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goes into 2022 with a new generation of cars due to the overhaul in technical regulations, seeing a return to ground-effect formula, with the aerodynamic rule alterations aimed to make cars easier to follow and therefore produce closer and more exciting racing. Here’s a full explanation on the new F1 car rules.
While pre-season testing is typically difficult to gauge which teams are on top and which teams are struggling, the overriding conclusions pointed to both Red Bull and Ferrari having the strongest packages. Both Mercedes and McLaren have also been put in the fight at the front but each is facing problems with its respective cars under the new rules.
Mercedes is struggling with the porpoising phenomenon as it continues to search for a solution without compromising the set-up of its W13, which ran with an extremely small sidepod design at the Bahrain test, while McLaren is suffering with a front brake problem that restricted its long runs last week. Daniel Ricciardo, who missed the Bahrain test, also remains a doubt having tested positive for COVID-19 last week and is facing a race against time to be declared fit for Bahrain GP.
Replacing him in the AMR22 will be Reserve Driver Nico Hulkenberg, who will be in the car from FP1 onwards.”
Hulkenberg is the team’s reserve driver and has stood in for them three times already since he last raced full time in F1 with Renault in 2019.
The 34-year-old replaced Mexican Sergio Perez twice and Canadian Lance Stroll once in 2020 when the Silverstone-based team competed as Racing Point, with both drivers testing positive for COVID-19.
His last race was the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring, when he replaced Stroll.
The 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours winner has started 179 Formula One grands prix, without standing on the podium, in a career that began with Williams in 2010 and included stints with Aston Martin’s predecessors Force India.
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He holds the F1 record for most starts without a top three finish.
Sunday’s race is the start of a new era for Formula One, with a major aerodynamic revamp and the cars heavier and with bigger tyres.
Vettel is the second driver to test positive for COVID-19 this month, with McLaren’s Australian later on Thursday after a period of isolation.
Formula One has relaxed its previously tight COVID-19 protocols this season.
The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah follows on from Bahrain next week and there was no word from Aston Martin about plans for that race.