Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

Ferrari could be “several months ahead” with their 2022 car – Hamilton

2022 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton expects Ferrari has seized an opportunity to make more progress early on with the development of their new car for 2022 than Mercedes did.

His Mercedes team were locked in a championship fight with Red Bull which ran until the final race of last season. While the two teams continued work on their 2021 cars, Hamilton expects Ferrari and other teams focused on their new machines for 2022 earlier.

“You would assume that Ferrari perhaps didn’t do much development of that car and just put everything into this year’s car,” he said. “So does that mean that they’re several months ahead? Or a team is several months ahead of everyone? We’ll wait and see.”

Hamilton is relishing the intrigue created by one of the biggest changes in F1’s regulations which was introduced during the off-season. All 10 teams are in action at the Circuit de Catalunya today and many different solutions to the new rules have appeared. Hamilton stopped by the garages of some teams including rivals Red Bull earlier today.

“Just this morning arriving and walking down the pit lane and seeing all the different cars, I think it’s one of the most exciting and interesting seasons that we’ve ever embarked on,” he said. “So it’s interesting to see where everyone comes out and where we stand at the start in the first race.”

“This is a really exciting time,” he added. “We don’t know where everything stands at the moment.

“But I do hope that these rules deliver what Ross [Brawn, F1 motorsport director] showed us years ago in terms of closer racing. It’s definitely puts everyone hopefully on a more level playing field.”

He dismissed the suggestion Mercedes could have gone in the wrong development direction with its 2022 car while it was preoccupied with the title fight last year.

“My team don’t make mistakes,” he said. “Of course, there is always a risk, but we don’t make mistakes.

“We’ve got very intelligent people back at our factory, I trust them 100 percent. And whatever we start with today, whether good or bad, we will work through it. And we’ve always had a great development plan and workforce.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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58 comments on “Ferrari could be “several months ahead” with their 2022 car – Hamilton”

  1. Yes, but in which year?

    1. Technically the car looks like it’s from the eighties-nineties. They have italian leader and a french speaking young race winner. Jean Todt is linked with them. A young Schumacher is maybe driving for them in the near future. They haven’t won championship over a decade. Their leader past away in a year that ended with XXX8..

      1. @qeki
        The reports from Italy suggested that John Elkann has decided against hiring John Todt a senior consultant who proposed his services to the red team. Before those reports broke, I’ve read an interesting statement by Briatore in which he said that the role of a consultant is a total nonsense because you need to live the experience inside the F1 team.
        I don’t know if John has listened to Flavio or not, but it doesn’t look like a coincidence for me knowing that Flavio is a also friend with the Agnelli family…

    2. The trouble with being several months ahead is that they’ll hit the summer shutdown in March, and finish the season in September.

  2. Hoping Ferrari are the leaders, car looks awesome! But also love the Mclaren too so hopeful of a Ferrari vs Mclaren “ding dong” this season.

  3. These days the only Ferrari that is ahead is the champagne namesake.

  4. Not to mention Haas, who did zero development on 2021 car so are real threat as well this year.

    Yes, Mercedes are definately the underdogs right now, but how heroic it will be if they manage to overcome those odds (and with biased stewarda no less)!!

    1. +1 Underdogs yes, but Hamilton looks to have come out fighting. If the Mercedes’ is as close to the RedBull as it was last year then he’ll have it wrapped up early. He’s sounding very punchy this year. Hopefully he and the other drivers don’t stand for any more of Verstappens none sense and we get to see some good clean racing.

      1. Noframingplease (@)
        23rd February 2022, 18:25

        Ahhh,… yeah, it’s that ‘dirty’ and ‘aggressive’ Verstappen against the rest of the world. I see that the framing ‘he is so aggressive’ worked on you.

        1. Ask Albon something about clean racing. Your Ser Lewis owes him two wins. 2/2 is their score at the moment. He’s clean only when he’s not fighting anyone, and that’s how past few years look like (except for the last season, when he lost, and 2016. when he also lost). Maybe it’s the car, not Hamilton after all.

          P.S. I don’t really think this way, Hamilton is fantastic, but I just want to counter your extreme and blinded views with something equally shallow.

    2. Mercedes are underdogs? lol

    3. Lol, was just gonna post the same thing!

      “You would assume that Hass perhaps didn’t do much development of that car and just put everything into this year’s car… So does that mean that they’re several months ahead?”

      Nope :)

      1. Coventry Climax
        24th February 2022, 1:23

        Might be a typo, as the ‘a’ and ‘s’ are next to each other, but nonetheless:
        Hass is a type of avocado. The F1 car is named Haas, as in Gene Haas.

        1. Haha, that’s amazing. I neither noticed the typo, or new that fact! 😀

  5. For sure we’ll just have to see, but one of the things that has me doubting that Ferrari, as the example being set out by LH in his quotes, has an upper hand due to concentrating on this car perhaps earlier or with more resources than Merc and RBR theoretically did in 2021, is that all the teams had already started on their projects, as these cars were to be introduced last year. They all had to put their projects on pause due to the pandemic.

