Up to Speed: 12 – 13 February 2022

Friday 11 February 2022

With the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship set to electrify Mexico City, Formula 1’s annual launch season taking centre stage in the UK and a new long-term deal for one of Britain’s rising stars, there’s plenty to get up to speed on ahead of the weekend:

ABB FIA Formula E World Championship – Mexico City, Mexico

After a two-year absence, Formula E is set to take centre stage in Mexico City this weekend for the second round of this year’s World Championship.

The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez has hosted the nation’s ePrix on five previous occasions, but since 2020 has been used as a hospital during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Still the only permanent racing facility on the calendar, the 2.6-mile circuit is renowned for its ‘all-rounder’ nature, with several high-speed straights and technical sections, notably through the stadium section at the end of the lap.

Eduardo Mortara (Venturi) and reigning champion Nyck De Vries (Mercedes EQ) arrive separated by four points at the championship summit having won a race apiece in Saudi Arabia last month. Britain’s Jake Dennis (Andretti) sits fourth, three points shy of breaking into the top three.

Over a quarter of the grid in the FIA’s all-electric single-seater series hails from the UK, and Brits will also be keeping a watchful eye on the progress of regular front-runners Sam Bird (Jaguar), Alexander Sims, Oliver Rowland (both Mahindra), Oliver Turvey and newcomer Dan Ticktum (both NIO 333).

Viewers in the UK can watch the ePrix live on Channel 4’s YouTube channel from 21:30 (GMT) on Saturday.

Lando Norris pens long-term deal to commit future to McLaren

Motorsport UK Academy graduate Lando Norris has signed a multi-year contract extension to remain in Formula 1 with McLaren Racing until the end of the 2025 season.

Last season marked something of a breakthrough year for the 22-year-old Brit, as Norris amassed his first pole position, four podium finishes and points in all bar two Grand Prix en route to sixth in the standings.

He will now stay at the Woking-based team for a further four campaigns as the pair target a return to the front under F1’s new technical regulations, extending the relationship that began with his first testing role in the sport back in 2017, before a full-time promotion to a race seat for 2019.

“Teams are about people, and I love the people and feel at home at McLaren. I have grown up in this team and I’m part of this journey we’re all on,” said Norris.

“Last season was another great step, both in my career and the team’s performance, and I see and feel all the work, investment and commitment for the team to be in a position to challenge for wins and titles in the future. This all gives me huge confidence looking forward, so it was a natural decision to extend our relationship for the next few years.”

Formula 1 teams kick off 2022 launch season

Excitement for the start of a new era in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship has begun to grow after the first wave of car launches took place in the UK and abroad this week.

Haas – partially based in Banbury, Oxfordshire – were first to break cover with digital renderings of the all-new VF-22 on Monday, before Red Bull unveiled their own concept two days later in Milton Keynes, complete with new title sponsor Oracle.

Silverstone outfit Aston Martin took center stage on Thursday with the AMR22 and will be the first team to hit the circuit with their new challenger at the host venue of the British Grand Prix on Friday.

McLaren complete a busy week of unveilings, with fans able to watch the launch of the British marque’s four racing programmes – F1, IndyCar, Extreme E and Esports – live on Sky Sports F1 at 19:00 (GMT) on Friday (11 Feb).

The new technical regulations, designed to promote better racing on track, feature a number of changes, including the first-ever introduction of winglets over the wheels, 18-inch tyres and completely re-designed front and rear aerodynamic structures.

Cars will also run on more sustainable fuel, with a 5.75% bio-component, in what Formula 1’s Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds called an “interim step” as the sport looks to reduce it’s carbon footprint to near-net zero.