ALONSO RETURNED POINTS
The Mexico City Grand Prix turned out to be full of events even before the start of the sessions of the stage itself. The focus was on decisions that had been dragging on since the race in the USA. First, it was necessary to approve the results of the last race. No one was going to take away the Constructors’ Cup from Red Bull, but the confrontations between McLaren – Alpin, Alfa Romeo – Aston Martin, Haas – Alfa Tauri are very fundamental. And any change in protocol behind the Big Three has a big impact on the table as a whole.
So, Alpin driver Fernando Alonso, who finished seventh in the US race, was fined 30 seconds at the protest of the Haas team. Protest that the Alonso judges did not show the black and orange flag due to the technical condition of the car and that the judges recognized the car as complying with the regulations after the race. A protest that was filed 24 minutes after the end of the allowed time limit and should not have been accepted. The protest was granted.
Alpin filed a protest against this, where they indicated all the illogicality of the actions. But they were also too late. And FIA refused to consider this protest. But recommended to the judges to think again. The judges thought until midnight Mexican time. And then they agreed that they were wrong. Alonso returned seventh place and points. Alpin is happy. Still, Alonso’s six points in the fight against McLaren (Norris scored eight points in the USA) is better than Ocon’s one point (if the Spaniard’s penalty had remained in force).
“BULLS” DECIDED NOT TO RESIST
I got a denouement and a scandal with exceeding the ceiling of budgets. As a result of the negotiations, the “bulls” were persuaded not to rest. Red Bull admitted that they violated. The fact that the team considered a lot of things wrong (and this has already been recognized during the negotiations and FIA), the second question. The violation turned out to be not as significant as they said – only 1.8 million pounds (1.6%). True, Lewis said earlier that an extra 300 thousand could change everything. And here the amount is six times more. But this is Formula 1 and playing for the public is part of the big show. Red Bull acknowledged the violation, explained errors in reporting, in FIA not seen in violation of intentional action. But they fined the bulls $7 million (they must be paid within a month) and reduced the time of the permitted amount of work in the wind tunnel by 10% during the year. As the winner of the Constructors’ Cup, the team could use the pipe only by 70% of the base value anyway. Now the volume of work will be reduced to 63%. So the penalty was only 7%.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has already lamented that such a heavy penalty would result in a loss of up to half a second on a lap next year and even hinder preparations for the 2024 season. A year ago, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto said that an extra session in the wind tunnel could give a win of just 0.1 second. Who is right? Most likely, the truth is somewhere in the middle. After all, complaints about the intrigues of rivals are also an element of the show. As is anger. Like Toto Wolf, who said that the punishment for Red Bull is too lenient. To which Horner generally replied that if the Red Bull wind tunnel had been burned, it would not have seemed enough to the rivals anyway. But why does Wolf need a pipe? It’s no secret that deep down I dreamed of stripping the title, because Abu Dhabi 2021 was not forgotten at Mercedes.
Rookies lit up in Mexico City
And now about the sessions themselves. As in Austin, in Mexico City in the first session, the teams gave the beginners the opportunity to master the technique, so, like a week ago, there were five substitutions at once. Nick de Vries replaced Russell at Mercedes, Liam Lawson replaced Yuki Tsunoda at Alpha Tauri, Logan Sargent replaced Alex Albon at Williams, Jack Doohan replaced Esteban Ocon at Alpin and Pietro Fittipaldi replaced Kevin Magnussen at Haas “. The Dane, although he has a contract for 2023, still looks with bated breath as his car “does not survive” for two stages in a row until the end of the first session. Antonio Giovinazzi laid it out in Austin in the 8th minute, there were no accidents in Mexico City, but in the 38th minute the engine died. Like after a while and on Jack Duane’s car.
Lawson had problems with his car early in the session, but was still able to complete a total of 19 laps. Towards the end of the session, his car stopped in a puff of smoke. The session was stopped for the second time with red flags and decided not to resume. The best time was left for the Ferrari duo – Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc. Next came the Red Bull duo of Perez and Verstappen, who showed the same time, 0.120 seconds behind the best time.
The second session was given to the teams for tire tests. Red flags also appeared along the way. At the 33rd minute of the session on the test tires, Charles Leclerc lost control and crashed into the fenders. The back of the Monegasque Ferrari and the barrier were badly damaged. The session resumed only after 15 minutes. The best time of the second session, which was also stopped ahead of schedule (this time Guanyu Zhou’s car broke down), was shown by George Russell in a Mercedes.