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Lewis Hamilton’s inclusion is still up in the air but there is plenty for F1 fans to look forward to this season

There is still no word as to whether Lewis Hamilton will be in F1 this season. Photo: AFP

There is still no word as to whether Lewis Hamilton will be in F1 this season. Photo: AFP

Published Feb 4, 2022

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Johannesburg - A Flurry of activity in the world of Formula One is set to begin in the coming week as constructors and drivers reveal the first glimpses of their newly engineered cars and liveries for the 2022 season.

Today Aston Martin start the pre-season hype when they unveil the AMR22. It will be followed a day later by McLaren’s presentation, with a bevy of teams revealing their machines from thereon.

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The big one, of course, will be Mercedes on February 18.

ALSO READ: Where in the world is Lewis Hamilton?

Lewis Hamilton has mostly kept to himself since the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December after losing out on an eighth world title to Max Verstappen – although you will be happy to know that the 37-year-old Brit was finally spotted for the first time since that defeat slurping on an ice-coffee somewhere in California this week.

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He also broke his silence on social media with a short, five-second appearance posted on Monday on the @SirLewisUpdates Twitter account, where he wished his Chinese supporters a prosperous New Year.

It was nothing fancy, but it was proof of life.

Said Hamilton in the post: “I wish you a happy Chinese New Year. May the new year bring you good luck and everything you wish for.”

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Other than his brief well-wish, Hamilton has given no other verbal indication as to what his future plans are – whether he will retire from the sport as its most successful driver, or if he will continue on with a $147-million contract with the Silver Arrows, which was extended mid-last year until 2023.

It has been reported, however, that he will be present at the team’s big reveal later this month. That is the clearest indication yet that Hamilton will be involved in the 2022 season, although in what capacity is still up in the air.

In any event, with or without Hamilton, F1 will undergo massive changes this year and Aston Martin’s presentation next week will give supporters a clearer understanding of the newly designed cars.

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ALSO READ: A pantomime? F1 needs stronger leadership, McLaren boss says

Originally postponed due to Covid-19, the new regulations hope to minimise the “catastrophic downforce loss” previously created by air flowing over the cars. This created a maelstrom of churned ‘dirty air’ in which a following car had to race, making it almost impossible for cars to stay behind each other for prolonged periods.

The 2022 designs will, therefore, look markedly different to previous years. Downforce will be primarily generated by ground effect – previously banned – meaning that the rear wings will be smaller, while the front wing has been redesigned, the air there steered “narrowly down the side of the car” and around bigger 18-inch, low profile tyres with wheel covers.

As a result, DRS is now also a thing of the past.

Pre-season testing is set to start on February 23 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – a track that is notorious with the problem of dirty air racing, so that will be the first true indicator of how well the new rules and regulations will perform.

For now, F1 fans have something to look forward to, even if it is rating how hideous the new cars’ vestments are.

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