    So for me, I’m not convinced Ferrari has an upper hand, and of course I could be wrong, but I just think Mercedes and RBR are well capable of running a competitive season and working on the next years car at the same time, and as well they had all started their work back in 2020 anyway. I’d probably be more agreeable about a team such as Ferrari getting a jump if they had all only just started building these cars during the 2021 season.

    1. @Robbie, what will be interesting now we have budget caps is whether or not any team can re-engineer out any shortfalls.

      Traditionally if one of the big teams found itself lacking, and one was streets ahead in testing, they’d spend obscene amounts of money catching up. They can’t do that any more and with such a diverse array of “solutions” it’s possible someone might get caught out, although I suspect all have been relatively conservative in their builds to allow for tweaking once they see what works and what doesn’t.

      I’m loving it so far.

  6. I’m expecting another Mercedes v Red Bull season but would be beyond delighted of we got Ferrari v McLaren, or even a four horse race, instead.

    1. @sonnycrockett That would be incredible, and for me if it is that close, my money is on Max, no surprise lol.

    2. @sonnycrockett
      Hope its a four car race this year as well! That would be amazing. I’m not quite sold on the McLaren yet but its super hard to tell what the pecking order is atm.

    3. If one of the 4 is Alpine, my money would be in Alonso.

      Whenever Fernando Alonso had a car to fight for a title, he was the best driver on the grid. He may have lost his single lap edge, but he is still right up there with Max and Lewis come sunday afternoon.

      1. Even if Alpine proves to be the third fastest car, I can see Alonso being in the hunt. He rarely makes mistakes and is somehow manages to maximise the result on most weekends….I can’t think of a more consistently driver.

        Sadly…I doubt this will be the case. I hope it will, but I have serious doubt.

  7. And so it begins. Mercedes already playing up the competition, as they do every year. Do people still fall for this?

    1. I don’t, this is why: “16:47 Hamilton set a purple first sector on his most recent lap, but backed out…”

    2. Did you actually read the whole article or you stopped at the headline?

      1. @emma you assume OP can: a) read b) understand c) reason d) communicate. 0/4 so far.

      2. It looks like RaceFans is trying as much as they can to feed the frenzy with these out of context quotes.

        1. Have to admit I got surprised too by the headline in this case, was about to say something about mercedes underplaying themselves too.

  8. Neither did Merc do much development based on their words. I’m more reserved on RBR.
    We’ll see when the season begins.

  9. Just a variation of Bono, my tires are gone..

  10. Funfact: “several months” of development by Ferrari actually work out to a change in difference of about 0.75 seconds in Mercedes favour

    1. @mrboerns ↑This↑ As much as I’d love to see Ferrari in the mix, because it’s Ferrari I expect they’ve just somehow managed to get something catastrophically wrong somewhere along the line. Or at least, if they do have the quickest car, they’ll find a way to drop the ball somewhere in the course of the season.

      It is very pretty though. So it’s definitely a Ferrari. It’s just probably broken in some way or another.

      1. “it’s probably broken in some way or another” Let’s not even begin on Ferrari strategists!!

  11. Let the Mercedes underdog spiel begin.

    Gonna be such an uphill battle, they’re gonna be so far off the pace. Title has gone.
    Then…overnight…feverishly working into the small hours….. ‘magic’ will happen.

    Just such an incredible bunch of heroic heroes. And Lewis is the hero-ist of all.

    1. It’s a PR campaign mate.

    2. We’re probably played by the media. It could be he was just asked and didnt launch the underdog narrative on purpose. RB was in there fighting as well last year, the third team (Ferrari) wasn’t so they would be the ones to eye.

  12. The Ferrari looks amazing this year, I can’t wait to see all the teams in action!!!
    What I especially found funny was HAM comment about Mercedes/his team does not make mistakes.
    Sure seems to me they botched the pitstop/tire change strategy at the last race… :)

    1. Wouldn’t call that a mistake, with hindsight mercedes was such a good car the last race, and hamilton seemed in better form (it was verstappen losing the lead with a bad start) that they could’ve stopped during the VSC, lost track position and repassed at some point before the end, but they didn’t expect latifi’s crash, in that situation it was always gonna be a risk for whoever leads and nothing to lose for whoever is 2nd.

  13. Ferrari could develop the car 1 or 2 years ahead but if they don’t have the brains of the RBR and Merc Engineers then it would not make any difference. In this era of aerodynamics, ferrari has not developed a car that has a great aero package. Specially right now we have ground effects, they will trail even more. Not to mention their engine being third best.

  14. We are the underdogs, my friends
    And we’ll keep on fighting till the end
    We are the underdogs
    We are the underdogs
    No time for losers
    ‘Cause we are the underdogs of the World

  15. “Of course, there is always a risk, but we don’t make mistakes.”

    No Lewis, your team just never admit it.

