’, team boss claims

Red Bull missing ‘ultimate poacher-turned-gamekeeper’

09:20 , Jack Rathborn

Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley admits he misses former F1 race director and “mentor” Charlie Whiting amid the uncertain future of Michael Masi following the Abu Dhabi controversy.

Masi stepped in for Whiting in 2019 after the 66-year-old passed away three days before the Australian Grand Prix.

Whiting enjoyed a 22-year stint the role, while also working for the FIA from 1988 and Wheatley has opened up on his legacy.

“Charlie was your ultimate poacher turned gamekeeper,” Wheatley said on The Jack Threlfall Show.

“He worked in Formula 1 in the era at Brabham where rules were interpreted creatively. I used to love, over a glass of wine and a dinner, hearing about various little things that they got away with back in the ‘80s, but Charlie had the respect.

“He was consistent in his decision making, consistent in the way he dealt with people across the board. He knew when to tell you to shut up and when you needed an arm around you.”

Haas set for VF-22 reveal

09:05 , Jack Rathborn

Haas are set to officially unveil VF-22 at their F1 launch on Friday morning.

Haas become the ninth team to detail their plans with Williams the only team yet to set a date.

Red Bull were previously set to be the first team to make a splash previewing their 2022 machinery when they go on 9 February for the RB18.

But Haas will go live from 11am GMT today with drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.

There is only one way to go for Haas, who will look to jump from worst in the constructors’ standings and land their first point.

Mercedes unsure of new F1 ‘limit’ for 2022 and beyond

08:50 , Jack Rathborn

Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott admits he does not know the limit of performance ahead of F1’s new era this season.

“When you get a new set of regulations, it is a challenge, a challenge to start from scratch,” Elliott said.

“In most years, when you have got carry over regulations, you have got a pretty good idea of what good looks like.

“You know what sort of gains you need to make from the previous year’s car and you can work on a direction of fine-tuning and finding all those incremental gains that can make you quicker.”

“You don’t know what the limit is”.

Red Bull tease ‘launch like no other’ for 2022 F1 season

08:38 , Jack Rathborn

Red Bull have teased the prospect of a launch like no other for their car for the 2022 F1 season.

“Red Bull Racing has always sought to break the mould and this year we continue to push the boundaries by disrupting the traditional car launch,” read a team statement.

“This season Red Bull Racing will let their fans curate and host the story of the 2022 season launch, on their own social channels.

“In a season of change, we are giving the wheel to the people that matter. Red Bull Racing are putting fans at the heart of the virtual RB18 unveiling.

“Together with Christian [Horner], Max, Checo [Perez] and the wider team, up to 5,000 fans will broadcast the launch on Wednesday 9 February.

“Via ‘The Paddock’, Red Bull Racing’s digital loyalty platform, fans were given the opportunity to host the 2022 season launch on their social channels, to deliver a multi-channel fan-first experience.

“Red Bull Racing has always been at the cutting edge of technological innovation on track, now the team are bringing the same ethos to their marketing approach away from the circuit, as we become the first Formula 1 team to launch a car in this new generation.”

Lewis Hamilton retirement would be ‘very damaging'

08:34 , Jack Rathborn

Former F1 driver Karun Chandhok insists it would be “very damaging” if Lewis Hamilton retires following the controversy at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“Ultimately only he knows what’s going on in his head,” Chandhok told the Express.

“In my opinion, I think it would be very, very damaging for the sport if he walked away.

“Essentially he would be walking away because he didn’t think the sport was fair or credibly run.

“That would be extremely damaging for the reputation of the sport and the FIA.

“For the sake of the sport, I hope he doesn’t walk away at this point.”

F1 set to compromise and run just three sprint races in 2022

Thursday 3 February 2022 16:04 , Dan Austin

Formula 1 owners Liberty Media are set to compromise and run just three F1 Sprint events in 2022.

Sprint races were run for the first time in 2021, as the part of the Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos weekends, as part of an effort to increase track time and excitement in the sport. The format meant shifting qualifying to Friday evenings so that a second, shorter race could take place on Saturdays, with a small amount of points given to the drivers who finish on the podium. The final order of the sprint race then set the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

F1 had wanted to bump the number of sprint races up to six for the new season, but concerns from teams over the increased costs involved in running their cars more often means that sticking with three is now the most likely option according to Autosport.

