2022 season literally roars into life


Mercedes has the honour of being the first to fire-up its 2022 contender, while Haas has passed the mandatory crash test.

The German team, still smarting from missing out on the drivers' title for the first time since the hybrid formula was introduced in 2014, is seeking to make amends in 2022, despite a rules overhaul intended to level the playing field.

Just over a week after the Yas Marina nightmare, the German team fired up the ominously designated W13, overseen by members of the team and a grinning Toto Wolff, who shared the moment via video link to his mobile phone (right).

In all reality, little is learned from the fire-ups and there are certainly no clues given away in terms of how the W13 might look when the covers are pulled back presumably in February.

However, as well as giving fans something to look forward to, the fire-up sends a clear message to team members and rivals that the 2022 title battle is just around the corner and the champions are (almost) ready and fighting fit.

The first test gets underway on 23 February at Barcelona, though if the German team follows its usual policy it will be shaken down by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell hours after it is unveiled at Silverstone.

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Meanwhile, Haas, which enjoyed its worst season since entering the sport, is the first team to pass the mandatory crash test.

Having opted not to develop this year's car, which was essentially the 2020 car, Haas was among the first to focus entirely on its 2022 contender, which no doubt explains how the American team was able to claim pole position in terms of the tests.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi, team boss, Guenther Steiner had admitted that he was hopeful the car would pass the crash test before the Christmas holiday, and taking to social medias the American outfit confirmed an early present from Santa.

"We've done some preliminary crash tests because you don't do the chassis complete straight away, you do a part of it," said Steiner. "Hopefully we pass it, that is the aim.

"The car will be assembled before the first test and this year we assemble it again in Italy, like we did before," he added, referring to the Dallara factory.

"We didn't do that last year because it was an existing car. It was the car from 2020 which we just rebuilt that changed a few parts, but we are going to assemble it again in Italy, because all the technical people are there and a lot of the parts are made by Dallara. So it's better to be in their facility when we assemble the first car, and then from there we take it to Spain."

The only team to fail to score a single point this season, Steiner warned fans not to expect a major leap forward next season, emphasising the fact that Haas remains the F1 grid's true minnow.

"I think we will be still the underdog, which is trying to punch above its weight," he admitted, "because our structure is exactly the same like it was in 2018, '19.

"We changed a little bit," he continued, "instead of using Dallara people now we've got our own people and some people from Ferrari, which were moved from there, because of the budget cap. But we are still the smallest team.

"I think people wise, production wise obviously we are by far the smallest, so I think we're still the team we were in 2018. And we want to get back to 2016, '17, '18, '19, whatever you want to call it. We still want to be known to be that."

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Published: 24/12/2021
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