The F1 News You Missed from FIA Prize Giving Gala in Bologna, Italy

Max Verstappen, Red Bull take top honors; team principal Christian Horner takes another shot at FIA

fia prize giving 2022
Rudy Carezzevoli - Formula 1Getty Images

The FIA’s end-of-year Prize Giving ceremony took place in Bologna, Italy on Dec. 9, with Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing among the recipients after 2022 success.

Autoweek was there and here's what we learned at season-ending, the black-tie event.

Verstappen picks up the crown

Max Verstappen picked up the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship trophy for a second successive season, following a campaign in which he broke records, winning 15 of the year’s 22 Grands Prix.

fia prize giving 2022
Rudy Carezzevoli - Formula 1Getty Images

Verstappen, along with boss Christian Horner and teammate Sergio Perez—present for finishing third in the championship—arrived straight from Red Bull’s base in Milton Keynes, where celebrations with staff had taken place through the day.

Speaking about his 2022 success, compared to his maiden title in 2021, Verstappen said: “The emotions are different, but anyway they should be different as your whole life you aim for a goal—to become world champion, for me in Formula 1, so the first one is very emotional once you achieve it.

"This year has been very different, we were more competitive this year, and it was more enjoyable with the way we performed as a team—we won the Drivers’ and the Constructors’ title. This one was better, and more rewarding, but the first one will always be more emotional.”

Leclerc Coy on Prospective Ferrari Boss

Charles Leclerc was present as this year’s runner-up and he is currently without a team boss for 2023, following the resignation of Mattia Binotto. Alfa Romeo chief Frederic Vasseur is the heavy favorite to take up the role though Leclerc was not being drawn into detailed discussion.

fia prize giving 2022
Charles Leclerc finished second in the F1 Drivers’ Championship in 2022.
Rudy Carezzevoli - Formula 1Getty Images

“Obviously the last few weeks have been a bit difficult for the team and we are in a transition time at the moment,” he said. “But on that I have the full trust in (CEO) Benedetto (Vigna) and (Chairman) John (Elkann) to take the right decision, but I am sure that 2023 will be another step forward and hopefully get closer to the goal we all want in the team which is to be world champion.”

When the name Vasseur was put to Leclerc, he said: “I mean Ferrari is a very different team to any other team. I can only comment on my experience with Fred, which has obviously been good.”

Leclerc worked with Vasseur in 2016, when he raced in GP3 for Vasseur’s ART team, and in 2018, when they were together at Sauber in Formula 1.

“He has believed in me and we’ve always had a good relationship but apart from that obviously that shouldn’t influence any of the decisions. He has always been straightforward and honest, this is something I like from Fred, but whether it will be him or not I don’t know.”

Horner's Awkward Encounter

horner christian, portrait, fia formula one world championship manufacturer   prize giver, ben sulayem mohammed, portrait, fia president innovation medal   prize giver during the 2022 fia prize giving ceremony at bologna fiere, on december 9, 2022 in bologna, italy   photo julien delfosse  dppi
Christian Horner, left, accepts the FI Constructors’ Championship trophy from FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

There was a bizarre moment during the handover of the Constructors’ trophy from FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem to Red Bull’s Christian Horner.

Ben Sulayem made reference to Red Bull’s cost cap breach, quipping “this (trophy) is from the FIA so we’re not going to deduct it from your cost cap, okay?” to which Horner replied “that’s very generous."

In his acceptance speech, Horner referenced the “confusion” of the Japanese Grand Prix, at which Verstappen clinched the title. In that race only 28 of the 53 laps were completed, leading teams up and down the paddock to believe half points were issued, but due to the wording of the regulations concerning a restarted race full points were actually awarded. That meant Verstappen was only told of his title win while being interviewed after the race. Horner’s comment did not go down well with the FIA president.

Ben Sulayem replied: “One thing you said about Japan, you said it was controversial (sic). No. The FIA was blamed for the points but it was not the FIA which made the rules, it was the teams who made the rules and we were implementing it.”

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, also standing on stage, intervened to diffuse the tension. It was all a tad unnecessary for an end-of-year awards ceremony.

Hamilton Wins FIA Action of the Year Award

f1 grand prix of great britain
Lewis Hamilton wasn’t in the championship title hunt this season, but he did have some highlights.
Peter J FoxGetty Images

After 2021’s non-attendance, mere days after his crushing title loss, Lewis Hamilton was again not present at the FIA Gala.

However, this time he had no obligation to attend, given that for the first time since 2013 he finished outside of the top three in the championship. Nevertheless, he still picked up an award as he received the fan-voted FIA Action of the Year gong.

Hamilton took the prize for his double overtake on Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc through the final corner at the British Grand Prix back in July.

Red Bull Junior Gets Rookie of the Year Award

formula 2  formula 3 2022 prize giving ceremony
Red Bull Junior Zane Maloney is a name to remember in Formula racing.
Arnold Jerocki - Formula 1Getty Images

The FIA’s Rookie of the Year award was handed to Barbadian rising star Zane Maloney.

The 19-year-old finished second in this year’s Formula 3 season having surged up the standings in the closing rounds as he got a handle on the car. Maloney is set to graduate to Formula 2 next year and he has also joined Red Bull’s Junior Team—undoubtedly making him one to watch.

Maloney was presented with the award by Charles Leclerc, the FIA’s Rookie of the Year in 2017 (for Formula 2) and 2018 (for Formula 1). Past winners of the award include Max Verstappen, for 2015, and Alexander Albon, who got the accolade in 2019.

Horner No Fan of 'Incredible' Entry Fees

Speaking during the pre-Gala press conference Christian Horner referenced Red Bull’s accolades in 2022 and then quipped “I didn’t realize how much we had to pay the FIA for the points—I got the bill the other day and it was incredible.” Horner was referring to the FIA’s entry fees for each season.

As the World Champions, Red Bull Racing had to pay the basic fee of $617,687 plus $7,411 for each point scored in 2022. Having amassed 759 points across the season Red Bull had to stump up $6,242,636 to pay to the FIA—though this is exempt from the cost cap.

For every other team the basic fee remains the same but each point is instead valued at $6,174. That means the others pay as follows: Ferrari ($4,038,083), Mercedes ($3,797,297), Alpine ($1,685,789), McLaren ($1,599,353), Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin ($957,257), Haas ($846,125), AlphaTauri ($833,777), Williams ($667,079).

All total, that’s just a cool $21.6 million making its way from the teams to the governing body.

F2 Champ Drugovich Still Looking for Race Seat

Felipe Drugovich was present at the Gala after winning this year’s Formula 2 title.

formula 2  formula 3 2022 prize giving ceremony
Felipe Drugovich has a championship but seems to have hit a glass ceiling of sorts.
Arnold Jerocki - Formula 1Getty Images

He has since taken up a test and reserve role with Aston Martin, which led to a couple of runs in the team’s 2022 car in Abu Dhabi. Drugovich’s predecessor as Formula 2 champion, Oscar Piastri, did not race in 2022 as he occupied an Alpine reserve role before securing a McLaren race seat for 2023.

Drugovich is eager to remain active alongside his Formula 1 duties, which will likely encompass simulator duties, a couple of FP1 outings, and tire test responsibilities, as he seeks to emulate Piastri’s path.

“The team is keen to let me do something else, which I don’t know yet, but we’re trying to see if there is an opportunity to just keep racing, but the priority is going to be Formula 1,” said Drugovich, who hinted at an interest in Le Mans and the Japan-based Super Formula.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Formula One