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After a memorable 2021, which saw McLaren Racing return to the top step of the Formula 1 podium and have a tilt at the INDYCAR title, you might find it hard to believe that 2022 could be even more exciting. But judging by the fact that we’re going to compete on four, it’s definitely four fronts this year, Formula 1, INDYCAR, Extreme E and esports, 22 has all the ingredients to surpass 21 and here’s why…

Races

Competing in four different series means we’re ready to race in many of motorsport’s most prestigious and talked about events – both in the real and virtual world – from the magic of the Monaco Grand Prix and the exhilarating spectacle of the Indianapolis 500 racing on the enchanting island of Sardinia. Our first race of 22 will be our Extreme E debut in the Saudi town of Neom on the 19thFebruary 20, while our year’s racing exploits will culminate with the F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi on November 20, shortly followed by the F1 Esports Grand Final in December. That means you’re looking at 10 months of wall-to-wall McLaren action.

The choice of race weekends? Most likely 9September 11, when we will return to Monza, the scene of our unforgettable ’21 double, for the Italian Grand Prix, while also competing in the Chilean X Prix and the final round of the INDYCAR season at Laguna Seca Raceway .

In F1 alone we are talking about triple headers, potentially more sprint racing and a return to some of the world’s most revered circuits, such as Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix and Albert Park for racing home of Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian Grand Prix. . The number of F1 Sprint events – a 100km sprint race on Saturday to determine the grid for Sunday’s race – is yet to be confirmed, but with a record 23 grands prix on the calendar, the 2022 campaign will be anything but a sprint. Oh and…

… we are going to Miami

Every race we take part in this year has its own je ne sais quoi, bringing its own special something to a diverse and dynamic motorsport calendar, but the inaugural Miami Grand Prix is ​​a big deal. F1 has never quite cracked America, but rising viewing figures and interest are fueled by Netflix. Drive to survive and McLaren Fan Heist suggest that might be the case. And the first-ever Miami Grand Prix, which will be held on a glittering 5.41km street circuit around Hard Rock Stadium, could be a big part of that. Of course, this won’t be our only visit to the US Sunshine State this year: the INDYCAR season kicks off February 27 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

The drivers

If our list of drivers for 22 doesn’t excite you, we don’t know what will. Lando Norris arrives this year after his best season to date, which saw him claim four podiums, a pole position and a fastest lap; the 22-year-old Briton is a hair’s breadth from a first Grand Prix victory and a fifth place in the drivers’ championship. His star is expected to continue to rise to 22, as is that of Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward. The Mexican not only scored a first INDYCAR victory in 21, but added another to his tally and was in contention for the title until the last lap – having topped the standings earlier in the campaign. He wants more, and another bold offer for the championship is on the cards.

After tasting victory with McLaren at the Italian Grand Prix last season, Daniel Ricciardo is also hungry for success in 22. Despite the highs of last year’s campaign, it was a far from straightforward year for Daniel. It took him a while to get used to the MCL35M, but he’s heading to 22 fully integrated into the team and with a brand new car to play with. An F1 career spanning over a decade will certainly put him in good stead as he seeks to extract the maximum from the MCL36.

As with Daniel, 2022 will be Arrow McLaren SP driver Felix Rosenqvist’s second year with the McLaren Racing family. After acclimating to life on the team in 21, Felix is ​​expected to come out the blocks firing at full throttle this season. When it comes to getting married fast, look no further than Juan Pablo Montoya. The Colombian boasts one of the most enviable resumes of any driver, and after contesting the Indianapolis 500 with Arrow McLaren SP last season in a bid to win the race for the third time in his career, Juan Pablo teamed up with us again to win the illustrious race this year.

We’re in uncharted territory as we take part in the Extreme E off-road electric series for the first time ever, but we’re in good hands with New Zealand Rally Championship winner Emma Gilmour – who competed in the ‘Extreme E last season – and four-time US rallycross champion Tanner Foust at the wheel.

So those are the drivers you’ll see competing for McLaren Racing on the track this year – or off if you’re Emma and Tanner – but there are those who do business in the virtual world, whether it’s the tireless efforts and the countless simulator miles accumulated by our steadfast test and development pilots Oliver Turvey and Will Stevens or our McLaren Shadow esports pilots that we will announce very soon.

New cars and tighter races

The biggest technical regulation changes F1 has seen in decades will usher in a new era for the sport this season. An increased focus on ground effect, larger 18-inch wheels, low-profile tires, an increase in renewable fuel content to 20%, improved aesthetics, and new braking and suspension systems, make of this year’s crop of F1 cars one of the most anticipated in the history of the sport. Additionally, the changes should add up to improve the aerodynamic slipstream, allowing the cars to follow closer and more overtaking.

A word of warning, however: there is no guarantee that the changes will close the field. In fact, throughout the history of F1, regulatory changes have tended to do the opposite, while rule stability has traditionally led to convergence in car design and a reduction in gap between the fastest and slowest cars. Regardless of the impact on the competitive order, apply the new rules correctly and you can steal the show from the opposition. If you get it wrong, you could catch up for 22 and beyond.

Close racing is guaranteed in INDYCAR and F1 Esports. Frequently, swathes of the grid are separated by mere tenths of a second, while cars are often seen three or even four in the case of INDYCAR. Elsewhere, the second season of Extreme E is shaping up to be even closer than the first, as the teams have more control over the cars. The ODYSSEY 21 will be familiar to those who took part in the fledgling series last year, including our very own Emma Gilmour. But the 400kW (550hp) SUV is the first all-electric car we’ve fought with at McLaren, so it’s very new for us. However, we prepared over the winter by testing in one of the harshest environments on the planet… Dorset. And we can’t wait to race.

The race for development

The annual development race in F1 is always fierce as teams look to make improvements to their cars with the aim of overtaking rivals or maintaining a pace advantage. This is often one of the main reasons for variations in performance. And, ultimately, how a team develops over the course of a season tends to have a huge bearing on its fortunes. With completely new cars, the possibilities for development are enormous, and since none of the 22 cars have even turned a wheel, their level of understanding is relatively immature. Teams will learn a great deal as they rack up the miles on the track and keep a close eye out for innovative interpretations from their rivals.

Although there is no development racing as such in INDYCAR, Extreme E and F1 Esports, as all three are spec series, there will always be performance to be found throughout the season. as teams seek to optimize setups to extract every last tenth. .

There you go, don’t say we haven’t told you, 2022 is shaping up to be an unforgettable year. You can follow all the action on McLaren.com, the McLaren app and our social channels: @McLarenF1, @ArrowMcLarenSP, @McLarenXE and @McLarenShadow.

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