F1 Today – 15/02/2022

F1 Today

Abu Dhabi inquiry will protect FIA integrity – Sulayem

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem is confident that the governing body’s planned structural changes to the way it runs Formula One will help preserve integrity and fairness in the sport.

The investigation into last years controversial title decider is set to be published in the coming days, with the governing body promising to publish the report in full as well as an action plan of changes is due to be announced imminently.

With fan backlash still at fever pitch over the events of last year’s season finale, when F1 race director Michael Masi selectively implemented the rules to engineer a final-lap shootout after a late safety car period, the outcome of the FIA’s investigation is viewed as critical for repairing the damage done to the organisation and F1.

Following Monday’s commission meeting Ben Sulayem wanted to take on board more feedback before committing to the changes. Its also believed that the role of Masi will change with him having more support and taking away power from him to make decisions by himself. Speaking to Sky Sports, Ben Sulayem expressed his belief that the FIA’s action will be robust and ensure that the sport can start the season in a better place.

He said, “We agreed on certain things, and the analysis is still going on, but it will come soon. But definitely, as we said, the integrity of the FIA will always be intact. I am elected to do that, but also to have a fair motorsport: that’s my duty. So, it was a very good meeting.”

“We went through a lot of important things for the season, so I expect a good F1 season. We can only go forward. This is important for the FIA, for the integrity of the FIA and for the sport. We can only improve the future.”

It’s expected that the structure of race control will change with the feeling of all involved being that Masi had too much on his plate, and was overwhelmed at times by external pressures from teams in crunch moments to effectively do his job.

The FIA may choose to revamp the structure so the race director has better support and more staff around him, potentially with Masi’s former duties being split across several people.


We will bring you analysis and reaction over the coming days, as soon as the report is published


Mercedes signs seven drivers to development programme

Mercedes have announced seven new signings including the first female to its young driver programme. Luna Fluxa is Mercedes’ newest signing and the German manufacturer’s first female driver to join the programme.

The Spaniard will compete in the OK-Junior karting class for 2022. Frederik Vesti remains in the programme after two seasons in Formula 3, however make the step up to F2with ART Grand Prix. While Andrea Kimi Antonelli makes the move up to single-seaters with Prema in Italian F4 after joining Mercedes in 2019, while Paul Aron retains his spot and remains in Formula Regional European Championship for another year.

Yuanpu Cui was signed by Mercedes last year and will continue to race in karting for 2022, as will Alex Powell, who is set to move up to OK full-time this year. With Daniel Guinchard completing its junior lineup as he moves into British F4.

CEO and team principal Toto Wolff said “It’s going to be a really exciting year for our junior drivers, and we’re delighted to welcome them to our W13 launch on Friday as part of our motorsport family.”

“There are some familiar faces in the programme from previous years, looking to build on their strong progress, and there are also several new members of the programme who have joined us this year. It will be great to see how they develop in their first season with us.”

2022 is a landmark season for the team, the first graduate of the programme George Russell joins the team as a full-time works driver. He will drive alongside Sir Lewis Hamilton, who has been backed by McLaren and Mercedes since 1998.

Mercedes strategy director James Vowels added: “George joining alongside Lewis marks a significant milestone for our young driver programme. Every year, the programme has grown, and we are fortunate to have an incredible line-up across categories ranging from karting to F1.”


Williams launches 2022 car

Williams unveiled their 2022 car, the FW44, at the teams launch event on Tuesday. The British team has tweaked the livery to blend blue and red, having been inspired by a determination to promote the team’s British roots.

The Grove-based outfit is hoping to build on the momentum it gained in 2021, where it moved off the bottom of the constructors’ championship and finished eighth thanks to points-scoring finishes from both George Russell and Nicholas Latifi. Latifi remains with the team for a third season, he will be partnered with British-Thai driver Alex Albon, who returns to the sport after a year out as Red Bull’s test driver.

The team say it was only a ‘livery reveal’ and so the FW44, as always, takes the initials of their legendary founder Sir Frank Williams, the car is expected to look different come. the start of pre-season testing next week.

