With small decisions like the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships to come, it’s time to hand out the really important F1 2022 trophies…
Looking back on the 2022 F1 season, it’s easy to pick out those meaningful trophies that recognize moments of on-track genius – or the talent, dedication and hard work that define the efforts of everyone working in the sport.
But these awards we give don’t acknowledge any of those “important” traits that don’t make sense…!
Instead, with our bellies full of Christmas turkey and boozy wine, let’s take a look back at the 2022 season and pick some winners for the PlanetF1.com Alternative Formula 1 Awards 2022!
Architect of 2022 Chaos: Sebastian Vettel
Little did Sebastian Vettel know the carnage he would leave in the wake of his announcement that he would retire from Formula 1 at the end of 2022.
Within days of the four-time world champion announcing his retirement, Fernando Alonso dropped a bombshell to Alpine that he wasn’t waiting any longer to make him a proper contract offer – putting pen to paper and taking Vettel’s vacated car.
Dramatic enough in itself, however, Alpine seemed quite stunned by the situation as they hastily announced the promotion of Alpine Academy driver Oscar Piastri to replace Alonso.
A straightforward enough choice, right? No! Piastri took to Twitter to denounce Alpine’s assertion, with a tweet that appeared to come perilously close to an area where bridges are burning.
I understand that without my consent, Alpine F1 issued a press release late in the afternoon that I am driving for them next year. This is wrong and I didn’t sign a contract with Alpine for 2023. I won’t be driving for Alpine next year.
Oscar Piastri August 2, 2022
Why would only Piastri, a driver who doesn’t have exactly any Grand Prix starts under his belt, turn around and run off a seat with a team of top manufacturers?
The answer soon became apparent, however, as McClaren signed the young Australian to replace Daniel Ricciardo – the Woking-based team opted to buy their veteran Australian player and replace him with a younger model.
But, with two teams claiming Piastri, it meant the situation had to pass before F1’s Contract Recognition Board, with CRB ruling in McLaren’s favour.
This prompted an attack from the media by Alpine team boss Otmar Zaffnauer, making it clear how upset he was that Piastri had apparently turned his back on the team he was part of as an academy driver. However, the CRB referee revealed that Piastri never had a proper contract with Alpine which bound Piastri to race for Enstone.
It was a terrific mess, with the Piastri drama only adding spice in the on-track fight between Alpine and McLaren – a battle that Alpine eventually won.
And it all came about because Vettel wanted to see his kids more in 2023!
Special mention must be made of Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto, too, whose decision to quit the Scuderia (whether it was really voluntarily or not) led to several team bosses swaps: Frederick Fasser leaving his position at Alfa Romeo to take over Binotto’s job, with Andreas Seidl resigning as McLaren’s Sauber CEO position – Andrea Stella enters the void left by Seidl.
At the same time, beyond all these moves, Williams CEO and team boss Jost Capito called time on his career, as did FX Technical Director Demaison…
Legendary moment on the track for 2023: Sebastian Vettel
While Nicholas Latifi was leading the wrong part of the Suzuka chicane major consideration for the legendary part of driving we’ve seen on track this year, the outright winner has to be Sebastian Vettel.
But that isn’t due to anything Vettel did while driving his AMR22, it was his decision to grab a moto to get back into the pits after his Mercedes engine failed during first practice in Australia.
Stopped off track in his first session on the track due to missing the first two races of the year, Vettel grabbed a fire extinguisher to help ensure there were no flames, before hopping on the Marshal’s motorbike and speeding his way back to the pits.
– Formula 1 (@F1) April 8, 2022
Resplendent in his Aston Martin driving gear, his helmet made him look very comical as he strode his way back, waving to the crowds as he did so – even adding to the absurdity of the gesture by picking him off. Your hands off the handlebars!
It was a great human moment, but Vettel’s antics led him to pay a €5,000 fine for making an unauthorized visit to the track after the session ended.
This year’s guest of honor: Norbert Vettel
It’s Vettel’s show to get things started here, right? Norbert Vettel, Sebastian’s incredibly proud and humble father, has stolen almost everyone’s hearts in the final weeks of 2022.
With Vettel Jr. choosing to stay away from the sport, his father became an ever-present near him as Norbert seemed more upset with his son’s decision than Sebastian.
Making plenty of media appearances, including some heartwarming comments on German TV, Norbert Vettel made it very clear how Sebastian had grown up to be a totally respectful and considerate man – even if F1’s shark-fighting nature meant that side of Sebastian’s character’s emergence took some time for everyone.
At the last Grand Prix, Norbert was almost as much in the spotlight as Sebastian – waving and handing out T-shirts to the track of the Seb racetrack, and climbing aboard a Formula 1 truck to entertain the Seb fans on Saturday night.
And the Let’s not forget this emotional farewell … Who cuts onions here?
– Formula 1 (@F1) November 19, 2022
Damned Driver of the Year Award: Charles Leclerc
There was no one else competing for this award, right? Having had a dream start to the season with a comfortable win in Bahrain, a spirited dash for second place in Saudi Arabia, and utter dominance in Australia, it seemed inconceivable at that point to think that Leclerc would win just one race during the remainder. the season.
