While the arguments of Abu Dhabi still feel fresh on F1 Twitter’s fingertips, the F1 2022 season is luckily upon us.
With all the drama, action and debate of last season, it will take a special season again to live up to last year. So what has changed from last season?
The best place to start is with all the regulation changes for the F1 2022 season but to keep a long story short, all the changes that have taken place are meant to bring us closer racing.
These regulation changes have led to a range of different designs from all the teams with everyone wondering which design will work best come the first race of the season and which team will be able to adapt as the season evolves.
More changes have come on the drivers front with George Russell taking the second seat at Mercedes to partner Lewis Hamilton to defend their constructors crown.
This has prompted Valtteri Bottas to head to Alfa Romeo to drive alongside rookie Zhou Guanyu, and Russell has been replaced at Williams by Alex Albon, who will be returning to F1 after losing his seat at Red Bull.
The only other change for the 2022 grid is at Haas, who have brought Kevin Magnussen back to replace the outgoing Nikita Mazepin, with every other team retaining their driver line-ups from the previous season.
So how are all teams looking?
All teams have had in-televised testing in Barcelona followed by televised testing in Bahrain. From testing you can never really tell where teams are at and who is showing what percentage of their potential, but over these testing days it’s been clear that Ferrari look to have built a car worthy of making a challenge for the 2022 title.
Their cars have always been near the top of timing sheets while being able to produce high levels of laps, meaning their cars seem not only quick but also shouldn’t see too many reliability problems.
Red Bull seemed to show a lot more of their hand on the final day of testing in Bahrain with Max Verstappen topping the timing charts after their sidepod design upgrades had been applied.
We can’t mention sidepods without talking about Mercedes and their new car design that they arrived in the Middle East with. The car dubbed as the no-pods design led everyone to believe that this would give them a full second improvement and would head the field.
Mercedes however failed to set the testing time charts alight, leading many to question how much they were “sandbagging” to hide the full potential of their car ahead of this weekend’s opening race.
Other worthy mentions are Haas, who managed to top the timing charts on day two in their extra given time and then managed to go second quickest on the final day in their added time also.
McLaren seemed to really struggle in Bahrain after having a promising Barcelona test. Not only did they have Daniel Ricciardo missing for all of the second test, but they also struggled to put in consistent laps due to issues with overheating in their brakes.
Now with all testing done, we are gearing up for the opening race of the weekend in Bahrain all guessing and trying to figure out what the results of the testing means, but all knowing anything could happen come the start of qualifying.
F1 2022 Betting Tips
F1 in recent years has not been an easy sport to find value in due to the dominance of Mercedes and a two driver title fight.
However, this season they could all change with the new regulations with bookmakers just as unsure of where car performances are as the rest of us.
Here are my three season long tips I believe are worth taking a look at to find some value:
Carlos Sainz – 15.0 – 2.5 pts E/W – (1/5 odds up to 3rd)
Ferrari have looked very impressive and reliable during all of the testing session so far.
It has been a long time since Ferrari have challenged for a world title, but 2022 could be the year the Scuderia mount a charge for the driver and constructors’ Championships.
The choice then comes between Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc as to who can be the main driver to take on Hamilton and Verstappen.
Although Charles will be seen as the number 1 driver for Ferrari, Carlos showed everyone last season he is not there just to be their second driver and ended up finishing with five and a half points ahead.
Carlos’ ability to drive from further in the pack on a consistent basis gives him the edge in my eyes for this bet with his odds also being higher than Leclerc, who currently sits at 9.0.
Head-to-head – Albon v Latifi – Latifi – 3.25 – 2 pts
A great place to find some value can be in the head-to-head markets; some partnerships on the grid will be very one-sided but there are many teams that will end up with a close ending points total between their top drivers.
For me, one of the teams where there is some good value currently is Latifi vs Albon. Alex Albon has been out of an F1 car for a season and will move to a Mercedes powered car for the very first time in F1.
I do believe Albon will have a good opening season at Williams but I believe Latifi, who only finished 9 points off Russell last season, will have the advantage of knowing the car and the team a lot better, leading him to have a massive advantage over the season as a whole.
Head-to-head – Alonso v Ocon – Ocon – 3.25 – 2 pts
We are looking at a head-to-head market again for our final season long tip. This time we have taken a close look at the Alpine pairing.
Alpine did improve in their performance from Barcelona to Bahrain testing, but I still think this could be a tough season in terms of reliability for the team.
The fears have been increased with Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi saying that they have favoured engine performance over reliability, and with the F1 seasons getting longer and longer this could cause the team some issues.
This has led me to believe that Ocon may be able to look after the car’s reliability over the season as a whole, with Alonso looking to push harder to get the maximum out of the car.
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