Behind the fight for the Monaco GP win between Ferrari and Red Bull, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso held off Mercedes driver Hamilton for seventh. Hamilton became increasingly impatient at not being able to get past Alonso, whose slow pace meant they finished over half a minute behind sixth place.
Alonso quipped “that’s not my problem” about Hamilton’s annoyance as he explained the reason behind his puzzling late-race pace.
The controversial finish to the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, instigated by race director Michael Masi not following rules by allowing several cars to unlap themselves and setting up a last-lap battle between title rivals Hamilton and Verstappen, drew the ire of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff straight away. It remained a topic of discussion well into 2022 as the FIA revealed the findings of its investigation and made sweeping changes in the hope of preventing a repeat.
While Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was consistent in his defence of Verstappen’s success, he did eventually concede Masi had got it wrong.
At the Canadian Grand Prix, George Russell experienced something new in his F1 career: being booed by spectators.
Russell’s response was saying such behaviour “needs to be stamped out”, and that it was taking “a bit of readjusting” receiving negative attention at grands prix since his move to Mercedes at the start of the year.
Three different F2 drivers picked up bans during the course of 2022 for reaching 12 penalty points on their licences. Two of them were left cursing track limit violations which contributed to their totals.
In the feature race of the season at Bahrain, Olli Caldwell exceeded track limits six times and as a result copped several time penalties, a drive-through penalty and then seven penalty points post-race.
For the same scale of violation at Imola, Amaury Cordeel was handed five penalty points. He managed to accumulate a further seven points by round six, earning him an automatic race ban for the next event.
Later in the season Roy Nissany joined the pair in copping a ban, largely for penalties arising from incidents with other drivers.
Candid quotes caught on camera
Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo were both caught revealing some interesting details in candidly-caught clips this season.
In the media pen at the Austrian Grand Prix, Hamilton was heard talking privately to Leclerc about their victory battle in the previous race at Silverstone. “I don’t want to just clip you and send you off,” Hamilton said in reference to an around the outside pass by Leclerc at Copse – an intriguing admission given his clash with Verstappen at the same corner 12 months earlier.
Meanwhile at the Dutch Grand Prix, 11 days after his early exit from McLaren had been announced, Ricciardo let slip his future plans to Perez. He was caught saying he’ll “take a year off, come back in 2024” in a clip that was then shared to social media. Weeks later, those very plans were officially announced.
IndyCar’s top dog
Norman Pagenaud is one of the personalities of the IndyCar paddock, although he’s not a human. The dog of 2016 champion Simon Pagenaud has a social media following and is so widely respected that he can stroll into the hospitality units of other teams in addition to the Meyer Shank Racing squad his owner drives for.
At the Gateway oval, the four-legged celebrity even attended the autograph session usually only for drivers.
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
Ferrari’s tear-off suspicions
Leclerc was forced to make an early pit stop during the Belgian Grand Prix when his front-right brake duct ingested a visor tear-off and it started to overheat.
Ferrari put blame on Verstappen, who had removed a tear-off on lap one of the race while running just in front of Leclerc as they made their way up the order. The pit stop meant Leclerc could finish no higher than sixth from 15th on the grid, while Verstappen won the race after starting 14th.
However later analysis of the video suggested the errant tear-off likely came from another driver, most probably Lance Stroll.
Screen stops play in IndyCar
While grandstands are the main method for spectators to watch racing at a track, large video screens showing the rest of the lap are also key to the fan experience. At the Grand Prix of Portland, a fault with one of those screens brought a practice session to a halt as it had started to tilt over and became a potential safety hazard.
Tsunoda falls foul of relaxed rule
Before the season began F1 increased the number of reprimands which trigger an automatic grid penalty from three to five. But AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda still managed to tip the balance, taking his fifth reprimand by driving with loosened seatbelts in the Dutch Grand Prix.
As it was his fifth reprimand of the season, it copped him a 10-place grid penalty for the Italian Grand Prix. Tsunoda reached Q2 in Italy but didn’t take part as he also had a three-place grid penalty for failing to slow for yellow flags and then further grid penalties for changing power unit elements.
Grid confusion at Monza
Tsunoda was one of nine drivers to be handed grid penalties at Monza. This left some of the drivers confused about where they would be starting – at least two of them expected to line up seventh – and eventually led the FIA to issue new guidance on how the starting order is drawn up.
Only one of the penalised drivers actually served their penalty in full, in a rather unusual situation. Check the story below for the full explanation of how the grid was decided.