Team principal Jost Capito is hoping that the improvements last year would drive the team forwards. He said, “It was a great season for us, especially the step from 2020 to 2021. This result, the points and the podium, gave a boost to the entire team. I hope that this boost will show up in the performance of the FW44 this year.”

Later in the day, the team’s actual car made it’s on track debut at Silverstone, with the car looking very different to the renderings released at lunchtime. The front end, the sidepods and the engine cover area like that spotted on the 2022 McLaren car, which was unveiled last week.

Williams is continuing to look to rebuild and move further up the grid seeking to take advantage of the regulation changes. However, Capito admitted it is very hard for Williams to set goals for 2022 considering that all teams are starting from zero thanks to the all-new regulations.

Capito said, “That’s very difficult to say, isn’t it? I think compared to the top teams, we still were lacking that we didn’t have investment over the last years, and now we are from last year, we were limited by investments by the cost cap as well.”


Williams announces Duracell deal

Williams has announced a long-term sponsorship deal with iconic battery brand Duracell in a move that could impact its 2022 livery. Before the team launched the teams 2022 car on Tuesday the team announced the deal with the battery manufacturer would include a variety of high-profile marketing initiatives

The Duracell branding will feature prominently on the new car, its team kit and the overalls of Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi. It is unclear, however, if a new additional livery colour that Williams has teased for 2022 includes the famous Duracell copper. Last week, Albon said that he liked the new colours that the team had chosen for the season ahead.

Williams will also feature in a new television commercial, Williams and Duracell were planning several activations at races this year, starting from the Miami Grand Prix in May.

Speaking about the deal, Williams team boss Jost Capito said: “I am so proud of this partnership between Williams and Duracell, and I am grateful for the trust and confidence they have put in us.

“Having their name on the side of our car is a personal highlight for me, as my nickname for 30 years has been Duracell – because I never run out of energy. I am very much looking forward to our work together.”

Duracell is the latest in a wave of sponsors from North America, after last week Red Bull announced that software giant Oracle would become the team’s title sponsor this season.

Williams commercial director James Bower welcomed the decision by Duracell to make the jump into F1. Adding “We are immensely proud to be partnering with a globally-recognised brand such as Duracell”


Alfa Romeo carry out shakedown

Alfa Romeo’s 2022 car the C42 has had its first outing on track at a private test at Fiorano. Motorsport.com obtained photographs of the car running in a camouflage livery that it is expected will also be used for testing.

The car was driven by Valtteri Bottas who completed the first laps just before midday in Italy on the wet track. Alfa Romeo had not planned to hold a formal reveal for the car before next week’s first pre-season test at Barcelona in Spain. Instead, the team only planned a launch event for the C42 on February 27, two days after the first test comes to an end.

However, they have decided to use one of its allocated promotional filming days to conduct a shakedown of the car, which will give it some valuable knowledge ahead of official testing. Alfa Romeo has previously conducted shakedowns in February using a special Valentine’s Day livery, as seen in both 2019 and 2020.

The team go into this season with a new line-up, Bottas will be partnered by rookie Guanyu Zhou, as they look to get the team back to challenging for points regularly after slipping to the lower end of the constructors.

The arrival of Zhou is set to bring additional financial backing to the Swiss-based team thanks to sponsorship from China, allowing it to run close to the budget cap


Hamilton nominated for ally award at British LGBT Awards

Lewis Hamilton’s Progress Pride helmet worn in Hungary, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi has been nominated for an award at the  2022 British LGBT Awards. The seven-time champion has been nominated for the Celebrity Ally having spoken in support of LGBTQ+ rights in and around the races in the Middle East and the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hamilton has taken over the past two years a more vocal position when it comes to human rights, race equality and LGBT rights. In Jeddah last December, he admitted he was not comfortable racing in the country because of its human rights record.

Now in their eighth year, the Awards celebrate the achievements and advances made by LGBTQ+ people and allies over the previous 12 months, with a focus on the UK but with representation from around the world in several categories.

Sarah Garrett MBE, the founder of the British LGBT Awards said: “These awards shine a light on those who have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the LGBT+ community, during what has been another very challenging twelve months.

The 2022 British LGBT Awards ceremony will be held in London on June 24, with the public invited to cast their votes in selected categories at britishlgbtawards.com.


Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.