Sir Lewis Hamilton knighted days after missing out on record eighth F1 title
Mercedes are growing “increasingly confident” that Lewis Hamilton will return for the 2022 season, with the seven-time world champion said to be keeping in shape at his home in Colorado ahead of pre-season testing next month.
Hamilton has remained tight-lipped over his future since the hugely controversial end to the 2021 season in Abu Dhabi, with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitting the Briton was “disillusioned” with the FIA. Mercedes also moved to deny reports that the decision to drop their legal appeal against the result included any agreement that race director Michael Masi would be sacked.
Masi’s position has remained under intense scrutiny since he appeared to break the FIA’s own regulations by allowing a select number of cars to unlap themselves to enable a final lap shootout between Hamilton and Max Verstappen. However, there are currently few obvious candidates to replace the Australian.
Four-time world champion Alain Prost was more cautious over Hamilton’s future, rating the chance that he will return to the track next season at just “50-50”. Some have speculated that Hamilton wants to see the outcome of the FIA’s official report on how events unfolded in Abu Dhabi before committing to a return, with the investigation set to be concluded early next month.
Follow all the latest F1 news below:
Norris felt he was in Sainz ‘shadow’ at McLaren
Lando Norris has said he felt as if he was in Carlos Sainz’s “shadow” when the pair raced for McLaren together.
Sainz performed well for McLaren but moved to Ferrari to replace Sebastian Vettel for the 2021 season. He ended up with more points than Charles Leclerc and Norris believes his former McLaren colleague could win the world title if given the right car.
“I think Carlos is one of the best Formula 1 drivers. It also made me not look so good because he’s an extremely good driver. He did a very good job,” said Norris, quoted by Motorsport-total.com.
“I think I was a bit in his shadow because he did a great job. More and more people are now realising what he’s capable of.”
Dylan Terry13 January 2022 12:45
Gasly frustrated by lack of Red Bull recognition
Pierre Gasly has expressed frustration over a lack of “recognition and reward” from Red Bull in his Formula 1 career.
Speaking to Auto Motor und Sport, Gasly said: “My desire, my will to fight for world championships is very strong. I’m in Formula 1 to fight at the top. That motivates me to keep improving.
“I won’t lie, it’s hard to deliver a season like that. And then when I compare myself to those who got the opportunity for a Red Bull seat, it’s disappointing. Based on the numbers and results, I have delivered a better performance than anyone else in this team.
“But at the end of the day, I don’t get the recognition and reward for that. That’s hard to swallow. It disappoints me, of course. I know what I want to achieve in this sport. I want to fight at the top. That hasn’t changed.
“Next year it won’t be that far yet, but that doesn’t mean if it’s not there in 2022 it won’t happen in 2023. I continue to give full throttle and believe in myself.
“I hope the AlphaTauri will be as good as it was this season, despite the change in regulations.”
Dylan Terry13 January 2022 12:30
Honda to make F1 return in the future?
Honda motorsport boss Masashi Yamamoto believes the Japanese manufacturer will return to F1 in the future.
“Personally I hope and expect Honda will come back to Formula 1,” he told F1.com.
“It depends on young people in Honda being passionate about motorsport and if they can convince senior management to come back. But history repeats, so I hope it can happen.”
Dylan Terry13 January 2022 12:13
Bottas joins up with Alfa Romeo
Valtteri Bottas has joined up with his new team Alfa Romeo ahead of the 2022 Formula One season.
The Finn was replaced at Mercedes by George Russell and so in turn began searching for a new seat for the upcoming campaign.
And Alfa Romeo opted to change both drivers for 2022 – with Bottas and Chinese racer Guanyu Zhou coming in for Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen.
Dylan Terry13 January 2022 11:55
Mercedes confident Hamilton won’t retire
Mercedes remain confident that Lewis Hamilton will not retire and will compete in the 2022 Formula One season.
There has been rumours the seven-time world champion could walk away from the sport after missing out on the 2021 championship to Max Verstappen.
But The Times report that the Briton is ramping up training to remain in shape in his mountain home in Colorado.
Hamilton is also expected to take part in the pre-season testing next month in Barcelona and in Bahrain in March.
Dylan Terry13 January 2022 11:45
Russell predicts F1 ‘underdogs’ may prevail early on in 2022 season
Mercedes driver George Russell says “underdog” teams could “prevail” in early races in the 2022 season due to the new car regulations.
The new rules could see the likes of Haas, AlphaTauri and Williams put in solid performances which could cause upsets for Mercedes and Red Bull. The opportunity for more competition and excitement to see each team’s new car is making Russell looking forward to the new season, which begins in March.
“I’m really excited to see the new cars and what they offer for everyone,” said Russell, quoted by Autosport. “That’s really exciting, but also I’m looking forward to being part of the development of a car that will be progressing drastically throughout a season, working with the designers, working on the simulator, putting lots of work in to progress.
“I’m sure it won’t necessarily be who is quickest at race one will win, and I’m sure there will be some interesting designs out there and might be some underdogs who prevail in the opening tests or races.”
Dylan Terry13 January 2022 11:35
One month on from Verstappen’s title win
One month on from Max Verstappen’s title victory and Red Bull admit it is still ‘sinking in’ following a dramatic conclusion to the 2021 season.
Dylan Terry13 January 2022 11:25
Mercedes excited ahead of 2022 season
Safe to say Mercedes are excited about the 2022 Formula 1 season as they bid to reclaim the drivers’ championship they lost in dramatic circumstances last year.
They will also look to defend the constructors’ title which they have claimed in each of the previous eight seasons.
Dylan Terry13 January 2022 11:10
More on race director Michael Masi
Ex-Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone believes race director Michael Masi was “overwhelmed” by the 2021 season.
“He was in many cases overwhelmed with his job the whole season and maybe shouldn’t have had it at all,” Ecclestone told BILD. But it was the right decision to let them race.”
“About being robbed, it’s complete and utter nonsense. If you want to think about it carefully, on the first lap of that race he [Hamilton] went off the circuit and came back on again and Verstappen stayed on the circuit and did absolutely nothing wrong.
“Lewis wasn’t punished at all for that so he shouldn’t be complaining too much. These things happen all the time in sports. We shouldn’t blame the race director, he did exactly what was the right thing to do.”
Dylan Terry13 January 2022 11:00
Abu Dhabi GP investigation update
Sky Sports journalist Craig Slater has provided an update into the investigation the FIA are conducting over what went on at the Abu Dhabi GP.
Max Verstappen was able to pass Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the season to win the title – a move which was helped by the decisions of FIA race director Michael Masi.
Dylan Terry13 January 2022 10:50