Here are five reasons why you should be already excited…

The great unknown

2022 will be Formula 1’s biggest regulation overhaul as it looks to even the playing field with the introduction of significant technical and financial rules. 

The various changes include a move from 13 to 18-inch tyres with returning wheel covers, simplified front wing and bodywork and a ground effect floor.  

All these changes will take place under a stricter budget cap with teams now only allowed to spend a maximum of $140 million - $5 million less than 2021. 

F1 stalwarts Ross Brawn and Pat Symonds have been heavily involved in forming these new regulations as they look to transform the pinnacle of motorsport into a more competitive environment.

If 2022 was simply a continuation of last year, there’s no doubt that Mercedes and Red Bull would be the top two teams, with Ferrari and McLaren needing to make unrealistic gains over the winter to even threaten across a 23-race season. 

The slate has been completely wiped clean for 2022 meaning it’s a great unknown.

Will a team find a loophole as Brawn GP did in 2009 with the double-diffuser? 

Will the new cars suit some drivers more than others? 

Will the racing be better?

There’s a lot of unknowns going into the season and that’s what is exciting. 

Mercedes might be the team to beat again but at least it’s not a certainty as it was across 2014 to 2020.

A Verstappen-Hamilton rematch?

F1 enjoyed its most incredible title battle in years with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton fighting for the 2021 crown down to the final lap in Abu Dhabi.

While it wasn’t the ending anyone wanted with the controversy surrounding the Safety Car period and subsequent protests, the duel between F1’s two main protagonists put the sport back on the map in the mainstream media. 

Verstappen and Hamilton’s constant on-track battles and drama served up storyline after storyline.

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While the rivalry remained amicable off-track between the drivers, team bosses Christian Horner and Toto Wolff stirred the pot beautifully throughout the season by firing shots at one another amid a war of words. 

The manner in which Hamilton lost the title to Verstappen will no doubt have left him wounded, but a hurting Hamilton is often a very dangerous Hamilton. 

The seven-time champion has bounced back well from adversity in the past and only a fool would rule him out from returning to the top again in 2022. 

Hamilton will go down as being arguably the greatest driver of all time, while Verstappen is well on his way to joining that group. 

If 2022 serves up a Verstappen-Hamilton rematch, we should feel very fortunate.

Russell gets his Mercedes chance

After three years with Williams, George Russell will finally get his chance with Mercedes.

There’s never been any doubt over his raw speed with Russell earning the nickname ‘Mr Saturday’ for his incredible one-lap performances.

In 2021, Russell seemed to make that final step and converted his opportunities into big points haul as he helped Williams secure eighth in the constructors’ championship ahead of Alfa Romeo. 

Russell was rightly promoted on the back of his maiden podium at the cut-short Belgian Grand Prix and it will be intriguing to see how he stacks up against Hamilton.

The 23-year-old was right on the pace during his one-off stand-in drive at the Sakhir Grand Prix in 2020, so it’s hard to imagine he will struggle in that department. 

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Tyre management, race starts, wheel-to-wheel combat are all areas Hamilton has excelled in during his most recent title-winning triumphs, while it’s difficult to judge Russell.

The dynamic between the two drivers will also be interesting.

Will it be a Charles Leclerc-Sebastian Vettel type situation with the former clearly the quicker of the two and thus soon inherited number one status at Ferrari.

I doubt it given Hamilton isn’t far off his peak form, although Russell will no doubt be a sterner test than his predecessor, Valtteri Bottas.

In theory, the dynamic between the two Brits should be a good one - Russell is racing alongside his childhood hero in the best team over the last eight years while Hamilton has nothing to prove. 

Time will tell. 

Will 'El Plan' come to fruition? 

Will 2022 be finally the year Fernando Alonso has a car that is capable of challenging at the front of the field?

As mentioned previously, the new regulations should in theory give every team a chance of nailing it and propelling themselves to the front. 

On his return to F1 after two years away, we saw glimpses of the Alonso magic in 2021 with his fantastic starts, superb racecraft and even a return to the podium in Qatar.

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Alonso feels he’s ready to win again, while Alpine - even as Renault - has been promising a leap forward at some point.

Aston Martin will be hoping for something similar after a lacklustre 2021 campaign, heavily compromised by the changes to the floor regulations which impacted low rake cars. 

It would be great to see Alonso and Sebastian Vettel return to the front of the field as a poor season for either team could see another high-profile retirement from the sport.

Storylines everywhere 

The great thing about the reset for 2022 is there’s a reason for every team up and down the field to be optimistic and a number of key storylines that come with it.

Remarkably, Ferrari hasn’t won a title since 2008 but surely it’s about time the famous Italian team returns to the front with its incredibly strong pairing of Carlos Sainz and Leclerc.

Can Daniel Ricciardo get back to his best with McLaren? How will Bottas get on at Alfa Romeo? Alex Albon will get his chance for redemption at Williams. And what about Haas - could the American outfit be the surprise of the season? 

There’s so much to look forward to in 2022.

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