The battle for the championship in 2022 was a two-horse race, but maybe not with the two teams that most would have expected prior to the start of the season.
Ferrari took full advantage of the major changes in regulations, flying out of the blocks with a one-two finish in Bahrain and going on to battle Red Bull for as long as they could until reliability issues took their toll on the team’s title chances.
Mercedes struggled on the other hand, taking the wrong approach with regards to tackling the new regulations and being forced to battle with a major porpoising issue.
Team principal Toto Wolff has claimed that solving the violent bouncing issue saw the team forfeit six months’ worth of development while Red Bull and Ferrari continued to strengthen.
The team did finally become competitive following upgrades brought to the Grand Prix in Austin, eventually going on to win a race courtesy of George Russell in Sao Paulo.
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc will be hoping to put together a longer lasting title challenge in 2023 under new team principal Fred Vasseur’s leadership, however he expects the Scuderia to have to compete with the Silver Arrows as well as Red Bull.
“I do believe Mercedes will be in the fight,” he claimed.
“Another team? I haven’t seen signs yet maybe to believe that another team will join the top three, but Mercedes will definitely be there next year with a very strong car.
“We’ve seen how much they’ve improved from the first to the last race. I think they understood what they did wrong, and this is normally a sign that it will go better. So hopefully it will be a three-team fight next year.”
Mercedes have expressed their confidence in making sure 2022 is a one-off failure, aiming to use their shortcomings as a learning curve, having been brought back down to earth following their dominance over the previous decade.
The Silver Arrows have put their failure down to getting the physics wrong that surround the new era of F1 cars, claiming they still have the staff and resources to compete at the very top.
Ferrari on the other hand will be hoping to quick get through any transition period that comes with their change of team principal, because with Red Bull battling with their cost cap breach penalty next season, the team could be in for their best shot yet at ending their title drought.