Albon to race under full Thai flag after WADA u-turn

Thursday 3 February 2022 15:48 , Dan Austin

Alex Albon will be able to run under the Thai flag on his return to F1 with Williams after the World Anti-Doping Agency opted to reinstate Thailand.

The nation was sanctioned after being found to have been non-compliant over anti-doping efforts, meaning the Thai flag would not have flown nor would its anthem have been played had Albon made it onto the podium in 2022.

But the u-turn means there are no longer any restrictions on Thai symbols in sporting championships, and dual British-Thai national Albon’s arrangement will be the same as it was during his previous stint in F1 with Scuderia Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing.

Alpine restructure staff in effort to move up grid order

Thursday 3 February 2022 15:33 , Dan Austin

Alpine are restructuring their technical staff in an effort to move up the Formula 1 grid order, according to CEO Laurent Rossi.

Team principal Marcin Budkowski left the team in January and a replacement has yet to be announced, though ex-Aston Martin boss Otmar Szafnauer has been heavily linked with the position.

Pat Fry is being promoted from technical director to chief technical officer, while Matt Harman fulfils the vacated role.

Rossi said: “We are considerably strengthening Alpine F1 Team by having Pat and Matt at the helm of engineering in Enstone.

“Pat is one of the most experienced engineers in Formula 1, while Matt’s drive and expertise will prove critical in extracting the full potential of our race cars, thanks in particular to his unique expertise combining chassis and engine development.”

F1 cars 2022 release dates - full list

Thursday 3 February 2022 15:15 , Jack Rathborn

The 2022 Formula 1 season is just around the corner with the first race pencilled in for 20 March in Bahrain.

The end of the 2021 season proved to be one of the most dramatic in the sport’s history as Max Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to snatch the title away from the seven-time champion.

It was a quite remarkable conclusion to a year which had it all - excitement, overtaking, drama, controversy and incredible performances.

Now F1 fans are ready to watch it unfold once again and are awaiting the unveiling of the 10 team cars for the 2022 season.

But when will the teams reveal their shiny new equipment for the upcoming season? Here is all you need to know.

F1 cars 2022 release dates - full list

F1 sprint races could be scrapped amid row with teams over money

Thursday 3 February 2022 15:05 , Jack Rathborn

Formula One sprint races could be axed from the calendar this year amid a row over money.

F1’s CEO Stefano Domenicali, and motorsport boss Ross Brawn wanted to double the number of shortened-format rounds – first introduced at last year’s British Grand Prix – from three to six in 2022.

But F1 is locked in dispute with a number of the grid’s front-running teams, understood to be Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari, who want to see the cost cap set this year at 140million US Dollars (£103m) – effectively increased to cover off the additional races.

F1 sprint races could be scrapped amid row with teams over money

New F1 rules likened by Ferrari to MasterChef

Thursday 3 February 2022 14:44 , Jack Rathborn

Piero Ferrari has likened the new F1 regulations to MasterChef.

Their vice-chairman, 76, who is the son of company founder Enzo, told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “To my friends who ask me to explain what has changed in the rules, I tell them it’s like MasterChef.

“They gave us the ingredients and then there is someone who cooks a delicious dish and someone less so.

“The rules have not been changed, they have been rewritten. I read them, but I really struggled to understand them.”

Haas set to unveil livery tomorrow

Thursday 3 February 2022 14:41 , Dan Austin

Haas will become the first team to reveal its 2022 F1 car livery in a digital event tomorrow morning at 11am.

The American-owned team has traditionally revealed a concept livery before fully unveiling its cars at pre-season testing each season since joined the sport in 2016, and looks set to do the same again.

A Russian-flag themed livery was run in 2021 after the team signed Nikita Mazepin and accepted a title sponsorship from his oligarch father’s fertiliser company Ural Kali, and a simialr design is likely to return again this year.

