The two glaring problems with F1 that ruined the Mexican Grand Prix
First and foremost, huge congratulations to Lewis Hamilton for claiming his fourth world title and deservedly so. In recent races he’s been a class act.
Brilliant qualifying even when the Mercedes wasn’t the fastest car on the track and then faultless race craft to get the best result possible. Maybe Schumacher’s ‘unbeatable’ record of results and titles may yet be challenged by the boy from Stevenage...
Unfortunately, the race that promised to be one of the best with the ‘big six’ at the front of the grid, once again fell apart way too soon. Before the off, Ricciardo had joined the dreaded grid droppers and by the end of the first lap Hamilton and Vettel were in the pits.
Kimi made another tardy getaway to fall back in the pack so it was left to Bottas to try and stay within sight of the mercurial talent that is Max Verstappen. With a couple of seasons now almost done, if Lewis doesn’t overtake Michael’s records then surely this young Dutchman is going to be at the front of the queue.
But Mexico was not to be the race that finally saw the fastest three drivers on the grid go head to head. They did manage it for three corners but sadly that was as far as it got and there are two glaring reasons why this sort of situation is going to happen time and time again if things don’t get changed.
First and foremost, it’s those ridiculously complex front wings that so many of us hate the sight of. Primarily because they are so affected by the airflow off the car in front but, for me, more importantly because they slice into other cars tyres like Boadicea’s chariot.
As Max once again went for his brilliant ‘round the outside’ move, Seb couldn’t help but clip the Red Bull’s rear tyre with his wing - with Max’s move pushing him wide into the next left of the opening complex of corners. Lewis saw the gap to Seb’s left so went to go around the outside of him at Turn Three - just as Valtteri Bottas was taking a peek down the inside!
With Seb now off line and getting attacked from all sides he duly ran wide and clattered into Lewis, his nose now well and truly pushed out of joint, and the Mercedes hobbled by a slashed tyre.
Now, while I would like to greatly reduce the size of those front wings in any case, surely we could at least get them narrowed to line up with say the inside of the front tyres to try and reduce these accidental collisions that are so common in almost every race. I’m told this wouldn’t actually be a huge handicap for the aero wizards who would soon find a way of clawing back the downforce deficit but it might at least help get the whole field round the first corner a bit more often without ruining at least one driver’s race.
In my opinion the FIA could even use their safety card to impose just such a rule as they are allowed to impose regulations against the team’s wishes if it is for safety’s sake – hence the imminent arrival of the dreaded halo.
The second reason for these collisions has to be aimed at the circuit designers who seem intent on creating ever more complex first corner combinations that a grid full of cars arrive at in a packed bunch. A right-left-right sequence is challenging enough on its own but not exactly conducive to funnelling 20 ever-wider Grand Prix cars through its narrow restraints.
Mexico can perhaps be excused as it used to have a simple long right hander at the end of its straight but, like many cases elsewhere, when more run-off was deemed appropriate, the turn right was made earlier and the next left-right then required to bring the cars back onto the original circuit.
Mind you, they could be asked to move that next left-right further away from that first corner which at the same time would do away with any question of taking that tempting short cut across the grass - and maybe then we can have a Mexican Grand Prix without a first corner controversy!