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F1 preview: A review of what happened during the 2022 season ahead of the race at COTA

On race day, KVUE will be live-tweeting updates of every nitty-gritty detail on the track. You can follow the play-by-play on Twitter or in this article.

AUSTIN, Texas — The track is warm and the cars are getting revved ... it's time, Formula 1 (F1) racing fans. The red starting flag is about the wave, so you need to be prepped on what to expect on the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) racetrack this weekend.

On race day, KVUE's Sam Searles will be live-tweeting updates of every nitty-gritty detail on the track. You can follow her tweets here or below on Oct. 23:

Something that some new racing fans may not know is that there are certain awards given at certain tracks, as F1 races around the world. The highest earning and award with the biggest allure is the World Constructor's Championship, which is given at towards the end of the season. This year, it will be awarded at COTA. 

This award has prize money in the multimillions, giving way to a number close to $140 million. It is presented by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) to the most successful F1 constructor over the course of the season, which is determined by how many points are earned from winning each Grand Prix. Other teams do receive a portion, but the biggest portions go to the teams with the most points earned. 

As of right now, the team with the best chance for the Constructor's Championship is Red Bull Racing, as they have earned 619 points throughout the season thanks to Max Verstappen. Closely behind that is Ferrari, which sits at 454 points this season. Ferrari would have to pull a miracle to surpass Red Bull for the first-place title, but winning second and third in Constructor's Championship still awards the teams monetary gain – so it's not a total loss.

The last race, at the Japan Grand Prix, awarded Verstappen not only first place but the World Drivers' Championship title. This title is given to the driver that has been the most successful during the season, which is determined by the number of points accrued for winning each Grand Prix. Verstappen has earned the first-place title at 12 of the races this year and each win earns between 25 and 35 points. 

An important thing to note about accruing points is that drivers can earn points even if they do not get first place. If a driver places within the top 10, they will be given at least one point. The higher the place, the more points given. 

Overall, the race in Japan was considered by most fans as a "complete disaster" due to the heavy rain and safety car issues. Drivers only completed 75% of the race after having to restart once the initial red flag was flown due to the torrential downpour on Oct. 9. To add more fuel to the fire, the crash Carlos Sainz experienced led to an almost duplicate lethal crash that occurred in 2014.

Sainz fell victim to the rain, crashing on the opening lap and leading to his fifth DNF (did not finish). A safety car, or recovery tractor, was sent out even with drivers still out on the track. Drivers were still driving at high speeds, with particular attention being given to Pierre Gasly. Gasly sped by the safety car, which led fans and commentators to bring an immediate comparison to Jules Bianchi's fatal crash into a safety car in 2014 – on similar wet road conditions.

With the race at COTA this year, it's any drivers game, but it leans more toward Verstappen winning – after all, he has won 12 of the 22 races. This is a total 180 from the 2021 race here in Austin, with the race being a tennis match between Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen; every single lap they switched placements from second to first and vice versa until a nail-biting finish of Verstappen taking the crown.

Speaking of Hamilton, his trajectory this season has flipped from being dominant in almost every race in 2020 and 2021 to not winning a single first-place placement. In 2020 alone, Hamilton won 11 races and ended the season with 347 points. Flash forward to this season, Hamilton is ranked sixth and has only accrued 180 points. 

This "fall from grace," some would say, is due to a myriad of car issues that Mercedes has had this year. From the car being too low to the ground and suffering multiple spinal injuries, this season has not been kind to Hamilton. 

These are the standings for the racers going into Sunday's race:

  • 1: Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
    • 366 points
    • Grand Prix won: 12
  • 2: Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing
    • 253 points
    • Grand Prix won: 2
  • 3: Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
    • 252 points
    • Grand Prix won: 3
  • 4: George Russell, Mercedes 
    • 207 points
    • Grand Prix won: 0
  • 5: Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
    • 202 points
    • Grand Prix won: 1
  • 6: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
    • 180 points
    • Grand Prix won: 0
  • 7: Lando Norris, McLaren Mercedes
    • 101 points
    • Grand Prix won: 0
  • 8: Esteban Ocon, Alpine Renault
    • 78 points
    • Grand Prix won: 0
  • 9: Fernando Alonso, Alpine Renault
    • 65 points
    • Grand Prix won: 0
  • 10: Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo Ferrari
    • 46 points
    • Grand Prix won: 0
  • 11: Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes
    • 32 points
    • Grand Prix won: 0
  • 12: Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren Mercedes
    • 29 points
    • Grand Prix won: 0
  • 13: Pierre Gasly, Alphatauri RBPT
    • 23 points
    • Grand Prix won: 0
  • 14: Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari
    • 22 points
    • Grand Prix won: 0
  • 15: Lance Stroll, Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes
    • 13 points
    • Grand Prix won: 0
  • 16: Mick Schumacher, Haas Ferrari
    • 12 points
    • Grand Prix won: 0
  • 17: Yuki Tsunoda, Alphatauri RBPT
    • 11 points
    • Grand Prix won: 0
  • 18: Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo Ferrari
    • 6 points
    • Grand Prix won: 0
  • 19: Alexander Albon, Williams Mercedes
    • 4 points
    • Grand Prix won: 0
  • 20: Nicholas Latifi, Williams Mercedes
    • 2 points 
    • Grand Prix won: 0
  • 21: Nyck De Vries, Williams Mercedes
    • 2 points 
    • Grand Prix won: 0
  • 22: Nico Hulkenberg, Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes
    • 0 points
    • Grand Prix won: 0


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