Hurrah, it’s back on topic!
Super hard this time to speculate who will come out on top, could be a myriad of reasons that will dictate the order we will see at the first few races of 2022. Firstly as much as the two top teams this year will downplay the effect of the 2021 title battle it must have some downside effect on them. This was a battle fought on all fronts, aerodynamic, engine and suspension by both teams with specific focus on each teams key strengths. Other teams were still busy trying to improve their platforms also, to ether keep championship position earned in 2020 or to improve on it. Some developments introduced during the season were aimed at 2022, Ferrari/ Honda battery upgrade for example. Other teams approached 2021 differently. Alpine for example has not brought anything substantial to the car that will be carried over to 2022. So they will start 2022 with a completely new and untested platform, as a completely new power unit is to be introduced next year, risky? But maybe very developed? Perhaps we will be looking at a team that only has to focus on the chassis and suspension that will capitalise initially, as they only have to take receipt of their power unit, perhaps mclaren or even Williams?
It cannot be dismissed as this is F1 so outfits with dual representation should on paper have a knowledge accumulation advantage with the new cars.
So we’re looking at the two Red bull teams, perhaps Ferrari and Hass also will pool together, due to the sharing of resources, staff and infrastructure there.
Let’s not forget Alfa, who is also under the Fiat umbrella.
This is starting to look like one of the hardest predictions to make for the beginning of an F1 season, and it will probably change throughout the year as the big teams start to fully understand what areas of development bear the most fruit.
So I would favour a larger organisation to initially come out on top, as the accumulation of knowledge spread over multiple teams cannot be ignored.
I would put the Ferrari and it’s satellites as the season opening surprise, then the RB teams. I would guess the merc is a little off in the beginning to come later once the team hit its development stride. Alpine, geez it’s a wildcard!