Tales from the paddock: Dawn of a new era for Formula One

Mar 23, 2022

Latest news from the world of motorsport, including F1 in Bahrain, the IMSA at Sebring and the GT World Challenge at Philip Island

  • This is what happened: Results and facts
  • News from the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport teams
  • Social media news: What’s new online?

This is what happened: Results and facts

  • F1: Lewis Hamilton on the podium at season opener in Bahrain; George Russell in fourth
  • IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Cooper MacNeil finish third at the Sebring International Raceway
  • GT World Challenge Australia: P3 for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in Race 1 at Philip Island
  • Super Taikyu: Runner-up spot for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 at Suzuka

News snippets

Season opener in Bahrain: A new era dawned for F1 in Bahrain last weekend, with a new set of regulations coming into force, a new generation of cars on the grid and an opening race that deviated from the form book. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell made the best of the circumstances and seized their opportunity in the dramatic last few laps to cross the finish line in third and fourth respectively. For Lewis, it was podium 183 of his F1 career and an eleventh at the Bahrain International Circuit. A late safety car deployment together with reliability issues for the cars in front of them gave Lewis and George the chance to maximise their points opportunities.

Jeddah, here we come: After a short space of just five days, the second race weekend of the season gets underway this coming Friday at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is the second fixture on this year’s calendar. The 6.174 km street circuit made its F1 debut just a few months ago on 5 December 2021, when Lewis claimed the win under the floodlights of Jeddah. The seven-time World Champion also secured pole position and the fastest race lap in the penultimate round of the season. His team-mate at the time, Valtteri Bottas, finished third on the podium, while Mercedes newcomer George Russell unfortunately had to retire his Williams on lap 14 after a collision. This year, the race moves from the end of the calendar to the beginning as the second half of a double-header with the curtain-raiser in Bahrain.

New safety car: Last weekend’s season opener in Bahrain also saw the first outing for Bernd Mayländer’s new Official FIA F1 Safety Car®. The safety car has been sporting the three-pointed star on its grille for the past 26 years. During this period, powerful models such as the Mercedes-Benz CL 55 AMG, the Mercedes-Benz C 36 AMG and the spectacular gullwing SLS AMG (specially developed by Mercedes-AMG for the role) have done sterling service. In the 2022 F1 season, the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series (fuel consumption combined: 12.8 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined: 292 g/km)[1] will lead the field for the first time. It will be joined in the paddock by the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4MATIC+ (fuel consumption combined: 13.5-13.0 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined: 308-295 g/km)[2], which is about to make its debut as the Official FIA F1 Medical Car®. The two F1 safety vehicles step up to a new level of engine performance this year, as they take to the track in their customary red livery.

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport celebrates two podiums in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – one overall and one in class: Last weekend, the 6.02km Sebring International Raceway in the US state of Florida hosted the 70th anniversary running of the 12 Hours of Sebring. In this second event of the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing teams claimed one overall and one class podium. Maro Engel (GER), Jules Gounon (FRA) and Cooper MacNeil (USA) staged a remarkable recovery after mechanical problems the day before had relegated them to an anonymous P21 on the starting grid. The trio in the number 97 Mercedes-AMG GT3 fielded by Team WeatherTech Racing put in an outstanding performance to finish the 322-lap endurance classic third overall in the GTD PRO classification. Daniel Juncadella (ESP), Stevan McAleer (GBR) and Mike Skeen (USA) in the number 32 Gilbert/Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 were also on impressive form, crossing the finish line in eighth place, equivalent to P2 in the GTD classification. The result also gave them the lead in the team and driver standings in their class. A further Top Ten finish in GTD was delivered by Michael de Quesada (USA), Maximilian Götz (GER) and Daniel Morad (CAN) in the number 28 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Alegra Motorsports. The strong performances by all of the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing teams elevates the sports and performance car brand from Affalterbach to second place in the manufacturers’ standings, just one point behind the current leaders.

