Jenson Button names four teams who may challenge Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in 2022

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Former F1 driver Jenson Button says he’s relishing the off-track battles between Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner this season, after admitting he thought this year would be the ‘gap year’ in F1 ahead of the 2022 regulation changes.

Many suggested 2021 would be a holding year ahead of big changes within F1 in 2022, with the overhaul of the rules and regulations coming into force which aims to make races more competitive and exciting for fans.

As well as a cost cap of £124million ($175m) introduced, tyre sizes have been increased from 13-inch tyres to 18-inches, resulting in a heavier car in 2022.

Not just that, but Red Bull Racing also secured the rights to have Honda power unit technology from 2022, despite the Japanese manufacturer stepping away from the championship after the current season, with the team forming a new operation called Red Bull Powertrains Limited.

Yet the 2009 world champion Button has praised the competitiveness this year, as Max Verstappen extended his lead over Lewis Hamilton at the top of the standings by 18 points after his Styrian Grand Prix victory.

“It’s going to be like that through the season [ebbing and flowing], which is really exciting, and coming into this year we all love a new season,” Button told Express Sport.

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“But I didn’t expect it to be like this. I thought it was like the gap year, if you like, from 2020 to 2022 when the new regulations come in.

“But it’s actually been the most awesome year in seven years, It’s great to see those guys fighting in front, from different teams.

“And there’s also the rivalry between the drivers and there’s a rivalry between the teams.

“You got Toto and Christian, they’re such personalities and very outspoken, both of them.

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“So it’s that’s awesome to see, I’m enjoying that fight more than the actual drivers – it’s heating up.

“And it’s not just the top two teams, It’s the teams behind the McLaren AlphaTauri, Ferrari, Alpine.

“You know, these guys are fighting really, really hard. And there are some great drives coming from many different drivers and different teams, every race, you know, it’s mixed up the whole time.

“It’s not just the normal, you know, team by team result, which is great.”

Jenson Button is fronting Readly’s ‘Step back in time’ retro campaign. Readly is offering two months free unlimited reading to over 5000 magazines and republished retro issues from 22nd June until 30th of September 2021, then £7.99 a month thereafter. Visit www.readly.com/motorsport21 for more information.

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