    1. @stn

      Hahah…good one, I was going to say famous last words…but this is even better.

      I’d just like to see what will happen if Merc prove to be slower than Ferrari, RB and Mclaren….I really would like to see the response. I can imagine all sorts of insinuations about cheating.

      If I remember correctly, last year, a certain team boss and his driver pretty much accused their primary rival of cheating when said rival made serious gains.

      1. @jaymenon10, me too, me too. I have a gut feeling the era of Mercedes domination is over. Toto wasn’t looking confident (to say the least) at the press conference yesterday, sitting next to Horner, after Toto saw RBR car at the morning.

        1. @stn

          I can’t remember which team boss said it last year. Whoever said it effectively pointed out that Toto Wolff has no experience in running an F1 team. He was gifted a world class team structure well established by Ross Brawn and took it to greater heights, which in itself is a respectable feat, but, it is nothing like building a team from scratch or lows to great heights, or having gone through the grind up and down the pit lane.

          With this, comes the fact that he never experienced a poor campaign, or even being challenged in the way they were last season. He did not react well at all to pressure last year, in fact he went out of his way to leave open goals for Christian Horner. Having said this, Toto is a smart man and I’m sure he is capable of learning.

          However, when you’ve only experienced highs, it can be quite hard when you fall.

          I’d be more than happy to see Toto, Mercedes, Lewis et al. hold themselves up high and react in a positive way should they find themselves on the backfoot. I really hope they dont resort to childish jibs and jabs. The thing with RB is, they’ve always resorted to mind games and childish behaviour, its almost part of their DNA, and they dont try to hide it. Whereas Mercedes are intent on holding the moral high ground, while throwing cheap jabs….which I find rather annoying.

          1. This is why his comments about Andretti ‘Proving their worth’ really wrangled at me. F1 being a closed shop is such a terrible idea….. and it only stems from the top teams not wanting to share anymore of the prize money. Toto seems to forget that he bought his way into F1. And Mercedes originated as BAR, who were a new team start up. It was 6 years before BAR proved their worth……… and this is Andretti we are talking about, not Caterham. I would love for Merc and Red Bull to be nowhere this year and the title battles to be between Ferrari and McLaren.

          2. Based on last season, we can expect the worst from Mercedes. But I sincerely hope it will not be the case and they will be graceful should they not be winning everything again. Toto must have done some reflection during the break you would think.

  16. The red and black 2022 Ferrari is a looker, isn’t it?! It looks awesome on track, my favorite dare I say. I’d love to see a three-way fight this year.

    1. Coventry Climax
      24th February 2022, 1:29

      Sorry, disagree.

  17. I often think, when reading these articles, that maybe it would be helpful if the context of the remarks was mentioned, i.e. “There was a press conference, there were questions, some of the questions were silly, these quotes are based on answers to those questions”.
    Many commenters seem to assume the drivers just volunteer these remarks, and then criticise the driver.
    F1 channels on youtube often have the conferences so you can see the context.

    1. e.g. one question to Sir Lewis was “Do you fear your team will build a car which is not capable to win the championship?” – and he pointed out they have won 8 in a row. “Why would I ever feel that way?” Reporter: “because they can make a mistake building that car.” – Lewis: “My team don’t make mistakes.” [laughter in room] “Of course there is always a risk.”
      So the reporter asked about “your team”, the reply was “my team” – first person singular. The reply was a confident, good humored answer.

      1. the thing is, the question that lead to Sir Hamilton’s remarks was kinda volunteering it. Lewis didn’t really answer the question presented which was along the lines of “do you think the the new race directors and new rules, etc., will provide more clarity in areas such as track limits and whats allowable with regards running opponents off track (aka not giving racing room)” (sorta paraphrasing here). Lewis answered with stewards bias and then latter after Zhou’s input/answer jumped in and remarked with needing more diversity and women in the stewards room race director roles. So yeah, Lewis did volunteer that.

        1. sorry wrong posting

      2. That question regarding Lewis’s team providing a bad car was ridiculous. Kinda liked Lewis’s no BS response to that.

  18. Coventry Climax
    24th February 2022, 1:57

    We have yet to find out which direction is the correct one,
    but what’s a headstart worth, if it turns out you’ve taken off in the wrong direction?

    This is not about making early decisions, it is about making the right decisions.
    Somehow, I feel that’s not Ferrari’s best feature.

  19. Never believe anything that is being said by Hamilton or Wolfe – they have proven to tell lies as it suits them.
    Such a disappointment that a multi world champion spends so much time complaining, moaning, whining and lying.

      1. It’s absolutely true, you can find lies everywhere if you note what mercedes say, for example tyres are gone, then fastest on track, or we won’t develop the car any more this year, and then they outdevelop red bull, which is a team known to have a strong in season development, and that was hard focusing on their first championship in 8 years.

      2. Or a recent case also, hamilton could leave following abu dhabi events, then after a few weeks he said there was never any doubt about hamilton staying, so that’s even an admission of lying.

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