It’s finally Rawe ceek and with that, the ends the yearn for the wheel to wheel racing for the highest quality. Before we dive into the 2022 F1 season we thought of ranking F1 teams based on their performance in testing and the overall race preparedness. So here we have it.
Williams has been on a somewhat decent run after Claire Williams’s exclusion from the team. Last year, they finished 8th with 23 points ahead of Haas and Alfa Romeo. This year they are looking to move further up in the constructor’s championship with the FW 44 car.
All talk of competitiveness goes out for a toss when your car catches fire.
The car or rather the rear brake duct caught fire on Friday with Nicholas Latifi at the wheel.
The CEO of Williams Jost Capito said that the issue was “too stupid to talk about” pointing out a mistake by the team. Even without the fire though, the Williams FW 44 has not shown anything to really make a case for improvement.
Williams with their brake duct fire and porpoising finishes last in our 2022 F1 ranking.
9. Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo has been the also-rans for quite some time now. It is one of those teams that often goes under the radar with no memorable races in the recent past. The C43 has although broken into the top 10 leaderboards in practice with Bottas at the helm, however, Alfa Romeo is known to do late runs on very low fuel. This makes their time not as appealing as others.
The biggest issue plaguing the Alfa Romeo is its reliability. The C43 is currently struggling with porpoising and other issues which force it to the lower end of Formula 1 rankings for 2022.
Alpine has looked similar to their 2021 season, i.e. they have looked very good at some points and painfully slow at others. It has also suffered greatly from porpoising which is currently the biggest challenge for the teams.
Although Alonso showed some really good pace towards the end of the practice, all of those runs were on the second softest compound and low fuel.
Alpine would be looking to fend off Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin in the middle of the pack this year.
7. Alfa Tauri
Alfa Tauri has also had issues with porpoising but has so far steered clear from major issues. They however do not look much confident from the car as evident from Pirre Gasly’s comments after the final day of practice when he said, “I Don’t really know where we stand in the midfield at the moment. We know we’re not gonna go for the championship this season.”
The practice runs of Alfa Tauri suggests that they would be fighting in the midfield with teams like Aston Martin, Alpine and Haas.
6. Aston Martin
Aston Martin has remained secretive of their plans in the testing. Their lap times have also not given any confidence to their fans.
Historically however they are known to run slower in practice and only give full beans in the races.
This was also evident from Vettel’s comments after the final day of practice when he said, “I think it’s a bit irreverent, the positions today. They don’t mean anything by next week.”
He also added, “yeah, overall I’m happy” which is a good sign for where they stand. Aston Martin would certainly come out as a strong midfield team in the 2022 F1 season.
Haas had already cut out the development of their 2021 car last season to focus on the 2022 car which is evident in their practise laps as well.
Just like everything in the world today, Haas ending a day with the fastest on the grid with Magnussen and ending testing as the second fastest after Red Bull does not make much sense!
After the expulsion of Nikita Mazepin from the team, Haas has gone back to Kevin Magnussen who has looked reassuringly comfortable in VF-22.
As he said in the interview after going the fastest, “I guess you can never say never“. The same can be said about their chances to end up in the midtable in 2022.
McLaren MCL 36 has looked like a quick car albeit a front brake problem that has plagued their practice sessions.
Ricciardo out with COVID is another issue that would certainly affect their races in the beginning as he has not got any practice in the car. Maclaren have also done the fewest number of laps in the practice.
On the bright side, however, they have been the least affected by porpoising which certainly puts them ahead of many teams, to begin with.
Speaking about the little battle Pierre had with Hamilton in practice he said, “I was kind of surprised with the battle with Lewis, I think the conclusion is that Mercedes probably don’t look as good as they were in the past.”
This tells us all about their preparation this year. The Mercedes W13 has had issues with extreme porpoising which had also made the car difficult to handle. They have also tried two different side pod designs which point to confusion and unpreparedness for the first race.
They could also be sandbagging which is often the case with Mercedes. Even last year they seemed slow in practice but won the first race which is why their practice speed should be taken with a pinch of salt.
One thing however is cerian, they are not going to be the runaway leaders like the season of yesteryears.
Ferrari have looked like a totally different team this year. The biggest improvement has been in their car. The new F1-75 has impressed throughout the practice with good speed and reliability. They have also successfully controlled the porpoising that affected Leclerc’s car in the first practice.
Personally, I am so impressed by Ferrari that I have predicted Charles Leclerc to win the F1 2022 Driver’s Championship in another post.
Talking to the media after the final day of practice, Sainz said, “reliability is the priority number 1 and it has allowed us to complete all of our test programs and arrive at the first race, as ready as we can be”.
1. Red Bull
Red Bull look like the most prepared team out of all of F1. Max’s posting the fastest lap time on the final day of testing proves this point further.
The Red Bull RB 18 has looked reliable and fast, two things that are of the utmost importance for Formula 1 races. When asked if that was the “full beans” after his fastest lap time Max said, “No one gives full beans or goes to qualifying spec at testing, so we can’t read too much into the timing screens.”
All in all, the Red Bull RB 18 looks like the best F1 car of 2022 and certainly the fastest out of all.
So there you have it. This is the list of Formula 1 teams in order of preparedness for the first race in Bahrain on Sunday, March 20.
Practice however is not a true representation of the F1 car’s potential with many teams running on lower fuel to go faster as well as many (looking at you Mercedes)