It’s that time of the year when the latest issue of RACER magazine sets the scene for two of the biggest championships in motorsports, Formula 1 and the NTT IndyCar Series. The points go back to zero, the talking’s over, the testing’s done, and now we get to see who’s got what it takes.
When we’d finished RACER No. 315 and sent it to the printers, we realized it was all about the “re” words: reset, refresh, regroup, return, reorder — and throw in a bit of “reject” and “remonstrate,” of course, this being racing…
On the reset front, Formula 1 introduces its new aerodynamic rules in 2022. The return of full-on ground effects and a simplification of top-surface aero appendages have been formulated to help cars follow and pass, but first signs are that it could shake up the status quo a little, too. Ferrari looked strong in pre-season testing, so the potential for a three-way fight for the championship, along with Red Bull Racing and Mercedes, doesn’t appear to be out of the question.
The “reject” and “remonstrate” bit? On the former, that’s F1’s teams refusing (another “re” there) to add to the number of grid-deciding Sprints in 2022, and on the latter, it’s the continuing tensions and blame-gaming from Red Bull and Mercedes over last year’s controversial Abu Dhabi finale. Move on, guys…
RACER’s 24-page F1 preview section, including feature stories on Lewis Hamilton’s new teammate, George Russell, and Ferrari’s title-contender-in-waiting, Charles Leclerc, sets you up for a season that promises to be fresh, unpredictable and, all fingers crossed, as closely fought as the last one.
NASCAR’s reset is in full swing, too. With a handful of Cup Series races in the book, the new Next Gen car appears to be delivering. RACER followed 23XI Racing through the opening races of the new era and got to see Bubba Wallace come within 0.036s of winning his first Daytona 500.
The Cup Series’ drivers are finding Next Gen a handful, which is always good, and the racing’s been strong. Niggles of a technical nature appear to be minor, so let’s call it a result (yes, another “re”).
In the NTT IndyCar Series, regrouping and refreshing have been an off-season theme, with major changes at the likes of Andretti Autosport and Team Penske. It’s at the latter where it seems to have had the greatest effect, with Scott McLaughlin’s win in the St. Petersburg opener a re-ordering of IndyCar’s on-track hierarchy. Looks like we’re in for a fascinating year, and you can get up to speed on it with our 19 pages of storylines, interviews and every fact and stat you might need.
The return? That’s Robert Wickens, back in a race car again, and back to enjoying the challenges, the frustrations, the elation and even the nerves that come along with it. You can read more about the Canadian’s inspiring comeback with Hyundai in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge in the new issue.
And RACER No. 315 keeps on going, with a look at the introduction of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s new GTD Pro class, a preview of the 2022 SRO America season, and an interview with Yamaha’s reigning MotoGP champ Fabio Quartararo on prospects for a repeat.