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After a memorable 2021, in which McLaren Racing returned to the top step of the podium in Formula 1 and had a tilt in the INDYCAR title, you might struggle to believe that 2022 could be even more exciting. But judging by the fact that this year we’ll be competing on four, that’s right four, fronts, Formula 1, INDYCAR, Extreme E and esports, ’22 has all the ingredients to beat ’21 and here’s why…
Taking part in four different series, we will race in many of motorsport’s most prestigious and high profile events – both real and virtual – from the magic of the Monaco Grand Prix to the intoxicating spectacle of the Indianapolis 500 to racing on the enchanting island of Sardinia. Our first race of ’22 will be our Extreme E debut in the Saudi city of Neom at 19–February 20, as our year’s racing exploits come to a close with the F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi on November 20, followed shortly by the F1 Esports Grand Final in December. That means you’re looking at 10 months of wall-to-wall McLaren action.
The choice of race weekends? Just maybe 9–September 11, when we return to Monza, the scene of our unforgettable ’21 one-two finish, for the Italian Grand Prix, while also taking part in the X Prix of Chile and the final round of the INDYCAR season at Laguna Seca Raceway.
In F1 alone, we are talking about triple headers, possibly more sprint races and a return to some of the world’s most respected circuits, such as Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix and Albert Park for Daniel Ricciardo’s home race, the Australian Grand Prix. The number of F1 Sprint events – a 100km sprint race on Saturday to determine the starting grid for Sunday’s race – is yet to be confirmed, but with a record-breaking 23 Grand Prix on the calendar, the 2022 campaign will be anything but a sprint. oh and…
…we’re going to Miami
Every race we participate in this year has its own je ne sais quoi, which adds its own special something to a diverse and vibrant motorsports calendar, but the inaugural Miami Grand Prix is quite a big deal. F1 never really cracked America, but rising ratings and interest fueled by the likes of Netflix Ride to survive and McLaren Fan Heist suggest it might go that far. And the first-ever Miami Grand Prix, which will take place on a sparkling 5.41km street circuit around Hard Rock Stadium, could be a big part of that. This year, of course, this won’t be our only visit to America’s Sunshine State: the INDYCAR season kicks off on February 27 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.
If our roster of drivers for ’22 doesn’t get you excited, then we don’t know what will. Lando Norris enters this year after his best season to date, taking four podiums, a pole position and a fastest lap; the 22-year-old Briton came close after a first Grand Prix victory and P5 in the drivers’ championship. His star seems to continue to rise in ’22, as does Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward. The Mexican not only scored a first INDYCAR win in ’21, but added another to his tally and was in contention until the final round – having topped the standings earlier in the campaign. He’s hungry for more, and another daring bid for the championship is in the pipeline.
Having tasted victory with McLaren at last season’s Italian Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo is equally eager for more success in ’22. Despite the highlights of last year’s campaign, it was a far from easy year for Daniel. It took him time to master the MCL35M, but he is going fully into ’22 with the team and with a brand new car to play with. An F1 career spanning more than a decade will certainly serve him well as he aims to get the most out of the MCL36.
Like Daniel, 2022 will be Arrow McLaren SP driver Felix Rosenqvist’s second year as part of the McLaren Racing family. After getting used to life on the team in ’21, Felix will be at full throttle this season. When it comes to experience marrying speed, look no further than Juan Pablo Montoya. The Colombian has one of the most enviable résumés of any driver, and after contesting the Indianapolis 500 with Arrow McLaren SP last season in a bid to win the race for the third time in his career, Juan Pablo is once again working with us to to win this year’s illustrious race.
We’re in uncharted territory as we compete in the electric, off-road series Extreme E for the first time, but we’re in safe hands with New Zealand Rally Championship event winner Emma Gilmour – who competed in Extreme E last season – and four-time US rallycross champion Tanner Foust behind the wheel.
So those are the drivers you’ll see competing on the track for McLaren Racing this year – or off it if you’re Emma and Tanner – but there are also those who do business in the virtual world, be it the tireless effort and countless simulator miles collected by our steadfast test and development drivers Oliver Turvey and Will Stevens or our McLaren Shadow esports drivers which we will be announcing shortly.
The new cars and racing closer
The biggest technical regulation changes F1 has seen in decades will usher in a new era for the sport this season. A greater focus on ground effect, larger 18-inch wheels, low profile tires, an increase in renewable fuel content of up to 20%, improved aesthetics and new braking and suspension systems make this year’s crop of F1 cars one of the best. the most highly anticipated in the history of the sport. In addition, the changes should lead to improved aerodynamic track, allowing cars to get closer and overtake more.
A word of caution, though: there’s no guarantee the changes will close the field. In fact, regulatory changes in F1 history have tended to do the opposite, while rule stability has traditionally led to convergence in car design and narrowing the gap between the fastest and slowest cars. Regardless of the impact on the competitive order, make sure the new rules are right and you can steal a march to the opposition. Get them wrong and you might be playing catch-up for ’22 and beyond.
Close racing is guaranteed in INDYCAR and F1 Esports. Often parts of the grid are separated by only a tenth of a second, while cars are often three-wide – or even four-wide in the case of INDYCAR. Elsewhere, Extreme E’s second season seems to be getting even closer than the first as teams get closer to controlling the cars. The ODYSSEY 21 will be familiar to those who took part in the new series last year, including our very own Emma Gilmour. But the 400 kW (550 hp) SUV is the first all-electric car we’ve entered into battle with at McLaren, so it’s very new to us. However, we prepared for the winter by testing in one of the harshest environments in the world… Dorset. And we can’t wait to start racing.
The development race
The annual development race in F1 is always fierce as teams try to upgrade their cars to beat rivals or maintain a pace advantage. It is often a major reason for performance fluctuations. And, ultimately, how well a team develops over a season usually has a significant impact on its fortunes. With completely brand new cars, the development space is vast, and since none of the ’22 cars have even turned a wheel, the level of understanding of them is relatively immature. Teams will learn a lot as they rack up miles on the track and closely monitor the innovative interpretations of rivals.
While there is no development race as such in INDYCAR, Extreme E and F1 Esports, as all three are spec series there will still be achievements to be found throughout the season as teams try to optimize set-ups to finish every last tenth. extract .
And there you have it, don’t say you weren’t told, 2022 promises to be an unforgettable year. You can follow all the action on McLaren.com, the McLaren app and our social channels: @McLarenF1, @ArrowMcLarenSP, @McLarenXE and @McLarenShadow.
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