Hakkinen: Hamilton will retire when title shot fades

Thursday 3 February 2022 14:25 , Lawrence Ostlere

Lewis Hamilton will only retire from Formula One when Mercedes are no longer able to provide him with a winning machine, according to two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen.

Hamilton’s immediate future remains clouded in uncertainty following the controversial conclusion to last season’s title race.

The 37-year-old has not spoken publicly since the immediate moments after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 12.

It is understood Hamilton is awaiting the outcome of the FIA’s inquiry, launched after race director Michael Masi was accused of bending the rules to allow Max Verstappen to triumph following a late safety car period.

Masi’s own position is under intense scrutiny and there is a growing feeling that the Australian will not be in his post for the opening race in Bahrain on March 20. Hamilton’s plans could hinge on Masi’s future.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team will launch their new car - its first of Formula One’s new technical era - at Silverstone on February 18 with the opening winter test starting in Barcelona five days later.

The Silver Arrows have won the past eight constructors’ championships but their imperious form might not continue in the sport’s new era.

And Hakkinen has questioned whether Hamilton will see out his two-year deal, worth almost £40million-per-season, if Mercedes are not at the front.

“Lewis’ journey in Formula One has been really long and there are so many elements which will come into his opinion as to whether to continue,” said Hakkinen, who won consecutive titles with McLaren in 1998 and 1999.

“Lewis has the confidence. He has been winning, he has been on the top of the podium, and everybody has been looking at him like, ‘Wow, you are great’.

“He is thinking that it must continue this way, so this is going to be a very interesting year for him.

“The regulations in Formula One have dramatically changed. It is going to be a completely new machine and the chances are that the designers might not find an optimum machine. If that happens to Lewis it is going to be really hard for him to accept.

“If you have been at the top of the mountain and suddenly you have to climb back up the mountain because you don’t have the best car, it is going to be emotional for him to control.

“There are a lot of question marks surrounding Lewis. We don’t know whether he is coming back, but let’s hope he is.”

Lewis Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes expires at the end of next year (PA Wire) (PA Wire)
Lewis Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes expires at the end of next year (PA Wire) (PA Wire)

Six weeks to go until season starts

Thursday 3 February 2022 13:53 , Dan Austin

Formula 1 is set for the biggest season in its 72-year history over 2022 with 23 races planned at top class racing venues around the world.

The series has been on an expansion drive ever since owners Liberty Media purchased it from Bernie Ecclestone back in 2017, with focus placed on key financial territories including the Middle East and North America.

All but one of the tracks scheduled to host a grand prix in 2022 have done so far before. This season brings a brand new race in the United States onto the calendar in May, as the Miami International Autodrome makes its debut as the second US event alongside the Circuit of the Americas in Texas. The Florida venue will see drivers navigate 19 corners around the Hard Rock Stadium, home of NFL team Miami Dolphins.

You can check out the full calendar of races below:

F1 race calendar 2022: Full list of dates for every grand prix in biggest season ever

Chandhok says Masi was “screwed over” in Abu Dhabi

Thursday 3 February 2022 13:32 , Dan Austin

Karun Chandhok says Michael Masi was “screwed over” in the controversy at the Abu Dhabu Grand Prix.

The Race Director’s decision to allow only some lapped cars to un-lap themselves themselves essentially gifted Max Verstappen the world championship, and has led to strong criticism from fans, pundits and drivers alike.

“I think where he got a bit screwed over really is that the brakes [on Nicholas Latifi’s stricken Williams] caught fire on the car as they were trying to take it off the track,” the former HRT driver told the Daily Express. So the marshals had to jump on and get the fire extinguisher out obviously, that dumped a load of stuff onto the track. That, therefore, left Michael in a position of, ‘ah I’ve committed to this part of the Safety Car, now this has happened we have got to leave the Safety Car out for longer than I originally planned’. He couldn’t have red-flagged it at that point, because as per the procedure of the red flag you have to do an out-lap as well as a timed lap. So if he had red-flagged it, we wouldn’t have had a restart.”

F1 relaxes reprimand rules for 2022

Thursday 3 February 2022 13:12 , Dan Austin

Formula 1 is relaxing its reprimand rules for 2022, meaning five infractions are now required for a grid penalty to be enforced rather than three.

