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F1 2022 news – LIVE: Red Bull car launch, Hamilton breaks silence

F1 driver George Russell’s message to Williams after Mercedes move

Red Bull are set to launch their 2022 car on Wednesday amid great anticipation ahead of the new Formula One season. A major overhaul of the rules could cause a serious shake-up of the grid, with a new flooring design for extra downforce, more simple front and rear wings, and larger 18-inch tires. So far Haas have revealed their new livery, but this week the unveilings really begin with the new cars of Aston Martin and McLaren to launch on Thursday and Friday, before Ferrari and Mercedes next week.

Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton broke his social media silence this weekend as speculation continues over his future in motor racing. The 37-year-old Mercedes driver has been conspicuous by his absence since December’s debacle in the desert, when he was denied a record eighth world title in the controversial conclusion to the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton, who is said to be debating whether to return to the grid in 2022, hinted he is close to making a decision when he announced on Twitter on Saturday evening: “I’ve been gone. Now I’m back.” Mercedes announced earlier in January that they would launch the first car of F1’s revamped technical era at Silverstone on February 18, five days before the first winter test in Barcelona.

Here’s the very latest news as the new season prepares for the opening weekend in Bahrain on 20 March. Follow all the F1 news updates below:

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Hakkinen says Hamilton and Verstappen took ‘heavy risks’ in 2021

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Mika Hakkinen says Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen took “heavy risks” in their intense fight for the 2021 title.

The pair made contact on track on multiple occasions and both were given penalties by the stewards for high profile incidents, including the crash on entry to Copse corner at Silverstone and the chaos at Jeddah when an order for Verstappen to allow Hamilton to re-take the ended in a slow speed crash.

“Is it my style to do things that those two drivers did? Not really, it’s not my style and that’s because I had a very bad accident,” Hakkinen said, according to PA News. “I spent a lot of time in the hospital and I know the pain when things go wrong. These two drivers, they don’t know that, so they do take risks, very heavy risks, and they rely a lot on the safety of the car and the safety of the track.”

Lawrence Ostlere8 February 2022 14:51

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Alpine boss says team is prepared to ‘fail early’

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi says the team would rather take risks and “fail early and learn very fast from it” than accept maintaining their position in the middle of the Formula 1 pack.

The French squad finished fifth in 2021 and has failed to challenge for the championship since it won two with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006 in its previous guise as Renault.

Rossi says the team is determined to progress up the order now and is willing to take risks to do so. “It’s a question of changing a couple of things here and there,” he told The Race. “The culture of being okay with failing, but failing early and learning very fast from it, rather than being afraid of it and just trying to do a safe job, which will probably get you to P5 but you won’t explore the boundaries.

(Getty)

Lawrence Ostlere8 February 2022 14:35

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Capelli says Ferrari should treat drivers equally

The former Ferrari drivers Ivan Capelli says the Italian squad should forget about having designated first and second drivers and treat their current starts equally for 2022.

Charles Leclerc is one of the most highly-rated drivers in the sport and has taken two wins and nine pole positions for the team since stepping up from Alfa Romeo in 2019, impressing further by comprehensively beating Sebastian Vettel in his two seasons partnering the German.

Carlos Sainz replaced Vettel for 2021 and enjoyed an excellent debut season with the Scuderia, outscoring his Monegasque team-mate as he earned P5 in the drivers’ championship.

Now Capelli says the best way forward is for both to be treated evenly. “The team must make them start on par, then it will be the track that dictates the hierarchy,” he told Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport. “Ferrari must start preparing itself for the management of two drivers with the same ambitions, the same desire and the same chances of winning.”

Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Scuderia Ferrari

(Getty)

Lawrence Ostlere8 February 2022 14:17

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Moto GP wants to avoid Abu Dhabi F1 repeat

The Moto GP boss Carmelo Ezpeleta says he would like to avoid a controversial end to a biking championship akin to the one which plunged Formula 1 into chaos at Abu Dhabi.

Mercedes protested the race result at Yas Marin after Max Verstappen won the world championship following FIA Race Director Michael Masi’s unprecedented running of the safety car, and Ezpelata says an intense racing battle isn’t worth it if it ends in such controversy.

“I would not like to have a MotoGP finish like the one in F1,” he told Marca.

“I wish there were two drivers fighting for the title in the last race, but the way the whole thing played out? Not for anything. It has been a fantastic championship, fought throughout the year and, in the end, has caused controversies that are not good. I like to have a championship, if it can be, until the very disputed end, but I don’t like that after the end they create doubt, that the runner-up doesn’t talk anymore. I certainly don’t dream about it.”

