As Verstappen cruises to F1 crown, which other title fights are worth watching?

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There may be six more grands prix over the next two months, but it’s almost a foregone conclusion that Max Verstappen will win the 2022 Formula 1 world championship.

Verstappen can clinch his second title in Singapore next week. When he does, he will join the growing number of top single-seater championship who’ve already been crowned this year.

Stoffel Vandoorne won the Formula E title in August. IndyCar already has a champion too, Will Power claiming his second title earlier this month, while Linus Lundqvist took the Lights crown.

On the F1 support bill there’s not much to fight for either, as the Formula 3 season concluded at Monza with Alpine junior Victor Martins being crowned, and new Aston Martin junior Felipe Drugovich also wrapped up his Formula 2 title early that weekend.

W Series returns to action next month at the Singapore Grand Prix. But it has a Verstappen-like scenario of its own, where it looks unlikely anyone will stop Jamie Chadwick from winning the title for the third season in a row.

Even in Super Formula, Japan’s top-level open-wheel series, there is an unusual level of domination that means Tomoki Nojiri could become a two-times champion with a race to spare.

So where in the world can you find a proper title fight right now if you’re a single-seater fan?

Kotaka is striving to hold off Ohta in Japanese Super Lights
The good news is while Super Formula may have become somewhat predictable, its F3-level feeder series SF Lights has shed its reputation of single-driver domination. The title fight between Toyota-backed Kazuto Kotaka and Honda junior Kakunoshin Ohta to be settled at Okayama this weekend.

Kotaka has seven race wins to Ohta’s two, but the less experienced Ohta has won more poles. He’s 13 points behind, with 35 to play for in the season finale.

Japanese Formula 4 also has a hotly-contested fight at the front between Honda juniors Yusuke Mitsui and Syun Koide, and Toyota junior Rin Arakawa who just about remains in contention with two rounds to go. They could continue their rivalry in SF Lights next year, or Honda could decide to send its top two drivers over to Europe as it did with Red Bull juniors Yuki Tsunoda and Ayumu Iwasa.

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With a prize F3 test up for grabs, the battle for the GB3 title between 2020 British F4 champion Luke Browning and 2020 Formula Nordic champion Joel Granfors is definitely one to watch. They’re split by 16.5 points with just one round at Donington Park next month to go.

On their support bill is GB4, Britain’s second F4 series. This boasts a five-way fight heading to Donington, but current points leader Nikolas Taylor and Max Marzorati are the most realistic title contenders. Regardless of who wins, this series in particular is bound to produce very close racing.

Antontelli’s lead in Germany’s F4 series could be overhauled
Germany’s ADAC F4 series has a runaway leader in Mercedes junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli, but he is unlikely to contest the final round at the Nürburgring next month. That gives a chance for former Nico Rosberg protege Taylor Barnard to overhaul him in the points table.

In US F4 there are enough races left to run to provide a long list of contenders, while Danish F4 is another series where the title fight will hinge on the top two in the standings both turning up to the final round.

Hugh Barter has been left on the back foot in the French F4 title fight as he was ineligible to score points at two events due to prior circuit experience. But his form suggests he can overturn his 32-point deficit to Alessandro Giusti, which will likely set up a final-race showdown for the crown at Paul Ricard next month.

Finally, one of the most intriguing series hasn’t even started yet. Australia’s S5000 Tasman Series uses cars based on a Formula Regional-spec chassis, like W Series, but fitted with a 560bhp Ford Coyote V8 engine. It has revived the Tasman name used in the sixties for a winter series which many F1 drivers contested.

It’s likely that several professional racing drivers, as well as rising talents from junior single-seaters and the southern hemisphere’s stock car scene, will take part as the three-round series visits three iconic tracks. Former IndyCar street venue Surfers Paradise kicks off the action with races on the streets of the Queensland coast at the end of October, then the fearsome Mount Panorama circuit holds round two in November.

Finally, S5000 will support Australian Supercars on the streets of Adelaide, which previously hosted F1, in December. If its five-round series earlier this year is anything to go by, expect plenty of action.

Over to you

Which of these series will you be watched? And are there ay title fights outside of the single-seater world you’ve got your eye on?

Let us know in the comments.

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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19 comments on “As Verstappen cruises to F1 crown, which other title fights are worth watching?”

  1. It’s crazy how much ADAC F4 is struggling that title contenders would rather focus on Italian F4 and British F4 campaigns. Germany had German F3 and ADAC F4/Masters for so long, now it might end up with no junior championships if ADAC F4 dies. Meanwhile, UK has Formula Ford, F4, GB4, GB3 and are looking to add more in the coming years. Plus, no promising German drivers in junior formulae, and F1 in 2023 might have no Germans on the grid too.

  2. Yes, Max is cruising to a crown. Yes, its not great.
    But I wonder where the hell where this kind of articles during the very boring 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 campaigns where Hamilton coastes to championships. Especially 2019 and 2020 where he was virtually unopposed.

