What to expect from F1 launch season in 2022

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Haas will be the first team to present its 2022 colours at 11am GMT when it drops a series of renders featuring its livery for the new season, starting a busy three-week period leading up to the start of winter testing in Barcelona.

Launch season in 2021 was a strange affair given the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing teams to get creative, particularly as they were essentially unveiling updated versions of their 2020 models.

But 2022 is a very different story as F1 embarks on the start of a vital new rule cycle that threatens to shake up the pecking order – meaning teams will want to be particularly careful in keeping any creative design pursuits under wraps for as long as possible. It has made online launches the typical route, although some are finding ways to get fans involved and hold physical events.

Teams have taken a variety of different approaches towards launching their cars in recent years. Some like Haas opt for a render drop followed by a look at the real car once testing begins, while others such as McLaren and Mercedes have opted to get on-track straightaway with a shakedown to coincide with the launch – albeit without giving away too much.

The overall presentation has also varied from team to team, but there should be plenty for fans to get excited about in the coming weeks as they cross off the days before testing begins on 23 February.

Haas – 4 February

Haas has a decent track record for snap unveils in recent years, making its announcement on Thursday that it would be revealing its livery with less than 24 hours’ notice no surprise. It is a good way for the team to gain some early coverage and stand out by offering a first glimpse of the 2022 grid – even if it is just the livery, not the car itself – particularly when things are quiet.

Haas switched to the red, white and blue colours of title sponsor Uralkali for last year, and it would be a surprise to see anything major change for the new season. But the VF-22 is a significant car for Haas after its decision not to develop its 2021 model, preferring to throw all of its resources at the new regulations. Barcelona will be the first proper chance to see if it got things right or wrong.

2022 F1 car

Photo by: Formula 1

Red Bull – 9 February

Like Haas, Red Bull also left it relatively late to announce its launch plans, only confirming on Thursday that it would be presenting its RB18 car on 9 February.

In recent years, Red Bull has opted to release a couple of renders and complete a shakedown – with the decision not to issue any actual pictures from last year’s initial runout fuelling intrigue – but plans are in the works for a fan-centric launch this year. The team is set to invite up to 5,000 fans to sign up via its platform to then stream the launch via their own social media channels.

But after such a close fight with Mercedes last year, don’t expect Red Bull to give away too much through the launch as it looks to keep the momentum going from Max Verstappen’s championship win last year.

Aston Martin – 10 February

Aston Martin made a big statement with its launch in 2021, drawing on star power from ambassadors such as Daniel Craig and Tom Brady to kick off the team’s new era in serious style.

On-track, it proved to be a more difficult season as the team slipped to seventh in the constructors’ championship, but team owner Lawrence Stroll has always been clear about the long-term plan in place to build it into a front-running operation.

The AMR22 launch may give Aston Martin another chance to call on the star power of the brand – after all, why not? – but the novelty of its return will be less of a story this year. More important will be the proof of progress heading into the new regulation cycle to prove it is really on the right path.

McLaren – 11 February

McLaren has been one of the first teams to bring back in-person events as the COVID situation has improved, and will continue that trend with a proper launch in Woking on…

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