Chief of those is F1’s driver penalty points system – which world champion Max Verstappen in particular is going to have to be very mindful about during the forthcoming campaign.
This time last year, four Britons were at the top of the table for earning the most penalty points over the campaign, but heading into 2022 a new pattern has emerged.
During 2021, it was mainly Red Bull drivers who attracted the displeasure of the stewards.
Yuki Tsunoda currently tops the standings, ahead of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez – all three within the Red Bull camp.
The “bad boy” of Formula 1 last season was Tsunoda, who collected a whopping eight points in his rookie season for AlphaTauri thanks to six offences during the season.
His tally started at his second race in Imola, when he collected one point because of track limits.
At the Austrian Grand Prix, the Japanese driver racked up three offences over the course of the Red Bull Ring weekend.
He blocked Valtteri Bottas in qualifying and crossed the pit entry line twice during the race in violation of the rules.
In addition, he was penalised in Brazil and Saudi Arabia for a collision with an Aston Martin – first Lance Stroll and then later Sebastian Vettel.
With just one point fewer than Tsunoda, Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez start the season second pace in the penalty points standings with seven each.
But what could be especially relevant to the forthcoming title battle is that Verstappen picked up his points quite late in the 2021 campaign.
Up until the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, he had no points on his account at all. Then came the collision with Lewis Hamilton at the first chicane, for which he was blamed.
The next offence was in qualifying in Qatar, when he was judged to have ignored the yellow flags and was penalised.
There were also three points for an off-track advantage in Saudi Arabia, which meant he had to give up his place to world championship rival Hamilton, and then there was the subsequent collision between them.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, battles with Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, ahead of Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12
Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images
The timing of these sanctions puts Verstappen in a bit of a pickle for 2022.
He will have to be careful not to add too many more points because he will keep at least seven points on his licence until the day after the Italian Grand Prix (9-11 September), as they only expire after 12 months.
Two more offences that earn him three points each and he could face a one-race ban as that would put him over the 12-points threshold.
Plus, because his penalties in Qatar and Saudi Arabia were so late last year and this season’s calendar finishes early, it is already certain that he will carry with him five penalty points for the entire campaign.
So another season like 2021 with seven penalty points would definitely earn him a ban.
Behind the Red Bull top three is Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), who, like Nikita Mazepin (Haas) and Nicholas Latifi (Williams), has six points to his name.
However, Vettel is not carrying these around for much longer, as he had already collected five of them at the first race of the season in Bahrain.
Former world champion Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) only got two points for the collision with Max Verstappen at Silverstone.
Mick Schumacher (Haas) came through the season without a penalty point in his debut year in Formula 1 and thus kept a clean slate like four other drivers.
In addition to the German, these were the two Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and Robert Kubica, who stood in for Kimi Räikkönen twice at Alfa Romeo.
Latest penalty points standings:
| Yuki Tsunoda
||18.04.22 (1 points)
| Sergio Perez
||18.04.22 (2 points)
| Max Verstappen
||12.09.22 (2 points)
| Sebastian Vettel
||27.03.22 (3 points)
| Nikita Mazepin