    Max cruising to a WDC is bad. But still nowhere near as bad as watching it happen with Lewis for the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, consecutive year. It’s objectively better right now.

    1. @ajpennypacker Objectively better, how? I don’t see any difference in how Max is about to win this season’s championship versus how Lewis won in the seasons you mentioned, especially in 2019 & ’20.
      I also add Seb’s 2011 & ’13 WDC runs.
      Predominantly similarly dominant championship wins by a single driver in all cases.

      1. Verstappen had to fight hard early in the year, also having bad reliability, and now I don’t see perez coming 2nd, how can we call this a dominant car?

        1. @esploratore1 The same with HAM in 2017 & ’18, & Seb in ’13.

    2. @ajpennypacker “But I wonder where the hell where this kind of articles during the very boring 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 campaigns”

      There used to be “weekend wrap-up” articles with brief reports from other classes, this kind of fills that role.

  3. Which of these series will you be watched?
    – I watch SF occasionally, whenever not sharing a weekend with F1, so next time next year.
    I also intend to watch IndyCar again someday, but for now, W Series on either COTA or Mexico City weekend to see what the on-track racing is like in this series, like my experiment with IndyCar back in February for the St. Petersburg opener.

    And are there any title fights outside of the single-seater world you’ve got your eye on?
    – No, as WRC also has a similar situation to F1 with one driver about to win the championship dominantly, but likewise to F1, hopefully, a tighter battle next year.

  4. MotoGP is shaping up to be an exciting fight till the end. It’ll be very interesting to see if Ducati does finally take the title.

    1. I’m still holding out hope for Aleix :P

  5. Somewhat odd to see minor regional series but no mention of the other FIA World Championship over at the WEC, where Toyota (Hartley, Hirakawa & Buemi) are tied (!) with Alpine (Negrão, Vaxivière & Lapierre); the title deciding 8 hours of Bahrain is in early November.

    The battle for the last GTE title is also pretty close between AF Corse (Calado & Pier Guidi) and Porsche (Estre, Christensen) with Porsche’s Bruni not far behind. The LMP2 field is a bit more spread out, with Jota (Félix da Costa, Gonzálesz & Stevens) looking a sure bet for the title ahead of United Autosports (Pierson & Jarvis).

    1. You make an excellent point!

  6. The British Touring Car Championship is set up for a great finale. Silverstone is this weekend, and then Brands Hatch in two weeks time. The title contenders are the BMW pair of Colin Turkington, the reliable safe pair of hands who always maximises the available points, and his teammate Jake Hill who is considerably faster than Turkington but far more error-prone. Also in the mix are two FWD cars, Tom Ingram in the Hyundai who has been so close in the past and is great to watch, and Ash Sutton in the Ford, the best driver in the worst of the four cars. Current points: Turkington 311, Sutton 305, Ingram 293, Hill 288. I have no idea who will win it.

    1. @f1frog I’m baffled that Turkington is top of the standings again. I feel like he’s been underwhelming all season, but here he is, top of the shop. Sutton and Ingram have been a delight to watch, always exciting with action, but somehow Turkington is Mr Consistent. It blows my mind that he could be the 1st with a 5th title!

  7. Keen for the S5000 series. Those cars look like a real handful.

    1. They sound good too. Is there anything that Australians won’t try and wedge a V8 into?

  8. OK, so the WDC is pretty much decided.

    That’s been pretty much the norm for a lot of seasons, but it doesn’t mean people don’t want to watch F1.

    Whilst I’ll still miss a few races (sprints definitely) because of an overloaded calendar, there’s still plenty of interest for me. Positions 2 thru 10 are still in play, will Mercedes make any progress, will Ferrari sort out its issues, will Dan Ric find some form etc etc – still lots to watch for.

    If you’re only watching to see who wins, you’re missing a lot of what makes F1 interesting. Sure a really close competition at the very front is fantastic but in reality, how often does that happen?

    1. Given how F1 even in its best years is still mostly a 1v1 with 8 other teams merely filling up the grid, there are actually quite a few seasons where the winning team won fewer than 55% of the races. Since 1980, this happened 21 times – or about half the seasons.

      Seasons like this one, with Red Bull winning 75% of races, or the height of the Mercedes domination (91% in 2016!) are actually the outliers and there are plenty more seasons just above that earlier mentioned mark. Unfortunately, if you only look at the last 10 years, then these utterly dominated seasons are indeed the norm. Competitive seasons have become increasingly rare as F1 has become more stale, with fewer testing, fewer entries, fewer regulation changes, fewer options to introduce upgrades, etc. The V6 engines in particular led to one of the least competitive eras in all of F1 history.

    2. The state of the F1 championship is just an excuse for this interesting article.
      Most of us are F1 fanatics (wink wink) and will watch the end of the season regardless. But it’s cool to have an overview of what’s happening in others, less exposed, series.

  9. Sorry for using the N-word, but NASCAR still have some racing to do.

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