The controversial end of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship will be long remembered, and the sport returns to Abu Dhabi almost a year since the course of history changed in the final moments. Lewis Hamilton was heading for a record eighth title, but a late crash by Nicholas Latifi and F1 race director Michael Masi, allowing only a certain number of drivers to run out during the safety car, paved the way for a shooting round. until the championship between Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
With fresher tires Verstappen took the lead and became champions which cost Masi his job, while today Mercedes are still reeling from what happened. That pain will be even greater now that last year’s title contenders have had mixed luck since.
Red Bull managed to master the new technical regulations to help Verstappen dominate his way to another world title, while Mercedes largely struggled to leave Hamilton some distance from his rival.
Abu Dhabi will cap off a disappointing campaign for the Silver Arrows, who head to the final knowing that a run of eight consecutive constructors’ world titles is over. But Mercedes still visits a circuit where its six victories are surpassed by no one.
For the past two years Verstappen has won in Abu Dhabi, and 2021 was F1’s first visit to the modified Yas Marina circuit. The chicane at turns 5 and 6 had been removed, while turn 9 is now a long, fast corner as opposed to a series of corners, leaving sector two as the best overtaking chance.
However, with just 36 overtaking maneuvers in last year’s race, Abu Dhabi still lacked that wheel-to-wheel action, but now the ground effect cars will go for the first time, which could change the things. Yet, as has been the theme in 2022, the main question is can anyone stop Verstappen from winning?
MOTOGP – MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX OF THE VALENCIAN COMMUNITY
Valencia, Spain, November 4-6
Like every year since 2002 – except 2020 – MotoGP will go to Valencia for its last round. The Spanish port has a 14-turn circuit which saw Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia set a lap record of 1min 31.042sec en route to victory there last year.
NASCAR – NASCAR CUP SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP RACE
Phoenix, Arizona, November 6
For the third consecutive year, Phoenix Raceway will host the NASCAR season finale. After three rounds of play-offs, the title fight is reduced to a “championship four” where the top finisher of those drivers in that race wins the NASCAR Cup Series crown, which currently belongs to Kyle Larson.
WEC – 8 HOURS FROM BAHRAIN
Bahrain International Circuit, November 10-12
Toyota and Alpine head into the final tier of the weekend with points in the Hypercar standings, while second-placed Toyota also has hopes of championship glory. It is also a decisive title in the lower categories, before the WEC embarks on a new era with the merger of the LMDh and LMH cars.
WRC – RALLY JAPAN
Aichi Prefecture, Japan, November 10-13
Without Sébastiens Ogier or Loeb competing all season, 2022 has seen 22-year-old Kalle Rovanperä rise to fame. The season will end with 176 miles of asphalt as Rally Japan returns for the first time in 12 years.
EXTREME E – ENERGY X-PRICE
Punta del Este, Uruguay, November 26-27
2022 has seen defending champions Rosberg X Racing continue their winning habits. After rounds in Saudi Arabia, Italy and Chile, this season will culminate along the resort town of Punta del Este, which plans to be the first round to allow a live crowd since Extreme E’s inception.
November 5-6 Formula Ford 1600 – Silverstone, UK
November 11-13 F1 – Sao Paulo, Brazil
November 19-20 Superbikes – Phillip Island