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Article Highlights:

  • Mercedes narrowly defended the constructors’ championship in the 2021 Formula 1 season
  • Red Bull Racing walked away with the other key F1 honor as Max Verstappen captured the World Drivers’ Championship
  • Mercedes is first out of the gate in announcing preparations for the 2022 season

It’s not as though anyone expected the team to roll over and die after the heartbreaking end to the Formula 1 season, but Mercedes has sent a clear signal to the racing world that it means business next year.

The eight-time defending constructors champion fired off an early warning shot at the other F1 teams, most particularly Red Bull Racing, that it intends to defend one of its series titles and recapture another.

Consider it part of the intermission entertainment as Formula 1 segues from 2021 to 2022.

Mercedes has fired the first salvo of the upcoming Formula 1 season

Mercedes has become the first Formula 1 outfit to acknowledge it has fired up its 2022 car, and the team has video evidence to confirm it. Mercedes gave a brief look at the new W13, though there’s not much to see when it comes to specifics. With rules changes in store for next season, those are details that racing fans are eager to learn, Motorsport points out.

On the other hand, there is a message to rivals that the Mercedes organization likes where it stands in preparing cars for drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, who will be replacing Valtteri Bottas.

Formula 1 preseason testing begins in Barcelona on Feb. 23, though teams likely will unveil their cars shortly beforehand for marketing purposes. The first race of the season is the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 20. The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix follows a week later.

Mercedes defended one title, and it was valuable

Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the No. 44 Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W12  during the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi on Dec. 12, 2021. Lars Baron/Getty Images
Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the No. 44 Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W12 during the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi on Dec. 12, 2021. Lars Baron/Getty Images

Mercedes’ championship run has hit eight seasons now, earning the constructors title every year since 2014. The driver lineup for the first three seasons was Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. The last five crowns have come courtesy of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

The constructors’ championship is both prestigious and lucrative. Formula 1 pool money allocations depend largely on the team standings. So, it’s a case of another championship and another big check for Mercedes.

This time, though, Mercedes faced a close call, edging Red Bull Racing, 613.5-585.5. The margin just one year earlier was a much more convincing 573-319, so the Silver Arrows are feeling some heat these days.

Max Verstappen goes into 2022 as the defending champion

The typical racing fan might take note of the constructors’ championship, but most attention during the season centers on the World Drivers’ Championship. That title changed hands in early December when Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, ending the four-year series reign of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who has seven titles overall.

“The constructors’ is where the money is,” Red Bull principal Christian Horner said, according to The Sports Rush. “That is where the revenues that come into the sport are distributed. Based on your performance in the championship.

“I think every employee within our team, and probably in most of the teams, is rewarded on where they are in the constructors’ championship, as opposed to the drivers.”

Horner can live with that for the just-concluded season.

“I don’t think there’s a single employee within our business that would have traded the first place in the constructors’ for this drivers’ championship.”

In a perfect Red Bull world, they’ll score a sweep next season. However, the opening salvo from Mercedes is a reminder that the perennial No. 1 won’t go down without a fight.

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