The 2022 Formula One season is over — Red Bull took the championship but all 10 teams had at least one good thing to shout about, as well as moments which didn’t go to plan, across the season.
Here we look at the best and worst of every team’s season, in championship order.
1. Red Bull
What went right: Pretty much everything. Max Verstappen was on another level this year and looked as good as any dominant champion in F1’s recent history, winning a record 15 of the team’s 17 victories. Verstappen’s ability to continually raise the bar was impressive and it is hard to argue against him being the best driver in F1 right now. With Verstappen on board the team’s future looks incredibly bright. The team operated at a top level too. Red Bull out-developed and out-strategised its rivals throughout the year and continually underlined the strength of the whole F1 operation – head of strategy Hannah Schmitz was one of the heroes of the team’s campaign. The world champions had to deal with engine supplier Honda officially withdrawing from F1, but later struck a deal to continue using one of the best power units in F1 until the end of 2025. Early reliability issues threatened the team’s championship challenge in the early weeks of the year but once the team was on top of those problems, it never looked back.
What went wrong: Optics and reputational damage. The team’s 2021 budget cap overspend cast a shadow over the achievement of winning both F1 titles for the first time since 2013. Red Bull was hit with a $7 million fine and will lose 10 percent of its aerodynamic testing allowance next year. Red Bull was already due to have the lowest allocation of any team, having won the championship, raising the possibility it could struggle to keep pace with the development of Ferrari and Mercedes next year. Then there was Brazil, where Verstappen refused a simple request to help his dutiful teammate Sergio Perez in his bid to finish second in the drivers’ championship. It made Verstappen look petulant and disrespectful and, worst of all, made the team look powerless to control their superstar driver. Red Bull took the blame, but the damage was done. Team harmony is now a big question-mark and the whole saga may set up an interesting situation if Verstappen needs Perez’s help in a tighter championship fight next season.
What went right: Returning to the front. Ferrari’s car was the cream of the crop in winter testing and started with two Charles Leclerc wins from three races early on. The team had clearly made good decisions in the preceding year in terms of car design, after two years woefully off the pace following its private settlement with the FIA for running an illegal engine in 2019. Building a more competitive car than the all-conquering Mercedes outfit was a feather in the cap and it did manage to secure second in the championship. Although the season did not end with the championship win many had hoped, Ferrari has set a good baseline for future seasons and is not as far from contention as in previous years.
What went wrong: Strategy, car reliability, driver errors — the list is long. Not long after those two early wins, Ferrari’s season imploded. The team made many baffling strategy calls and its radio communications with drivers became a source of comedy at the end of the season, with Leclerc especially sounding fed up with things at recent events. Team boss Mattia Binotto infamously declared there was no reason the team couldn’t win the final 10 races of the season, only for the team not to win any of them. Binotto’s job appears to be hanging by a thread now and it is clear big changes are needed if Ferrari wants to be a champion any time soon. The team cannot shoulder all the blame, though. Leclerc and Carlos Sainz made their fair share of mistakes at big moments which only worsened the team’s woes through the year.
What went right: The team’s driver pairing and emergence of George Russell. Valtteri Bottas’ performances were a weak point of the team in previous years but with Russell at the helm alongside Lewis Hamilton, the team has two superstar drivers. Mercedes quite comfortably has the best driver lineup on the grid right now. Russell lived up to all expectations and beat Hamilton’s points haul over a season — only the third teammate to do that in 16 years. He scored a memorable first win in Brazil, the team’s only victory. Hamilton started slowly but was back to his best by midseason and it is clear the fire is burning within him as much as ever. If Mercedes can build a title-worthy car and avoid internal conflict, it will be a formidable pairing for any team to beat.
What went wrong: The car. Mercedes’ championship challenge seemed over before the season had even started. The W13 featured a radical concept, different to any other car on the grid, and it immediately created problems for the team. The car was known for how it bounced at high speeds earlier in the year – a phenomenon known as porpoising. It meant Mercedes started on the back foot, which was a fall from grace after eight seasons at the front of the pack. The team managed to solve early problems and developed well over the year, but it was never a legitimate contender for the title. Toto Wolff has vowed to put the troublesome car in the reception of the team’s two factories next season to remind employees how difficult it is to win in Formula One.
