With the French Grand Prix inching closer this weekend in the high temperatures in the south of the country, it marks the halfway point of what could be an interesting 2022 Formula One season. At this point, it has not been a domination by one team, but two, with a third improving, but not even challenging.
However, because of the pandemic, the new car set-ups for this season have made a lot of controversy, especially with one word that has stood out: Porpoising.
This bouncing up and down of the cars when going at high speeds, has caused troubles going down the straights, affecting Mercedes more than any other teams. And because of this, the Brackley, England, group has not, at least at this point, won one grand prix, the first time this has happened since 2011.
But since this season has started, it has been the defending champions from Red Bull and a surprising team from Ferrari, who came with a car quickly out of the box, winning the opener in Bahrain with Charles Leclerc, before Max Verstappen, defending his title, won the next round in Saudi Arabia. Leclerc responded with taking Australia as Verstappen came back winning the first round in Europe at the Emilia Romagna at Imola.
But when the competition came around in Miami, Florida, things began to change for the Scuderia. Problems began to arise, and both Leclerc and his teammate, Carlos Sainz Jr, began to not finish races. Spain went to Verstappen again, and then his teammate Sergio Perez began to improve by taking Monaco. Verstappen answered by winning in Canada and at Azerbaijan, with the Ferraris finally recovering in Great Britain with a long-awaited victory by Sainz Jr, followed by another hard-earned win for Leclerc at Red Bull’s home race in Austria.
At this point begins the rumours, which will go on for the rest of the season of the famous “Silly Season” of who will go and where for next year. It could take another month, especially when the three-week summer break will suggest that some, if not most of the deals will be finalised.
The team with the highest rumour is Alpine, which will have to decide if Fernando Alonso will stay for one or two years. He could remain with Esteban Ocon, who has a contract for another two seasons or waiting in the wings is Australian Oscar Piastri, who is the tester for the team. If Alonso moves on, Piastri is sure to replace him. But if the Spaniard stays, Alpine will have to fit Piastri into another team, which could be Williams or even a crazy thought of taking over the McLaren spot for Daniel Ricciardo.
But it seems that Ricciardo will remain for another season, despite many news reports that his performances will change the team’s minds to replace him. For the rest of the grid, many drivers should return for another year, with still some negotiations going on for Sebastian Vettel, Yuki Tsunoda, Zhou Guanyu and Nicholas Latifi.
This weekend’s race is normally very warm for the drivers, but with the recent heatwave going on, especially in the southern part of Europe where the race will be held, expects a lot of tough driving. The tarmac is hot enough during the race anywhere, but the temperatures will make it tougher, with the tyres becoming the danger for the teams. It will be the strategy that will win for this weekend.
Hungary, a three-week break, Belgium, and Italy follows what will wrap up the European version of the world championship in mid-September. Appearances in North America, South America and finally, the Middle East follow. As much controversy surrounding the last race in Austria, the sport needs to make certain that this year will conclude with things working better and having an exciting finish to the season.