Lawrence Ostlere8 February 2022 13:59

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Ferrari chief compares rule changes to MasterChef

Ferrari vice-president Piero Ferrari has compared the challenge of building a Formula 1 car from scratch for a new set of regulations to contestants facing Gordon Ramsey on MasterChef.

The Scottish chef is a judge on the US version of the show and Ferrari said putting together a mix of raw ingredients is something cooking and car building have in common.

“To my friends who ask me to explain what has changed in the rules, I tell them it’s like MasterChef – they gave us the ingredients and then there is someone who cooks a delicious dish and someone less so,” the 75-year-old told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “The rules have not been changed, they have been rewritten. I read them, but I really struggled to understand them.”

Ferrari on track last season

(Reuters)

Lawrence Ostlere8 February 2022 13:46

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F1 relaxes reprimand rules for 2022

Formula 1 is relaxing its reprimand rules for 2022, meaning five infractions are now required for a grid penalty to be enforced rather than three.

Reprimands are incidents which do not count as penalties, and fall into gray areas which the sport would prefer are avoided. Sebastian Vettel was given a reprimand last season, for example, for wearing a pro-LGBTQ+ rights t-shirt during the Hungarian national anthem.

Drivers now face a ten-place grid drop if they rack up five reprimands.

Sebastian Vettel got in hot water for taking a stand

(Getty Images)

Lawrence Ostlere8 February 2022 13:26

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F1 news: Chandhok says Masi was “screwed over” in Abu Dhabi

Karun Chandhok says Michael Masi was “screwed over” in the controversy at the Abu Dhabu Grand Prix.

The Race Director’s decision to allow only some lapped cars to un-lap themselves themselves essentially gifted Max Verstappen the world championship, and has led to strong criticism from fans, pundits and drivers alike.

“I think where he got a bit screwed over really is that the brakes [on Nicholas Latifi’s stricken Williams] caught fire on the car as they were trying to take it off the track,” the former HRT driver told the Daily Express.

“So the marshals had to jump on and get the fire extinguisher out obviously, that dumped a load of stuff onto the track. That, therefore, left Michael in a position of, ‘ah I’ve committed to this part of the Safety Car, now this has happened we have got to leave the Safety Car out for longer than I originally planned’.

“He couldn’t have red-flagged it at that point, because as per the procedure of the red flag you have to do an out-lap as well as a timed lap. So if he had red-flagged it, we wouldn’t have had a restart.”

Michael Masi is thinking about leaving his position

(Getty Images)

Lawrence Ostlere8 February 2022 13:07

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Domenicali has ‘total respect’ for Hamilton’s silence

Hamilton is set to be at the team’s car launch alongside his new teammate George Russell at Silverstone a week on Friday.

Hamilton’s F1 future had been clouded in some uncertainty following Max Verstappen’s controversial championship win.

But he tweeted on Saturday evening: “I’ve been gone, now I’m back.”

Domenicali said: “There was total respect on his choice to be silent. I think his battery will be fully charged for the start of the season.

“That is important because Lewis is an incredible asset not only for our sport but for the world.

“Lewis has in front of him a possibility to be an eight-time world champion. So I’m pretty sure he’s totally focused on these objectives.”

(AP)

Ben Burrows8 February 2022 12:45

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F1 remove pre-race taking of the knee

Hamilton, the sport’s sole black driver, has been outspoken on the importance of taking a knee in the fight for equality

It is understood that the 37-year-old – who all but confirmed he will return to the grid after recently ending his social media silence following last year’s controversial decider in Abu Dhabi – will still be allowed to kneel at another stage before the start of the race, possibly by his car.

Hamilton was a driving force in persuading Mercedes to paint his car black in a powerful anti-racism stance.

But it is anticipated that the eight-time constructors’ champions will revert to its traditional silver colors in 2022.

Ben Burrows8 February 2022 12:23

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F1 remove pre-race taking of the knee

Lewis Hamilton will stop taking a knee at the front of the grid after Formula One bosses revealed they are removing the gesture.

Hamilton – and a number of his fellow drivers – have knelt ahead of every race for the past two seasons in a show of solidarity against racism.

But F1 is set to pull the allocated slot from its pre-race schedule for the new season which starts in Bahrain next month.

The sport has instead vowed to build on the impact of the gesture – announcing on Tuesday that it will extend its funding commitment to the Formula One Engineering Scholarship program for underrepresented groups until 2025 – and will carry on screening an anti-racism message ahead of every race.

F1’s ‘We Race As One’ branding will also be visible at each round.

“The [knee] gesture was important for the ones that believed that was an important gesture, because we need to respect everyone,” F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali told Sky Sports.

“But now is the time to move on and take some other action. The action is the focus on the diversity of our community, and this is the first step.”

(Getty Images)

Ben Burrows8 February 2022 12:02

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