3 Red Flags for Formula 1 To Avoid in the 2022 Season

Published 01/02/2022, 7:37 AM EST
Formula One F1- Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – December 4, 2021 General view as the cars exit the pit lane during qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace


As much as fans love Formula 1, the sport is far from perfect. There is much to appreciate about the sport: the sound of the cars zooming past, the banter during press conferences, and obviously, the on-track battles. Yet, 2021 is a testimony to the fact that there are certain aspects of the sport that need a fixer-upper. And what better time to look at mendable flaws, than ahead of the new year?

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In a season filled with controversy, much has stemmed from the foundations of the sport. Thus, as with all relationships in life, Formula 1 has its own red flags, something that needs to go away with the onset of a new era.

Radio messages with team principals

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Albeit a running source of entertainment, the season highlighted how too much passion could also be a bad thing. In the heat of the season, we often heard both Wolff and Horner on the radio, lobbying for their drivers amid moments of strife.

After things climaxed to the ultimate drama of Abu Dhabi, Wolff and race director Michael Masi realized the need to filter out what is aired for fans to watch. The Mercedes honcho said, “There is so much going on on the intercom that giving fans a little bit of an overview of all the little dramas that happen, like is the car breaking down, are we having some kind of strategy discussions, was meant well. But I think we overshot.”

As crucial decisions are being made in the heat of the moment, having two angry bosses shout into your ears does no good. Further, it paints a grim picture of the sport. Thus, to erase the drama and the possibility of swaying a decision, team principals should avoid talking to the director during the race.

Lack of distinct rules in Formula 1

Throughout the season, there have been moments where the stewards have turned a blind eye to a driver; in similar situations later on, they had penalized someone else. Further, the grand finale and the infamous decision to let a select few overtake the safety car for the final lap begs the question: What can and cannot be done on the racetrack?

Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 24, 2021. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the race. REUTERS/Mike Blake.

With a good portion of the rulebook left in the gray area, much can be taken to interpretation. Thus, it’s important to outline the rules clearly; the tragedy Lewis Hamilton incurred could easily be someone else as well. Further, with new regulations this season, finding loopholes could also be very easy.

Who yields?

A common talking point this season was the protagonists coming in contact. Spain, Silverstone, Saudi Arabia, and more notably, Monza. With both of them out of the race, the question remains as to whose fault was it. Brushed off as a racing incident, without drawing a line when drivers have to back off, it could be easily crossed.

Once again, the rules surrounding this are vague. To put it simply, if two cars are alongside each other, either partially or fully, as the corner approaches, the leader must leave one car’s width on whichever side the other car is.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 12, 2021. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton crash out of the race REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini.

Although simple, it gets messy when the cars head into the corner. Even the car behind is obliged to racing room, but it is an unofficial guideline provided to the stewards rather than a regulation. According to the guideline, the car on the outside should yield even though it is ahead of the car on the inside.

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So, if the driver on the inside line has a part of his car alongside, the corner is his.

However, this once again gives room for controversy. What should be retained as regulation is the requirement to have a car’s width of distance. What should be removed is the requirement to allot blame to a driver once at the corner. Neither driver should be obliged to yield, and thus, allowing blame only impoverishes the sport.

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However, these are only a few of the pressing concerns of the sport. As F1 looks back on the season that was, despite its greatness, flawed; hopefully, 2022 will be a season of the lessons learned.

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Shreya Sanjeev

779 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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