Points confusion at Suzuka
Two race weekends later there was even more confusion about the implementation of the rules governing F1’s points system when the Japanese Grand Prix only ran to 28 of its scheduled 53 laps.
New-for-2022 rules meant the winner could earn no more than 19 points for victory if a race ran less than 75% of its intended distance, but this clause wasn’t invoked wasn’t applied as intended in Japan. The situation was further clouded by a post-race penalty for Verstappen’s championship rival Leclerc. After much to-ing and fro-ing, Verstappen was eventually persuaded he had done enough to win the title due to the race finishing with a chequered flag rather than a red one.
- Red Bull call decision to award full points for Japanese GP a “mistake”
Packed paddock causes problems
It usually costs a lot to be in the F1 paddock if you’re not one of its working members, and with access to an active work space also comes responsibility. But the excitement of being in the beating heart of the F1 world can lead some to making irresponsible actions, which was becoming a source of frustration for drivers by the time of the Mexican Grand Prix, as Pierre Gasly and others explained.
Another E-Prix cancelled
Formula E should have made its return to Canada this year. Its 2016-17 season ended in Montreal but local opposition preventing further races there and the 2022 season was due to include a race in Vancouver on part of a former IndyCar track.
However the event promoters and the city council didn’t see eye-to-eye, and the race was postponed to the 2023 season before being cancelled entirely. Documents later came to light highlighting how much of an organisational mess the proposed Vancouver E-Prix had been.
Domenicali sparks rumours of ‘Caribbean’ race
In January, Colombian president expressed support for the mayor of Barranquilla Jaime Pumarejo’s desires to build an FIA Grade 1 circuit in the port town. In August, FIA president Muhammed ben Sulayem is quoted on the topic of Colombia hosting an F1 race, then a month later the Barranquilla mayor claims he’s already in talks with F1. The series’ president Stefano Domenicali later visited the town and speculation began to mount around a possible ‘Caribbean Grand Prix’ in the future.
But even with China being dropped from the 2023 F1 calendar, don’t expect a Colombian race to take its place.
New names for junior championships
Continuity isn’t always the best way to create brand recognition, according to these series:
- Indy Pro 2000: announced in October it will become USF Pro 2000 for 2023. Its initialism of USFP2000 is very similar to USF2000, the series that feeds into it. At the same time, the ‘Road to Indy’ bill that both series run on shed its branding and became the ‘USF Pro Championships’ despite being the road to Indy for most drivers.
- Indy Lights: Three weeks later, it did something similar. The series above USFP2000, having ‘departed’ the Road to Indy line-up of series for 2022, changed its name to Indy Nxt for 2023. Although the series styles it as ‘INDY NXT’, the new name is actually a stylisation of the word ‘next’ rather than an acronym
- Formula Regional Asian Championship: Next up was FRAC, which has raced exclusively in the United Arab Emirates since 2021. It decided it will relaunch as Formula Regional Middle East next season as it has two rounds in Kuwait. In its announcement, it said that FRAC will continue to exist and return to racing in South East Asia and China once it is safe to do so.
- Toyota Racing Series: A month before the start of its 2023 season, the iconic TRS changed name to Formula Regional Oceania and received a boost in superlicence points value from the FIA off the back of it. But it remains a national rather than international series, racing exclusively in New Zealand.
Bird-strike caps frustrating year for F2 runner-up
Theo Pourchaire may have finished second in F2 this year, with three feature race wins, but he only scored five points in the final eight races. His season came to end with another luckless blow: He failed to see the chequered flag for a fifth time in 2022 when, for a second time in three race weekends, he struck a bird on the track at speed in the final race of the season. The damage to the internals of his car forced him to retire.
The Sauber protege is now in limbo with his future after failing to win the title and earn himself an F1 seat.
Former F1 star Fisichella makes single-seater return
Giancarlo Fisichella, three-time grand prix winner and Ferrari GT star, ended a 13-year absence from single-seater racing by entering the Tasman Series finale on the Adelaide street circuit earlier this month.
The 49-year-old made his F1 debut the year Adelaide was replaced by Melbourne, so it marked his first time on the track. Fisichella had been set for his open-wheel return in a S5000 car at the 2020 Australian Grand Prix, before that event was cancelled mid-weekend, and so his Adelaide appearance was also his S5000 race debut. He claimed a best finish of fourth from the weekend’s four races.