What went right: Beating McLaren to fourth. Realistically, this was the best the French team could hope for this year, with F1’s top three clearly a step ahead of the rest. Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso were two of 2022’s in-form drivers and there were only three races Alpine failed to score a point at. With a lot of questions about the long-term vision of the Renault factory outfit, this result was a sign that, whatever might be going wrong behind the scenes, the team is at least on a good path in terms of its car.
What went wrong: Team management and reliability. It was a bad look for the French team to lose Alonso and Oscar Piastri to rival teams in the space of a week. The handling of mega-talented junior driver Piastri, for so long considered the future of the team, was farcical, while Alonso was happy to take a step down the grid to Aston Martin after Alpine dithered on his contract extension. It seems the in-fighting and mismanagement which has plagued the Renault operation since it returned to F1 in 2016 has not gone away. Although it finished fourth, Alonso regularly called out the team’s spotty reliability record and it will need to get on top of this if it wants to continue an upward trajectory without the Spaniard at the helm.
What went right: Lando Norris. McLaren extended Norris’ F1 contract until 2025 at the start of the season. It will be money well spent. By finishing ‘best of the rest’, a term Norris said he does not actually like, the British driver was one of the year’s standout performers and the only driver outside of the top three teams to score a podium, which he did at Imola. Norris is one of the best long-term prospects in F1 right now. He did not win a race but, unlike his missed opportunity in Sochi last year, McLaren was never in the mix for victory. When Norris gets a competitive car there can be little doubt he will be a contender for victories and championships in future.
What went wrong: Daniel Ricciardo and a car stranded in the midfield. While Norris excelled in one car, Ricciardo floundered in the other, scoring a staggering 82 fewer points than his teammate. CEO Zak Brown cut the Australian’s deal short one year early, a decision understandable in the context of Ricciardo’s results since joining McLaren in 2021. Ricciardo wasn’t the only concern. McLaren came into the season hoping to make the top three a pack of four teams, but it seemed further away from the front this year and never came close to challenging for a win. There has been progress under Brown but this famous F1 team might be stuck in the midfield for a little while yet. The longer that wait goes on, the harder it will be to convince Norris to stay.
6. Alfa Romeo
What went right: Audi, Valtteri Bottas and finishing sixth. Bottas was a superb signing by the Swiss team and the Finn was at the center of the Hinwil operation’s best championship result since finishing sixth as Sauber in 2012. Bottas scored 49 of the teams 55 points, showing how valuable that kind of experience can be to a midfield team with a competitive car. Rookie driver Zhou Guanyu is unpolished but may have the talent to stay in F1 for a while if he can show progress next year. On top of everything else, Alfa Romeo secured a huge partnership with German manufacturing giants Audi for 2026, which will be a huge boost for the future of a team that has won just one race in its 26 years on the F1 grid. Good times await.
What went wrong: Reliability. Despite the strong result, Alfa had one of the worst reliability records on the grid. During the European rounds Alfa’s cars seemed to hit an issue every weekend and that surely left a huge haul of points on the table across the season. Over the final 12 races the team added just four points to its tally and ended up tied on 55 with Aston Martin. Bottas’ fifth-place finish at Imola —- which neither Aston driver could match – won a tiebreaker, but it shows you how costly those issues might have been. The two cars’ starts were also terrible all year, something the drivers put down to clutch issues.
7. Aston Martin
What went right: Convincing Alonso to join the project. Alonso is exactly the kind of driver Aston Martin needs to achieve Lawrence Stroll’s lofty ambitions of running at the front of the grid in a few years. Stroll has shown he is willing to spend big to achieve his goals and this was an indication of how serious he is. Alonso, who joins on a three-year deal, has no issues publicly calling out a team for poor performances or reliability and he might be the driving force the team needs internally to move up the order. He remains one of F1’s most talented drivers and, as long as Aston Martin can manage his ego the right way, Alonso will be a huge boost to the team going forward. It is clear he is as fired up as ever, which is always as good thing.
