Russell sees five teams 'doing something special' in 2022, predicts early season shocks

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George Russell believes there are five Formula 1 teams capable of "doing something special" thanks to the 2022 rule changes.

This year sees a major overhaul in car design, with a greater emphasis on ground-effect aerodynamics expected to promote closer racing as the decades-old issue of dirty air is greatly reduced.

As with every big change in regulations in F1, there is also the possibility of the traditional competitive order being shaken up and Russell sees two teams who definitely could join the championship fight.

"A team like Ferrari, who have been through a difficult period over the last two years, are going to be so hungry, especially with the new rule changes, to come back fighting," he said via

"Similar with McLaren as well. These teams have got the infrastructure, they've got the talent within the engineering departments, within the drivers as well, to really, really fight."

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However, Russell expects other teams could also enjoy some early-season success this year.

"I truly believe there are probably five teams all capable of really doing something special, so you've got to be absolutely on it," he continued.

"I’m sure there will be some interesting designs out there and might be some underdogs who prevail in the opening tests or races.

"But I think the development is going to be so key this year. It's not going to be whoever has the fastest car at the Barcelona test or Bahrain race.

"It's whoever manages to understand their car well, and can develop and build from those foundations throughout the year, and I think all of the teams are going to make big progress from race one to the end of the season."

2022 is also a very significant year for Russell, as he takes the big leap from Williams to Mercedes alongside Lewis Hamilton.

And he is aware of the added workload that will come with racing for the eight-time consecutive Constructors' champions.

“I think this year will be the most intense of my life in terms of the racing schedule, but also from an off-track and marketing side of things,” the 23-year-old admitted.

“Going from Williams, where I’ve been pretty fortunate in a way, not having to do so many marketing activities just because of the nature of the position we’ve been in, to Mercedes, where we’ve got tons of sponsors and lots of commitments drivers need to attend to.

“This will be also off the back of COVID. With all the drivers and all the teams, it will all ramp up because the partners have missed out on 18 months’ worth of activity. From a racing side and off-track side, it will be incredibly intense.

“I will hit the ground running mid-to-end of January, put everything on the table and go for it.”