February sees the important F1 testing sessions taking place. It’s a key part of the countdown to the 2022 F1 season. Sportsbooks have Lewis Hamilton as the favourite to regain the world title, but will he be racing this year?
Mercedes already has one new driver this year. George Russell has replaced Valtteri Bottas and is high in the world title betting. The reigning constructors’ champions will be out to win another title and get that drivers’ title back too. Losing Lewis Hamilton is the last thing they want to see happen.
Actually, no one wants to see it happen. Fans loved seeing the battle between Hamilton and new champion Max Verstappen. It made a change to have a closely fought battle for the title and it was great to place bets on.
F1 is an exciting sport to watch and gamble on. Anything can happen as was seen in Abu Dhabi. If you do want to join a sportsbook to bet on F1, reading a UK betting guide is a great idea
What fans and those participating in F1 want to see is a title race that is fair to all teams. That didn’t seem to be the case in Abu Dhabi, where an almost certain win for Hamilton turned into a one-lap shootout, that even the British driver thought was ‘manipulated.’ Those with bets on Verstappen to win the title probably didn’t complain too much but true fans weren’t happy at what happened.
Now we have an inquiry into just what happened in Abu Dhabi. The result of that is likely to decide whether Lewis Hamilton continues to race or chooses to retire. We all know that Hamilton was disillusioned with what happened in that final race of the 2021 season. It looked as if the title was his but then decisions made off the track changed all of that.
It’s not the kind of start that Mohammed Ben Sulayem wants after taking over as FIA President. A controversial end to the 2021 season can’t be followed by losing one of the greatest drivers of all time.
Mistakes were made in Abu Dhabi by FIA race director Michael Masi. They weren’t just errors that led to a change in the result of the Grand Prix but who won the world title. You can bet that Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton want positive results from the inquiry.
Rules seemed to be being made up as they went along. Heaven knows what bookmakers thought as Verstappen was given a chance to win the race and the world title. Lewis Hamilton loves F1 but only if it’s raced under fair conditions and that didn’t seem to be the case in Abu Dhabi. It seemed that the opportunity to create a one-lap shootout for the title was the target and that’s what happened.
It’s how the FIA inquiry goes that will make up the mind of Lewis Hamilton. To his credit, there’s not been a long interview in which he’s made his views clear. The fact that he and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff didn’t attend the FIA’s prize-giving ceremony speaks volumes though.
Sportsbooks still have him at the top of the market for the 2022 season, so they don’t expect a retirement. If Lewis isn’t happy with the findings of the inquiry and the subsequent actions taken, everything could change. It’s a question of whether Hamilton can trust the FIA to produce a 2022 season that will not see such controversial decisions being made.
If Masi is not replaced, then the odds on Hamilton retiring will shorten. There had already been some disquiet about some of his decisions. If he stayed in his job and more errors were made, you can bet it wouldn’t be long before Abu Dhabi started being mentioned again.
The final decisions will be announced on March 18 at the World Motor Sport Council. That just happens to be the same day as when the first practice day of the season’s first race takes place.
What will Mercedes do if Lewis Hamilton does decide to retire from F1? They will need to find an experienced driver but that’s not going to be the easiest job in the world. There are rumours that Sebastian Vettel might be the man to replace Hamilton, if required.
If a replacement is needed, it may well cost Mercedes a large amount of money. That was the case when Nico Rosberg suddenly retired. Compensation had to be paid to Williams so that Bottas could join Mercedes as his replacement.
Betting on Hamilton to win the 2022 F1 title is a risky business at present. It seems that the removal of Masi would be the action that keeps Hamilton in the sport. If not, then there’s trouble ahead for Mercedes in the coming weeks and months.