The anticipation for the start of the 2022 Formula 1 season seems greater than any season before.
The wild ride that was the 2021 campaign drew thousands more fans into the sport, and the intensity of the fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen allowed for Mercedes to be challenged in a way they haven’t experienced for several years.
With Hamilton now eager to fight back and win his eight World Championship, the battle of the greats returns to the track this weekend as the Bahrain Grand Prix commences.
Not only will fans be eagerly awaiting the resumption of the Red Bull-Mercedes rivalry, but the new regulations that have been brought into the sport will provide another level of expectation for the 2022 season.
A cost cap was brought in, which now sees all teams having parity on what they can spend on their car. Previously, teams such as Mercedes and Red Bull were able to spend almost double what the likes of Williams and Haas could, and race results clearly evidenced that.
Now, with all franchises on a more equal footing, the hope will be for closer racing and for more intense battles on the track.
Following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, new regulations have been made off the circuit as well. Michael Masi’s decision to allow for only the cars in between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton to un-lap themselves, rather than all of the cars to un-lap themselves sparked strong backlash from Mercedes and the FIA.
The FIA has now moved Masi within the team and brought new race directors in. There will also be a VAR-type system in order to prevent similar decisions being made in future.
Team Principals will now also no longer be able to communicate with the race director in the same way as before.
Toto Wolff’s infamous “No Michael, that was so not right” is likely to live in the minds of F1 fans for a long time to come. However, the constant interference from Team Principals has taken its toll and there will be a new system of communication in order to prevent consistent heckling.
With these new regulations to watch out for, here is all you need to know ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix…
When is the Bahrain Grand Prix?
The weekend will begin on Friday 18 March 2022 and conclude on Sunday 20 March 2022.
Friday 18 March:
- Practice 1 12pm - 1pm GMT
- Practice 2 3pm - 4pm GMT
Saturday 19 March:
- Practice 3 12pm - 1pm GMT
- Qualifying 3pm - 4pm GMT
Sunday 20 March:
- RACE 3pm - 5pm GMT
Where is the Bahrain Grand Prix?
The Bahrain GP uses the Gulf Air Bahrain International Circuit.
How to watch the Bahrain Grand Prix
Every session from the start of the first practice session to the end of the race will be available to watch on Sky Sports. Sky Sports packages start at around £40/month.
What is the Bahrain Grand Prix Circuit like?
The Bahrain circuit offers huge numbers of overtaking opportunities due to the straights in all three sectors of the race.
The drivers will have to contend with the wind, racing under the floodlights and finding a decent set-up with the huge temperature differences between sessions.
Turn 10 is one of the most difficult parts of the track as it is tight, down-hill and left-handed while the fast run at Turn 12 also offers another highlight.
Who is likely to win the Bahrain Grand Prix?
Last year’s winner was Lewis Hamilton after he took top place from Max Verstappen.
Hamilton also has the greatest number of wins on the circuit and will hope to start off 2022 with a big win.
Ferrari and Mercedes are the most successful constructors at this race and with Ferrari’s quicker pace at pre-season testing on the same circuit, Charles LeClerc and Carlos Sainz may be the two drivers to watch out for.
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