What went wrong: A lack of competitiveness. Aston Martin’s car is still a long way from looking like one that can challenge for anything meaningful in F1. Stroll has invested heavily in a new factory opposite the Silverstone circuit but it is only just coming online and was completed too late to have an impact on the 2022 campaign. The most worrying thing this year will be how far behind the Alpine/McLaren battle Aston Martin found itself, with Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll often fighting at the lower end of the order in qualifying and races. Aston Martin is a long way away from proving it is a team moving in the right direction.
What went right: The return of Kevin Magnussen and a new title sponsor. The team’s future seemed uncertain when it cut ties with Uralkali at the start of the year, but it bounced back superbly. K-Mag’s return was a great sporting comeback story and showed why the team is now going for the experienced Nico Hulkenberg over the error-prone Mick Schumacher – experience is key. Magnussen scored the bulk of Haas’ points at the start of the season and that proved vital in finishing ahead of AlphaTauri for eighth in the championship. Ahead of the U.S. Grand Prix, Haas confirmed the arrival of MoneyGram as title sponsor, which team boss Guenther Steiner said will allow the team to spend at the top end of the cost cap. The team will hopefully be able to turn its attentions to a return to the midfield pack in future years.
What went wrong: Money and Mick. In the period between Uralkali and MoneyGram, it was clear how strapped for cash Haas was this year. The team had to delay a planned upgrade midway through the year and it slipped down the order as other teams developed their cars. Haas’ cause was not helped by Schumacher’s expensive crashes in the opening races, which left them worried about running out of spare parts at some races. Schumacher showed glimpses of form after that but ultimately not enough to keep his job. Although MoneyGram is a boost, Haas lost ground to several midfield rivals in the spell without a title partner in a crucial year in this new generation of cars – the first year sets the baseline for what is to come.
What went right: Not a lot. The team managed to snag the talented Nyck de Vries as a replacement to the outgoing Pierre Gasly, which was a good bit of business. However, that was arguably better news for Gasly, as he finally got a move back up the grid, and for Red Bull as a whole, finding a suitable replacement for its driver programme. It says a lot about AlphaTauri’s season that it is difficult to write much more here. In terms of its finishing position, this was the team’s worst season in F1 for a long time.
What went wrong: Pretty much everything. In the three years before 2022, AlphaTauri finished sixth, seventh and sixth, so this season was a backwards step. Considering the fact its parent team dominated F1 in 2022, it was puzzling to see the Faenza squad as uncompetitive as it was. Reliability, especially, was a big problem throughout the season – Gasly climbing out of a burning car in practice for the opening race was a sign of things to come. The French driver has been the team’s superstar since he dropped back down from Red Bull in 2018 and his heroics might be missed next year. The jury is still out on Yuki Tsunoda, who shows flashes of real talent every so often but going into his third year seems far from the finished product Red Bull and AlphaTauri want him to be.
What went right: Alex Albon. No-one in F1 thought the Thai driver deserved to leave the sport after 2020 and his return was a feel-good story – and, crucially for Williams, he showed why he belonged in F1 this year. Albon was a smart choice to fill the void left by Russell’s departure to Mercedes. Albon is a mega talent and for whatever reason things just didn’t work out for him at Red Bull, but it is clear how much he is thriving outside the huge pressure of that environment. He also seems a great fit for a Williams team that is renowned for getting the best out of young drivers. If the car makes steps forward next season, Albon is the kind of driver who can get the most out of it.
What went wrong: Finishing last, again. After three straight years finishing last, the team rose to eighth last season, spurred on by some magnificent Russell results, but dropped to the bottom of the order again this year. Williams routinely struggled to get out of Q1 and has an enormous amount of work to do if it is to even move a place or two up the order. Nicholas Latifi struggled again and De Vries’ drive to ninth in Monza (as Albon’s stand-in) suggested the team might have fared better with more talent behind the wheel of its second car in recent seasons. Latifi is on the way out, but there are some concerns in the paddock American driver Logan Sargeant has been promoted too early in his development. Time will tell.
This article was originally published here post