Reprimands are incidents which do not count as penalties, and fall into grey areas which the sport would prefer are avoided. Sebastian Vettel was given a reprimand last season, for example, for wearing a pro-LGBTQ+ rights t-shirt during the Hungarian national anthem.

Drivers now face a ten-place grid drop if they rack up five reprimands.

Ferrari chief compares rule changes to MasterChef

Thursday 3 February 2022 12:56 , Dan Austin

Ferrari vice-president Piero Ferrari has compared the challenge of building a Formula 1 car from scratch for a new set of regulations to contestants facing Gordon Ramsey on MasterChef.

The Scottish chef is a judge on the US version of the show and Ferrari said putting together a mix of raw ingredients is something cooking and car building have in common.

“To my friends who ask me to explain what has changed in the rules, I tell them it’s like MasterChef – they gave us the ingredients and then there is someone who cooks a delicious dish and someone less so,” the 75-year-old told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “The rules have not been changed, they have been rewritten. I read them, but I really struggled to understand them.”

Moto GP wants to avoid Abu Dhabi F1 repeat

Thursday 3 February 2022 12:39 , Dan Austin

The Moto GP boss Carmelo Ezpeleta says he would like to avoid a controversial end to a biking championship akin to the one which plunged Formula 1 into chaos at Abu Dhabi.

Mercedes protested the race result at Yas Marin after Max Verstappen won the world championship following FIA Race Director Michael Masi’s unprecedented running of the safety car, and Ezpelata says an intense racing battle isn’t worth it if it ends in such controversy.

“I would not like to have a MotoGP finish like the one in F1,” he told Marca.

“I wish there were two drivers fighting for the title in the last race, but the way the whole thing played out? Not for anything. It has been a fantastic championship, fought throughout the year and, in the end, has caused controversies that are not good. I like to have a championship, if it can be, until the very disputed end, but I don’t like that after the end they create doubt, that the runner-up doesn’t talk anymore. I certainly don’t dream about it.”

Capelli says Ferrari should treat drivers equally

Thursday 3 February 2022 12:23 , Dan Austin

The former Ferrari drivers Ivan Capelli says the Italian squad should forget about having designated first and second drivers and treat their current starts equally for 2022.

Charles Leclerc is one of the most highly-rated drivers in the sport and has taken two wins and nine pole positions for the team since stepping up from Alfa Romeo in 2019, impressing further by comprehensively beating Sebastian Vettel in his two seasons partnering the German.

Carlos Sainz replaced Vettel for 2021 and enjoyed an excellent debut season with the Scuderia, outscoring his Monegasque team-mate as he earned P5 in the drivers’ championship.

Now Capelli says the best way forward is for both to be treated evenly. “The team must make them start on par, then it will be the track that dictates the hierarchy,” he told Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport. “Ferrari must start preparing itself for the management of two drivers with the same ambitions, the same desire and the same chances of winning.”

Alpine boss says team is prepared to “fail early"

Thursday 3 February 2022 12:07 , Dan Austin

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi says the team would rather take risks and “fail early and learn very fast from it” than accept maintaining their position in the middle of the Formula 1 pack.

The French squad finished fifth in 2021 and has failed to challenge for the championship since it won two with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006 in its previous guise as Renault.

Rossi says the team is determined to progress up the order now and is willing to take risks to do so. “It’s a question of changing a couple of things here and there,” he told The Race. “The culture of being okay with failing, but failing early and learning very fast from it, rather than being afraid of it and just trying to do a safe job, which will probably get you to P5 but you won’t explore the boundaries.

Hakkinen says Hamilton and Verstappen took “heavy risks” in 2021

Thursday 3 February 2022 11:51 , Dan Austin

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Mika Hakkinen says Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen took “heavy risks” in their intense fight for the 2021 title.

The pair made contact on track on multiple occasions and both were given penalties by the stewards for high profile incidents, including the crash on entry to Copse corner at Silverstone and the chaos at Jeddah when an order for Verstappen to allow Hamilton to re-take the lead ended in a slow speed crash.

