With the 2022 Formula One season about to get underway, reigning champion Max Verstappen recently took an F1 car for a spin around a GP Ice Racing circuit. For his first drive in an F1 car in 2022, Verstappen headed to Zell Am See, Austria, where he raced around the track with ice speedway racer Franky Zorn.
Verstappen's car was fitted with studded tires, and it wasn't his current ride. For this stunt, Red Bull Racing pulled an RB8 from the 2012 season out of storage. Red Bull and other teams typically used the older V-8 cars for stunts and demonstrations because they're less complicated than the hybrids introduced for the 2014 season.
The Renault-powered RB8 delivered Sebastian Vettel the third of his four championships. Verstappen was just 14 years old at the time, but was only three years away from his F1 racing debut. He joined Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri) in 2015, and moved up to the senior Red Bull team in 2016.
Max Verstappen drives an F1 car on ice
This isn't Verstappen's first time driving an F1 car in the cold. In 2016, he drove a Red Bull Racing RB7 equipped with studded tires and snow chains on a ski slope in the Austrian Alps.
Verstappen clinched the 2021 F1 drivers' championship in a controversial manner at the season finale Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Mercedes-Benz AMG's Lewis Hamilton looked set to secure a record eighth title, until a safety car and calls by Race Control that put Verstappen directly behind Hamilton with fresher tires. Verstappen overtook Hamilton on the final lap to take the drivers' crown, but Mercedes still secured the constructors' championship.
The 2022 season marks a major rules shakeup that has changed the look of F1 cars. Red Bull is also now responsible for building its own power units instead of sourcing them from previous partner Honda. The Red Bull RB18 uses a power unit identical to last year's, but now built under license from Honda after the automaker's withdrawal from F1.