2022’s F1 season in review

Driver of the year: Max Verstappen

The 25-year-old Red Bull racer was the undisputed star of the year, winning an unprecedented 15 grands prix from 22 rounds. He won two out of three sprint races, took pole position seven times, scored the fastest lap five times, and beat Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to the world title by 146 points–with four races to spare.

Team of the year: Red Bull Racing

Despite some struggles in the accounting department Red Bull romped home with 17 victories, five of which were one-twos.

A tough start with two DNFs in Bahrain and defeats by Ferrari suggested the Milton Keynes team might be in for a bad year, but once the races returned to Europe, they were unstoppable, placing on the podium in every race except Bahrain and Sao Paulo, and only losing once after France.

Most improved team: Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo came second to last with just 13 points in 2021. This year they placed sixth out of ten with 55 points, and Valeri Bottas’s P5 in qualifying in Miami was a particular highlight. The team will be rebranding to Audi in 2026 and should benefit from that manufacturer’s impressive track record.

Biggest disappointment: Ferrari

Ferrari failed to deliver on its early promise this year, and things may get worse rather than better for the Italian team with the resignation of team principal Mattia Binotto. Binotto took the fall for an unfortunate season in which Ferrari had the fastest car but was constantly stymied by driver errors, power-unit failures, and pitstop and tyre issues.

Biggest crash: Zhou Guanyu, Silverstone

Halo cockpit protection saved its fourth life at the British Grand Prix as Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was hit by George Russell’s Mercedes, flipped over, bounced across the gravel trap, and somersaulted over the barrier. Both Zhou and the spectators escaped completely unhurt.

Most surprising pole position: Kevin Magnussen, São Paulo

Ditched by Haas in 2021, Kevin Magnussen was called up at the last minute to replace Nikita Mazepin and stunned everyone by taking pole position in a brilliant lap, helped by a red flag but somehow not impeded by dubious conditions or the equally dubious quality of his car.

Biggest controversy: Red Bull’s overspend

Red Bull overshot the newly introduced £114 million budget cap for F1 teams, reportedly by £1.8m. Despite the team’s claims that this was mostly spent on lavish catering, Red Bull has gone suspiciously big on car development this season. The team has been fined £5.8m and lost 10% of its wind tunnel allowance for next year.

Hardest goodbye: Sebastian Vettel

Four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel, the fourth most successful F1 driver of all time, is retiring at age 35 to spend more time with his family. He will be missed both by F1 and by his many fans.