The 2021 Formula 1 season has been one of the best in recent memory, with Max Verstappen snatching the title from Lewis Hamilton after a thrilling 22-race season.
After a break, the new season will come with a new breed of cars and a possible reshuffling of the order. It will be the longest in F1 history, with 23 rounds and six sprint qualifying races. The 23-race F1 campaign kicks off in Bahrain on Sunday, March 20
The new 2022 cars will run in anger for the first time runs for three days, from Wednesday February 23 until Friday February 25 at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya.
Then, there will be a two-week break before the second three-day test, which will be held from Friday, March 11 to Sunday, March 13 at the Sakhir International Circuit in Bahrain.
When is the first race?
The 2022 F1 season kicks off in Bahrain on Sunday, March 20, though the first practice session will be on Friday, March 18, and qualifying runs on Saturday, March 19.
Brand new cars
This season sees a new era of Formula 1 ushered in with all-new car designs due to new regulations aimed at improving the racing spectacle.
The features include a focus on ground effect 18-inch tyres, plus a redesigned front wing and nose, mean that the cars should be able to race closer to each other – with the potential for more passing on-track too.
The cars are also safer, use a higher ratio of sustainable fuel and should look dramatically different to previous years.
That epic title fight will take place over 23 races – the longest F1 campaign yet – in 2022. Favourite venues such as Suzuka, Montreal, Melbourne and Singapore are earmarked to return while we have the debut Miami Grand Prix (more below) in May.
Sprint qualifying races
The six sprint races are planned at the following rounds:
Round 1, Bahrain
Round 4, Imola
Round 9, Canada
Round 11, Austria
Round 15, Holland
Round 22, Brazil
Points will be awarded again, possibly more than the 3-2-1 set up for first, second and third that we had last year but who is declared the pole winner is to be decided.
The driver line-ups
The only rookie is Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou, who becomes the first driver from China to race in F1.
Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton (44) and George Russell (63)
Red Bull: Max Verstappen (33) and Sergio Pérez (11)
Ferrari: Carlos Sainz (55) and Charles Leclerc (55)
McLaren: Lando Norris (4) and Daniel Ricciardo (3)
Alpine: Fernando Alonso (14) and Esteban Ocon (31)
AlphaTauri: Pierre Gasly (10) and Yuki Tsunoda (22)
Aston Martin: Sebastian Vettel (5) and Lance Stroll (18)
Williams: Nicholas Latifi (6) and Alexander Albon (23)