Bahrain GP: Ross Brawn 'delighted' with opener and says F1 set for 'glorious year' with feisty new cars
Formula 1's season-opening Bahrain GP included plenty of wheel-to-wheel battles in new cars, with Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen dazzling in fight for the lead; F1 2022 continues this weekend with Saudi Arabian GP, live on Sky Sports F1
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 21/03/22 9:06am
Formula 1 chief Ross Brawn said he was "delighted" with the racing on show in the season-opening Bahrain GP, while Sky Sports F1's Damon Hill believes the wheel-to-wheel battles proved the all-new cars are "on the right track".
F1 has undergone a huge technical rules overhaul for the 2022 season with new cars completely re-designed in a bid to improve racing and overtaking opportunities.
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The 20 new machines had their debut on Sunday at the Bahrain GP and, promisingly, drivers did find it easier to follow one another and there were plenty of head-to-head fights, such as Charles Leclerc vs Max Verstappen for the lead.
"We're delighted," F1's managing director of motorsport Brawn, who has overseen the huge changes, told Sky Sports F1.
"It is the first race so we'll have to be careful, but all the signs are we've moved in the direction we wanted to move in and the ability of the cars to race each other, from what we've seen, is improved.
"I think in the past we've always focused on cost, safety, performance - but now we should focus on raceability because there's never been any attention paid to it. We need to do that now, we need to do that in the future."
Hill, the 1996 world champion, was also impressed by what he saw.
"It was very exciting, and it also showed that the cars could race," said the Sky F1 pundit.
"The early laps of the race were very very tight and you could see cars race wheel to wheel in a way we haven't seen them before. They're on the right track there."
F1 set for 'glorious year' with 'three front-running teams'
The new rules weren't just implemented to improve the quality of racing; they were also refreshed in a bid to close up a grid that has stretched apart in recent years, with Mercedes winning the last eight constructors' titles.
Again, the early signs were positive. Ferrari won their first race since 2019 and teams who struggled last year - such as Haas and Alfa Romeo - shone.
"When you make different regulations you can have big performance differences when you get going again," explained Brawn. "But what I'm very pleased about is that the changes we made, we managed to place restrictions in certain areas which means the whole field is quite close.
"There's a few teams who have got it wrong, and I'm sure they'll come back quickly, but at the front I think we've got three really strong front-running teams."
Indeed, it appears Ferrari are heading a three-team battle with Red Bull and Mercedes right now.
"It is pleasing to see them competitive," said Brawn of Ferrari, who he famously enjoyed success with in the 1990s as technical chief. "But they're not a mile away.
"Red Bull will get it right and find a few tenths and I'm sure Mercedes will sort it out. I think we're going to have a glorious year."
Follow the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sky Sports
Sky Sports F1 is your home for every race this season, and it continues with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix next weekend.
We will have build-up right through the week before covering all the action live from Friday's first practice at 2pm with the second practice session following at 5pm.
Saturday's practice is at 2pm with qualifying at 5pm before Sunday's race starts at 6pm in the UK. Sky Sports F1 will be on air from 4.30pm to build up to the action.
As always, you can also follow the action online on the Sky Sports App.
The Formula 1 season continues on Friday on Sky Sports F1 with the Saudi Arabian GP. Sunday's race starts at 6pm. Find out more & subscribe.