Class win and podium in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge: In Thursday’s second round of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, held as part of the support programme to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport registered two Top Ten finishes and victory number two in the GS Bronze classification. In the two-hour race at Sebring International Raceway, Gary Ferrera and Kris Wilson sharing the cockpit of the #11 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 finished eighth overall and first in the GS Bronze classification. Brent Mosing and Tim Probert in the #65 Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Team Murillo Racing took third in the same class. The number 56 sister car driven by Eric Foss and Jeff Mosing (all USA) finished fourth, missing out on the Top Three by just two tenths of a second.

Successful start to the GT World Challenge Australia: In the first two rounds of the GT World Challenge Australia season at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing teams posted a brace of one-two wins in their class, five Top Three finishes in their class and one overall podium. In Saturday and Sunday’s one-hour sprint races, GWTC debutants Sam Brabham and Ross Poulakis (both AUS) in the number 34 Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Akritas Racing Team took victory in the GT4 class. Mark Griffith, in the #19 Team Griffith Corporation Mercedes-AMG GT4, finished second in the GT4 standings on both days to make it a brace of one-two wins. In the first race, Prince Jefri Ibrahim (MYS) and Shane van Gisbergen (NZL) in the number 888 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Triple Eight Race Engineering fought their way through from twelfth on the grid to a creditable third place in the Pro-Am classification. Michael Sheargold and Garth Walden (both AUS) sharing the cockpit of the number 45 RAM Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 secured second place in the Am class in both races. In the GT Trophy, Vince Murti (AUS) also celebrated a class podium with a third-place finish on Saturday.

Strong performances as the Super Taikyu gets underway: The Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams started the new Super Taikyu season on Sunday with a class win and two class podiums in the five-hour race at the Suzuka International Racing Course. Winners in the ST-Q class were Shintaro Kawabata, Ryo Ogawa and Togo Suganami (all JPN) driving the number 3 Team Endless Sports Mercedes-AMG GT4. In the ST-X classification, the number 23 Team TKRI Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Daisuke Matsunaga, Yuja Motoshima and Yuki Nakayama (all JPN) finished second. Toshihiro Kaneishi, Kakunoshin Ohta and Ryuichiro Otsuka (all JPN) in the number 500 Mercedes-AMG GT4 fielded by Team 5ZIGEN finished the endurance race third in the ST-Z classification.

Social Media News

#2022: Mike Elliott and Hywel Thomas tell us about the main changes to the Formula One cars for the 2022 season.

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#MeetTheJuniorDrivers: We take a behind-the-scenes look at an eventful day for the members of our Junior squad. From factory tours at Brackley and Brixworth to the launch of the W13 at Silverstone.

Watch video:


[1] The stated values were determined according to the prescribed measuring method. These are the NEDC CO2 values as defined in Art. 2 No. 1 of the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1153. The fuel consumption values were calculated on the basis of these values.

[2] The stated figures are the measured "WLTP CO2 figures" in accordance with Article 2 No. 3 Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1153. The fuel consumption figures were calculated on the basis of these figures.

Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Bahrain GP 2022. Lewis Hamilton George Russell
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Bahrain GP 2022. George Russell
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Bahrain GP 2022. George Russell
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Bahrain GP 2022. Lewis Hamilton
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Bahrain GP 2022. George Russell
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Bahrain GP 2022. Lewis Hamilton
Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Bahrain GP 2022.
Sam Brabham and Ross Poulakis, #34 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Akritas Racing Team
#33 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Perfect Auto Body
#65 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Murillo Racing
#11 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Capstone Motorsports
#56 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Murillo Racing
#55 Mercedes-AMG GT4, FCP Euro by Ricca Autosport
Maro Engel, Cooper MacNeil and Jules Gounon, #97 Mercedes-AMG GT3, WeatherTech Racing
#57 Mercedes-AMG GT3, WINWARD Racing
#28 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Alegra Motorsports
#3 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Endless Sports
Mike Skeen, Daniel Juncadella and Stevan McAleer, #32 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Gilbert/Korthoff Motorsports
#23 Mercedes-AMG GT3, TKRI