Formula 1 arrived in Mexico City for the 2022 Mexican Grand Prix in the midst of yet another controversy, when it was revealed that 2021 F1 drivers’ title winners Red Bull Racing exceeded the cost cap in their championship year by a couple of million quid.
For this, it was announced, RBR would be receiving a penalty that amounts to a slap on the wrist – 10% less time in the wind-tunnel in 2023 and a $7m fine – which was ‘draconian’ according to RBR team boss Christian Horner, who would have been privately delighted with the outcome.
Quite why FIA and F1 continue to be completely toothless in their seemingly arbitrary policing of their own regulations is somewhat of a mystery, although when the regulatory body, the commercial rights holders and the teams (brands) having a shared financial interest in the smooth running of the sport, something that throws the credibility of F1 into doubt being quickly brushed under the carpet suits all the stakeholders.
If you don’t consider fans as stakeholders.
For like Abu Dhabi in 2021, the fans don’t seem to want to draw a line under the affair quite so quickly, and clearly want to hold those involved to account, or at least remind the powers that be that, in their view, and yet again, NOBODY was held to account.
Anyhoo, that will rumble on and on, and in the meantime the season continues to its conclusion at Abu Dhabi in November.
The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez – named in honour of Mexican brothers Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez, F1 racers from the 1960s – shares many characteristics with the Monza circuit, venue for Williams’ last dry-weather top 10 finish of the 2022 season, and so it was with a good deal of enthusiasm that Williams approached the weekend.
Sadly, though, Nicholas’ poor qualifying form continued, and Alex had an off on his last quick run, meaning the Williams duo would end Q1 in 20th and 19th place respectively.
Grid penalties nudged both drivers up the grid a couple of places for Sunday’s race, but ground was quickly lost at the start, and they dropped back.
Nicholas’ sustained damage early on which effectively denied him any opportunity of fighting for position (‘we had no pace today’), but Alex was able to mix it with the cars around him, climbing as high as the top ten before losing out to an ‘Alfa’ and an ‘Alpha’, eventually finishing twelfth, two places outside the points.
“I’m really happy with today and it feels like our pace was relatively strong from where it was on Friday. We had a tricky start so we dropped to 19th and despite a few retirements, we overtook everyone else, so I think it was a good race from us.” Alex Albon told williamsF1.com after the race.
It’s now two races until Nicholas Latifi leaves the team, to be replaced – all being well – by rookie US driver Logan Sargeant, who has the biggest weekend of his life coming up in Abu Dhabi, where the prize for a decent performance is an F1 drive, and the cost of a poor weekend could be his entire career! No pressure fella!
Next stop Brazil.