“Is it my style to do things that those two drivers did? Not really, it is not my style and that is because I had a very bad accident,” Hakkinen said, according to PA News. “I spent a lot of time in hospital and I know the pain when things go wrong. These two drivers, they don’t know that, so they do take risks, very heavy risks, and they rely a lot on the safety of the car and the safety of the track.”

Fittipaldi backs Ferrari to be “faster at the start"

Thursday 3 February 2022 11:35 , Dan Austin

Double Formula 1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi is backing Ferrari to be “faster at the start” of the 2022 season than the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull.

“They can be faster at the start,” the 75-year-old told Motorsport.com Nederland. “A team like Ferrari has been working on the new season for much longer. You don’t know, there can be many surprises.”

The former McLaren drivers does believe, though, that Mercedes and Red Bull will catch up soon enough even if they do start the campaign slightly off the pace.

“The bigger teams always have an advantage,” he added. “But other teams can be closer this year. I think it will be more balanced.

Mercedes faces “big challenge” with wind tunnel restrictions

Thursday 3 February 2022 11:18 , Dan Austin

Mercedes’ technical director Mike Elliot has admitted the Brackley-based squad faces a “big challenge” in the wind tunnel over pre-season.

Finishing first in last season’s constructors’ championship means Mercedes has is permitted less time in the wind tunnel to test their new car than any other team in the sport, as F1 allows teams more aerodynamics testing time the lower down the other they finish in an effort to narrow the spread of the field.

“The big challenge over the winter has been the fact we have fewer runs to use in the wind tunnel,” Elliott said in a video released on Mercedes’ website. “So that has been challenging, trying to work out how much we should have spent on last year’s car versus how much we should have spent on this year’s car. This had knock-on consequences all the way through the factory. In terms of design work, we start design work earlier on things like gearbox and chassis, particularly as the gearbox is fixed for a period of time. We have had to get that right.”

“A lot of optimism” about Ferrari engine, report says

Thursday 3 February 2022 11:00 , Dan Austin

Spanish newspaper Marca reports that there is “a lot of optimism” coming out of Ferrari regarding its upgraded engine for the 2022 season.

The Italian manufacturer put all their eggs in the 2022 basket long ago, focussing their development and resources on the long-term goal of being at the top of the competitive order for the new era of F1.

The combination of Ferrari’s spending power and their ability to write off the last couple of seasons in order to focus on 2022 has led many observers to believe they could be a serious contender once the seasons gets underway in Bahrain in March.

Haas and Alfa Romeo also run Ferrari engines, and could benefit enormously from a successful upgrade.

Full car launch dates for eight F1 teams

Thursday 3 February 2022 10:42 , Dan Austin

So, Red Bull will gets 2022’s slew of car launches underway next Wednesday 9 February after they announced earlier this morning they will precede Aston Martin by a day and become the first team to unveil their challenger for the new campaign.

All teams bar Williams and Haas have committed to dates when they will reveal the result of all their hard work, too. These are the dates as things stand:

9 February: Red Bull RB18

10 February: Aston Martin AMR 22

11 February: McLaren MCL36

14 February: Alpha Tauri AT03

17 February: Ferrari F1-75

18 February: Mercedes W13

22 February: Alpine A522

27 February: Alfa Romeo C42

Two teams yet to announce car launch dates

Thursday 3 February 2022 10:24 , Dan Austin

Eight Formula 1 teams have now announced the dates on which they will launch their 2022 challengers, leaving two still to go.

Haas and Williams have spent the past few seasons right at the back of the F1 grid and are hoping to take advantage of the regulation shake-up in order to fire themselves further forward.

Williams have made significant changes since being purchased by Dorilton Capital in 2020, including hiring Jos Capito as team principal and bringing in Alex Albon to replace the Mercedes-bound George Russell.

Haas, meanwhile, have the lowest budget of any team on the grid but have opened a new facility at the Ferrari HQ in Maranello, Italy.

McLaren will upgrade 2022 at first race

Thursday 3 February 2022 10:10 , Dan Austin

McLaren will bring their first car upgrade of the season to Bahrain for the first race of the 2022 campaign.