But such is the reality of the situation, that Leclerc’s championship aspirations quickly fall apart through no fault of his own. Leclerc has proven his mastery for most of the year, comfortably driving the race literally going up in smoke due to engine failures in Barcelona and Azerbaijan.
Added to this were the first signs of a weaker Ferrari strategic team, as the team was erroneous from closing out the front row at Monaco to finish second and fourth – a particularly disastrous result for Leclerc as he sought to deflect the talk. Damn Monaco (especially after crashing ex Niki Lauda’s Ferrari on the streets just a week ago!).
The rest of the season was much the same: bizarre, bizarre strategies (who could forget Ferrari sending it on wet tires at Interlagos dry, or calling hard tires in Hungary?) plus Ferrari losing a lot of speed in the second half of the year, as well Some driver errors, such as Paul Ricard and Imola.
Leclerc simply hasn’t had any lucky breaks during 2022, and seems to have battled against his team at times, with Binotto’s reluctance to force Carlos Sainz into a supporting role perhaps sounding the death knell for his career at Gestione Sportiva.
With Vasseur in charge for 2023, the man who gave Leclerc the nod at Sauber for his F1 debut, could his fortunes change next season?
WTF moment of the year: Kevin Magnussen’s first pole
Imagine traveling back in time to pre-season testing in Barcelona and revealing to the Haas team that Kevin Magnussen will not only return to Formula 1 to take Nikita Mazepin’s seat, but that he will achieve the team’s pole position by the end of the season?
It sounds completely unbelievable, but that’s exactly how it turned out, with Magnussen laying down his first flying lap of Q3 to take the spot “on merit” as the session was red-flagged.
Sure, some extraordinary circumstances were required, but with all being equal, it was the Danish driver who ran the lap when it mattered, resulting in that sweet moment of exuberance when he turned to the cockpit camera and made that face!
– Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) November 11, 2022
Keeping-Commentators-In-Job Award: Ferrari
It sounds like beating Ferrari, looking back further from 2022, but Scuderia have been a particularly unconvincing outfit in their pursuit of the 2022 championship.
The first three races showed Ferrari and Charles Leclerc’s brilliant, calm and methodical car, but these events proved at times a barely cohesive organisation.
With reliability issues hurting Leclerc hard, strategic mistakes and the lack of a clear, focused view of their drivers meant Leclerc felt as if he had to worry about Sainz as a competitor like Max Verstappen.
Silverstone was the writing on the wall, with team boss Binotto waiting with a pointed finger to point something out to Leclerc as the Monaco got out of his car – something very hard to see Verstappen tolerate.
Racing in Looney-Tunes style in Hungary meant that Ferrari was already buzzing commentators going into the summer break.
As Ferrari fell off the pace after the break, after providing technical direction for the floors, their yo-yo-like performance was punctuated by more strategic head-butts – including a glorious moment as Leclerc was sent into dry Interlagos with a set of fit intermediates, seemingly forgetting she was Qualifying, not a race, so trying to time the shift didn’t really matter.
Clearly skilled on a technical level, the F1-75 deserved a better all-round run and for 2023 another team boss will have a crack at trying to win Ferrari’s first title since 2008 while Fassier takes the reins.
Social Media Post of the Year: Lewis Hamilton
While the ‘I like Pierre Gasly’ meme has been entertaining for some time, it’s Lewis Hamilton’s willingness to opt for violence on Twitter that is proving particularly amusing in 2022.
Usually posting motivational quotes or sentiments on his social media channels, Hamilton dropped a grenade with a simple one-word tweet over the summer.
Nelson Piquet happened (if you know, you know), and amid all the fanfare, Hamilton managed to make his feelings clear on the matter.
One poster on Twitter read: “What if Lewis Hamilton tweeted ‘Who is Nelson Piqué?'” Then shut down Twitter.
Hamilton retweeted the message, wrote “imagine,” and quickly dropped his mic and walked away.
– Lewis Hamilton (@Lewis Hamilton) June 28, 2022
Later in the summer, Hamilton incurred the wrath of Fernando Alonso when the pair collided at Les Combes in Spa-Francorchamps.
With the accident clearly Hamilton’s fault, Alonso’s response to the collision proved less understanding as he proceeded to question Hamilton’s racing skills over the team radio, calling him an “idiot”, before taking the opportunity to nod his former McLaren teammate by Hamilton’s name. I stood on the side of the track.
Hamilton accepted responsibility for the incident when he spoke to the media afterwards, although he stopped short of offering Alonso an apology after hearing the Spaniard’s comments on the radio.
With the matter petering out, Hamilton took to Twitter again to deliver a devastating blow to Alonso.
– Lewis Hamilton (@Lewis Hamilton) October 30, 2022
Alonso showed up at the Dutch Grand Prix the following weekend in an even more remorseful frame of mind, offering Hamilton an apology for his comments, as the seven-time world champion invited the Spaniard to Mercedes for a signed hat!
Read more – F1 Reserve Drivers: Who are the drivers standing by for the 10 Formula 1 teams in 2023?
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