F1 news LIVE: Max Verstappen confidence ‘sky high’ ahead of title defence amid Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton hint


Lewis Hamilton Breaks Months Of Silence

The new Formula 1 season is approaching with Max Verstappen’s confidence “sky high” as Red Bull plot a title defence after the dramatic end to last year.

The Belgian-Dutch driver edged out Lewis Hamilton to win his maiden world championship, but the Briton’s future remains in doubt, even if Mercedes have continued a series of hints this week that the seven-time champion will return. In the background is the F1 Commission meeting in London to discuss the controversial conclusion to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. And it seems as if Hamilton is awaiting the results on the inquiry into how the closing stages of the race were allowed to unfold before making an official announcement over his return. Race director Michael Masi decided to permit some but not all cars to pass the safety car, setting up a final-lap shootout as Verstappen overtook him on fresh tyres to win the title.

Findings surrounding Formula One’s investigation into Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are set to be presented, but the results may not be published until the eve of the 2022 season in Bahrain in March. It has been reported that Hamilton’s future in the sport hinges of the outcome of the F1 Commission’s inquiry into the controversy, although the 37-year-old has returned to Mercedes ahead of the team’s car launch later this week. AlphaTauri will become the latest team to unveil their 2022 car today, as Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda reveal their new car, with Williams, Ferrari and Mercedes all set for their car launches later this week.

Follow all the latest Formula One news and updates below:

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Red Bull facing ‘two or three big hurdles’

Red Bull are still facing “two or three big hurdles” ahead of the new season.

After Max Verstappen’s world title last season, Red Bull are under pressure to continue their excellence and provide the Belgian-Dutch driver with the tools to deliver more trophies.

But Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko is concerned at the challenges still ahead, telling Austrian publication Kleine Zeitung: “We faced two or three big hurdles [in preparing for 2022].

“It was the biggest change in regulations in the last 15 or 20 years. All the new designs and planning had to be done within the budget cap, and then we were fighting for a World Championship and had to move the new car forward at the same time.”

Jack Rathborn15 February 2022 10:37

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Mercedes drop new hint over Lewis Hamilton future

Mercedes have dropped their biggest hint yet over Lewis Hamilton future.

The Briton is yet to officially confirm his return to the sport, but the Silver Arrows have continued to hint at the seven-time champion’s return after being controversially beaten in the final lap of the season in Abu Dhabi.

Mercedes shared an image last week of Hamilton alongside a wall of messages of support to celebrate his return before the launch of the W13 and now they have gone one further by tweeting the words “44 is back”.

Jack Rathborn15 February 2022 10:22

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Max Verstappen confidence ‘sky-high’ ahead of F1 title defence

Max Verstappen’s confidence is “sky-high” ahead of his Formula 1 title defence.

“For Max, he was just phenomenal last year, an outstanding season. He dominated,” said Team Principal Christian Horner at the launch of the RB18, Red Bull’s new car for the 2022 season.

“The amount of laps led, 10 grand prix victories and, of course, the world championship, so his confidence is going to be sky-high.

“So he’s looking to build on those performances in 2022.”

Jack Rathborn15 February 2022 10:14

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Michael Masi’s future as F1 race director still in the balance following meeting

Michael Masi’s future as Formula One’s race director remains in the balance following a crunch meeting of the sport’s major players in London on Monday.

But two months and two days after the contentious Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – a race Hamilton said was “manipulated” following Masi’s handling of a late safety car period – the Australian’s fate is seemingly still to be determined.

FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem chaired the four-hour summit and is expected to address the continued fallout from Abu Dhabi later this week.

Karl Matchett14 February 2022 18:53

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Duracell deal could see Williams livery alteration

Williams has teased that it’s livery for the 2022 campaign will feature a new colour, afterlast season’s abstract mix of blues, white and yellow.

In a video posted to social media last week, new driver Alexander Albon was show the livery for the first time, with the team recording his reaction. “I like it. I would say it’s more Williams [than last season],” said the 25-year-old. “It’s more simple in terms of the colour scheme. There’s a little bit of [redacted] in it. I like the [redacted] in it.”

The team says that Duracell’s branding will feature prominently in its livery and team wear for the new season, leading to speculation its famous copper brand colour could appear on the car in some form.

Williams will unveil its 2022 car at 1pm on Tuesday 15 February.

Dan Austin14 February 2022 18:08

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Williams signs new sponsorship deal with Duracell

Williams has announced a new sponsorship agreement with battery manufacturer Duracell ahead of the 2022 season.

The Grove-based outfit has struggled towards the back of the grid in recent seasons, and is hoping to make progress further up the order having been taken over by private investment firm Dorilton Capital in 2020.

Team boss Jost Capito said: “I am so proud of this partnership between Williams and Duracell, and I am grateful for the trust and confidence they have put in us. Having their name on the side of our car is a personal highlight for me, as my nickname for 30 years has been Duracell – because I never run out of energy. I am very much looking forward to our work together.”

Dan Austin14 February 2022 17:48

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Russell talks first impressions of Mercedes’ 2022 car

Russell has been trying out the new Mercedes W13 in the simulator, with the team hoping the Kings Lynn-born driver can help it win a ninth consecutive constructors’ championship.

“First impressions of W13 have been interesting,” Russell said in the same social media video. “It’s a very different car to the previous era. There’s still a huge amount of improvements to be made to bring everything together to make it as nice as possible to drive.

“We are learning so much day by day, whether it’s in the wind tunnel or on the simulator. It will be a year of development. Everyone wants to go to the first race and have the fastest car possible, but what will be more important is understanding what your limitations are and how you will improve from those limitations to build yourself the best foundation possible.”

Dan Austin14 February 2022 17:28

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Russell happy to join Mercedes during regulation change

George Russell has explained that he is pleased to be joining Mercedes during a season in which Formula 1 is undergoing a regulation change.

“I see moving teams during this regulation change as a positive, in all honesty,” the 23-year-old said in a video posted to the team’s social media channels.

“We have a completely different car which is a completely different philosophy, to previously different tyres, working with new engineers and I think starting from a completely fresh sheet of paper is beneficial to all,” he added. “Whereas I think if I had stayed with Williams for this season, there are always things in the back of your mind that you learned in the previous era of cars that will always sub-consciously carry through into the future. If you are truly starting from a fresh slate, it can only be beneficial this year.”

Dan Austin14 February 2022 17:08

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Sainz talks new Ferrari’s handling

Sainz has also been outlining the differences between this year’s Ferrari car and the one he drove in his debut campaign with the team, based on his practice runs in the simulator at the team’s Maranello headquarters.

“This Ferrari seems even more reactive to me,” the Spaniard told Corriere de la Sera “The suspension is stiffer. I have tried it [in the simulator], it is very different in form and in driving, I have been able to develop it, it will be hard to drive, very different, not so comfortable in balance. in curve for example. And it will be fast, but hard”.

Dan Austin14 February 2022 16:48

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Sainz wants new Ferrari contract

Sainz has also spoken of his desire to renew his contract with Ferrari.

The 27-year-old joined the Maranello outfit in time for the 2021 season after a two-year spell with McLaren, and delivered an excellent debut season, finishing ‘best of the rest’ in P5 in the drivers’ championship, two places ahead of team-mate Charles Leclerc.

“Being world champion with Ferrari is my greatest ambition,” Sainz told told Corriere de la Sera. “I would like to renew as soon as possible. Both parties are satisfied and we intend to continue together. I believe that this winter is an opportunity to find an agreement, we are trying.”

Sainz’s current deal is believed to expire at the end of the 2022 season.

Dan Austin14 February 2022 16:28


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