That means that the vehicle which contests the Grand Prix on 20 March will be a slightly different version to the one that undergoes pre-season testing at the same Sakhir International Circuit a fortnight previously.

“We know performance at race one is critical, and we’ll be delivering an upgrade package to that event, but we expect much more to follow,” said McLaren F1 operations director Piers Thynne on the team’s website.

Red Bull to be first team to launch 2022 F1 car

Thursday 3 February 2022 09:54 , Dan Austin

Red Bull will be the first team to reveal their new car for the 2022 F1 season next week.

The Milton-Keynes based squad has announced that their unveiling will take place on 9 February, one day prior to Aston Martin’s launch.

This year’s car reveals are some of the mostly highly-anticipated in the history of the sport, with a new set of regulations meaning vehicles will look significantly different to their predecessors and the competitive order of the grid could be shaken up.

Hamilton’s F1 return will be ‘emotional’ says Hill

Thursday 3 February 2022 09:39 , Dan Austin

Lewis Hamilton will find it difficult to continue in Formula One if his Mercedes car is not competitive next season, according to two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen.

Hamilton’s future in the sport remains in doubt following the controversial end to last season which saw the 37-year-old miss out on a record-breaking eighth world championship to Max Verstappen on the final lap of the year.

Hakkinen believes there remains a lot of “question marks” surrounding Hamilton’s future in the sport, and the competitiveness of his car next season could be a factor in his decision.

You can read the full story here:

Lewis Hamilton faces ‘emotional’ test in F1 return ‘to climb back up the mountain’

Mercedes star George Russell has race pace questioned by Red Bull

Thursday 3 February 2022 09:24 , Jack Rathborn

Helmut Marko is not yet convinced by new Mercedes addition George Russell when it comes to the most important factor of all in F1: Race day.

The young Brit has impressed in qualifying, showing consistency and control while with Williams, but Helmut Marko wants to see an improvement on Sunday sessions, as he told Autorevue.

“Now let’s see what Mr Russell will do at Mercedes and whether the praise he has received in advance is justified,” he said. “I want to see that first.

“There’s no discussion in qualifying, he’s sensational there but if you look at his race speed, he wasn’t far ahead of [then Williams team-mate Nicholas] Latifi.”

New Mercedes driver George Russell has race pace questioned by Red Bull

Max Verstappen took Red Bull car ‘over the limit’, team boss claims

Thursday 3 February 2022 09:21 , Jack Rathborn

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has praised Max Verstappen’s drive to secure his first world title at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, saying the Dutchman pushed his car “over the limit” to snatch the win.

Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the Yas Marina Circuit to seal the Drivers’ Championship in dramatic fashion after the intervention of race director Michael Masi.

Marko has overseen Red Bull’s driver development programme since 1999, and helped guide Verstappen into Formula 1.

The 78-year-old hailed the world champion for both his driving talent and will to win, suggesting that Hamilton now knows he cannot afford to leave any space for the aggressive Dutch driver.

“You could see that [Verstappen] drove the car so over the limit, that was visible,” Marko said.

“And in the races, Hamilton should already know that you can’t leave the smallest gap open at Verstappen.

Max Verstappen took Red Bull car ‘over the limit’, team boss claims

Lewis Hamilton accused of wanting Michael Masi out in bid to ‘turn F1 upside down’

Thursday 3 February 2022 09:20 , Jack Rathborn

Lewis Hamilton has been accused of wanting to force Michael Masi out of Formula 1 and turn the sport “upside down”.

The seven-time world champion has not commented publicly on the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which saw Masi’s controversial intervention set up Max Verstappen to pass Hamilton and deny the Mercedes driver a record eighth title.

It has since been suggested that Hamilton is considering retirement as he awaits the FIA’s report on events at the Yas Marina Circuit, which could see Masi stripped of his race director role.

Dutch racing driver Jeroen Bleekemolen believes that Hamilton will be back on the grid when the 2022 season starts in Bahrain in March.

However Bleekemolen also thinks that Hamilton’s influence is such that changes will be made, warning that “some people will disappear”.

Lewis Hamilton accused of wanting Michael Masi out in bid to ‘turn F1 upside down’