2022 Formula One season: What could happen?
Key statistical trends ahead of the 2022 Formula One season
The 2022 Formula One season begins on 20 March with the Bahrain Grand Prix and ends eight months later in Abu Dhabi.
With one of the closest drivers’ championship battles in the sport’s history playing out in 2021, fans will be hoping for more excitement this time around.
There are 23 races in this year’s calendar and we have analysed each venue to pick out interesting patterns that can guide your Formula One betting.
Which Formula One circuits see the closest races?
There are 18 circuits which have staged at least five Formula One races over the 10 seasons. Of these, the Circuit of the Americas in Texas – home of the United States Grand Prix – has witnessed the closest races with an average winning margin of under four seconds.
The season opener in Bahrain is close behind with 4.5 seconds, so we could be treated to some early drama.
In which Formula One races does qualifying matter the most?
Sticking with our sample of 18 circuits which have been used at least five races in the last 10 seasons, we can also analyse qualifying records to see where grid position confers the biggest advantage.
Again it is the United States Grand Prix which stands out. Its nine winners in the last decade have all started on the front row; five in first place and four in second.
There are three races which have seen seven out of 10 winners start in pole position – the Spanish, Belgian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix.
With the latter scheduled as the last race once again, the final qualifying session of the 2022 Formula One season could be pivotal if the drivers’ championship isn’t settled before then.
Pole position has counted for little in the Australian Grand Prix, which will be the third race of this season. Only one of the eight drivers to have started at the front of the grid at Albert Park during the last decade went on to win, as Lewis Hamilton’s comfortable victory in 2015 made up for an early retirement the previous year.
Which Formula One races do winners dominate?
For fans of live Formula One betting, we can drill down even further into the data and look at individual laps.
The lead has rarely changed hands in the Belgian Grand Prix over the last decade, with over 95 per cent of laps being led by the eventual winner; more than any of the 18 races in the current schedule to have been contested at least five times in this period.
Meanwhile the Baku City Circuit – currently used for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix – has been far more chaotic. It stands alone in the schedule for the 2022 Formula One season as the only race that winners have led for fewer than half of all laps.
Which races predict the Formula One drivers’ championship?
The 2022 F1 calendar sees the return of the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, which has been the most reliable bellwether of a champion in recent years.
Hamilton finished third here on his way to claiming the 2019 title, but the other seven races in Japan during the previous decade have been won by the eventual drivers’ champion.
The season starts with the Bahrain Grand Prix, which has also been won by seven eventual champions over the last decade, albeit out of a possible 11.
It is too early to tell what impact the second race in this year’s schedule – the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – will have, as it was only introduced in 2021.
However, any title hopefuls who fail to impress in the season’s third race need not worry; only two of the eight Australian Grands Prix in the previous 10 years were won by that season’s champion.
Who are the current Formula One drivers to watch?
Over the last three seasons, seven-time world champion Hamilton has earned an impressive 19.4 points per race, meaning that he is still the driver to beat.
Max Verstappen – who controversially pipped him to the 2021 drivers’ title – has been the second most effective in this period with an average of 14.8 points, followed by Hamilton’s former Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas’ 12.9.
No other driver has been able to average a double-digit number of points per race over the last three seasons, although many of the chasing pack are young enough that they can still improve.
Should any of the aforementioned ‘big three’ fall below their recent standard, Charles Leclerc’s average haul of 8.7 points per race makes him the best placed to take advantage.
Leclerc’s potential is further highlighted when we look at the lap-by-lap data. If we rank the 2022 Formula One season’s drivers by the proportion of their laps during the previous three years that they spent in first place, the same three drivers are at the top of the list.
Hamilton stands even further apart from the rest, having led the field in over 40 per cent of the laps he has completed since 2018.
Leclerc ranks fourth, leading in just under 10 per cent of his laps, which is twice the proportion of the next driver in the list, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.