It doesn’t feel like the dust has truly settled on the 2021 Formula 1 season, not least because the ramifications of that controversial finale in Abu Dhabi are still playing out in the background.
The basics are this: The FIA is investigating how it can avoid a repeat of the situation that saw Max Verstappen grab the title on the very last lap of the year, and the outcome could (reportedly) determine if Lewis Hamilton returns to the sport at all in 2022.
So whatever your views on what happened, the stakes are—to put it mildly—rather high.
Putting the gossip columns to one side for the moment, we’re almost into that time of year where F1 teams begin revealing their new cars for the forthcoming season. And with the rulebook undergoing a massive shake-up this year, the new generation of designs should be fascinating.
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Simplified aero, a return to ground effect, low-profile tires, wheel covers—all of these things are being introduced for 2022 in the name of closer, more exciting racing, which means teams have had to put their old ideas in the bin and spend Christmas coming up with entirely new ones.
F1 even made a mockup design of what the new cars would look like (the photos shown here), remember?
And then there’s the new budget cap, which should make it much harder for the biggest teams to simply spend their way out of midfield mediocrity and leave the minnows at the back of the grid. Here’s hoping.
So, here’s a quick rundown of the confirmed dates we’ll see each team’s new contender. Get those e-calendars synced to your electronic devices, folks.
2022 Formula 1 season car launch dates
- Haas VF-22 – 4 February
- Red Bull RB18 – 9 February
- Aston Martin AMR22 – 10 February
- McLaren MCL36 – 11 February
- AlphaTauri AT03 – 14 February
- Ferrari F1-75 – 17 February
- Mercedes W13 – 18 February
- Alpine A522 – 22 February
- Alfa Romeo C42 – 27 February
- Williams FW44 – TBC
The first three days of preseason testing commence in Barcelona on February 23, so unless the teams have found a way of lapping their cars underneath an ultra-fast shroud, we’ll have seen all the cars by then. Alfa Romeo, you’ll note, is launching its livery on 27 February, so expect them to be wearing heavy camouflage for the first shakedown in Spain.
A further three test days follow at the Sakhir International Circuit from March 10, a week before the season-opening race at the same venue in Bahrain. Until then, here are 10 things we’re looking forward to about the new campaign.
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.