The 2022 season of Formula 1 is now on its summer break, signaling the halfway mark of the year. There have been many ups and downs throughout the season, making it one of the most unpredictable yet.
With the championship battle ongoing, we’re looking into the red and green flags of the top three contenders: Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes.
Who do you think can overcome the odds and take the championship this year?
Red Flag: Reliability issues
Red Bull had a relatively tough start to the season. Both cars retired in the first Grand Prix of 2022, and driver Max Verstappen suffered two DNFs in the first three races, allowing Ferrari to overtake and secure the lead.
At one point, Charles Leclerc had already pulled away in the championship by 46 points from the reigning World Champion.
The team’s reliability issues were at play in the first few races. In Bahrain, a fuel pump issue caused the double retirement. AlphaTauri, who share similar mechanics, has also suffered from battery issues.
But, the team bounced back straight away.
Green Flag: Strategies
Ever since the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in April, Red Bull has won eight out of the last ten races, allowing the team to overtake Ferrari in both driver and constructor standings.
Although they have not seemed to steer clear of the reliability issues that crippled them in the first three races (as the team suffered from power unit issues in the Hungarian Grand Prix), they manage to get themselves out of trouble when they can.
In last night’s Grand Prix, Max won the race from 10th place thanks to his stellar driving, and of course, their tire strategies.
The team has proven time and time again that its strategies may be the best in the sport. However, with technical issues still up in the air, the reliability of the car and the predictability of race wins, have yet to play out.
Red Flag: Strategies
What Red Bull has in the bag, Ferrari has yet to perfect—their strategies.
The team has speed, as shown by their eight pole positions. But, they only have four race wins to show for it. And their strategies have been questioned multiple times over.
For example, in the French Grand Prix, the team called for Carlos Sainz to come into the pit while he was in the middle of overtaking Sergio Perez. He wasn’t too obedient to the order.
In the Hungarian Grand Prix, fans and pundits wondered why Ferrari put Charles Leclerc’s car on the hard tires when many knew that the hard compounds weren’t performing well. As a result, Charles was a sitting duck on the track, allowing driver after driver to overtake without the grip to defend.
Although Ferrari’s strategies aren’t always bad (sometimes they even work out well), they will need more consistency if they want to take back the championship lead.
Green Flag: Speed
If Ferrari is able to improve its strategies, their speedy cars may actually garner more championships. As we mentioned, the team does well in the qualifying sessions, taking pole position eight times already. And, as shown in the video of Carlos’ overtake on Sergio, it’s clear that Ferrari has that competitive pace.
In addition, Charles Leclerc, leading the team in pole positions, has also shown how fast the car can go with his overtakes against the reigning champion.
If Ferrari is relying on anything this season, it’s the speed of their cars. But in F1, that edge can only take you so far.
Red Flag: Speed
While the Mercedes is not exactly slow, it also isn’t as competitive as the two front-runners in the championship this year. Up until the last race, the Hungarian Grand Prix, neither of the Mercedes drivers have been able to qualify within the top three places in any race, showing a lack of pace relative to their dominant years in F1.
They have also been on the podium sporadically, though getting close at times within the first five races.
- Bahrain: 3rd
- Saudi Arabia: 10th
- Australia: 4th
- Emilia Romagna: 13th
- Miami: 6th
- Bahrain: 4th
- Saudi Arabia: 5th
- Australia: 3rd
- Emilia Romagna: 4th
- Miami: 5th
But, their green flag may have an answer for their relative lack of pace.
Green Flag: Upwards trajectory
While they started the season behind the Ferraris and the Red Bulls, they are steadily making their way into the mix. Ever since Baki, neither of the Mercedes drivers have finished below fourth position (save for Russell’s DNF in Silverstone).
And they have been getting onto the podium more consistently. In the Hungarian Grand Prix, they even celebrated George’s first pole position and a double podium.
Now that they seem to have found their groove, they may be more competitive for podiums and wins. But, because of their lack of speed and inconsistency prior, they will have plenty of catching up to do.
Which F1 team has your bet?