I never got around to writing up the Mexican GP. That weekend was a little hectic with Halloween and I’ll be honest–I fell asleep trying to watch the race. I wasn’t the least bit surprised that Gutierrez is the second Haas driver–when they said they were making the announcement at the GP, I knew who it was. So my predictions were 100% wrong. Oops. And there was just something anti-climactic knowing there was nothing left to fight for in either championship.
And I was honestly more concerned about COTA being screwed over by the Texas Governor hiding behind an auditor who had a bone to pick. $5.5 million is a big gap to cover, especially when the track executives find out when it’s too close to call off the race. I think it’s a BS political move and I hope Abbott comes to his damn senses before Bernie yanks the race off the calendar next year. It cost $300 million to build COTA and only happened with the understanding that the state would hold up their end of the deal for ten years. Just because Rick Perry made the deal and not you doesn’t give you the right to suddenly change how you do the math on the economic impact. It’s a world wide draw, it puts Texas on the map for something other than cowboy cliches, and yes a hurricane caused problems this year, but I can assure you people came out anyway. Without F1, I fear that track would end up the way Texas World Speedway did, hanging on by a thread until costly repairs became unbearable and it will get leveled for a cookie cutter housing development.
But I digress… back to Brazil.
Brazil is different. It’s Interlagos. It’s got a storied history. It has the Senna S’s. Championships have been won and lost by single points at that race. It used to be the final chapter of the season until Abu Dhabi threw more money at Ecclestone. It commands respect.
Nico’s been doing well getting pole lately and it certainly paid off for him in Mexico. It was no different for Brazil. Although I will say he’s been awfully smug for someone who couldn’t win the championship. Lots of big talk now and I don’t want to speculate but I wouldn’t be surprised if Mercedes toned things down for Hamilton so they could make sure Rosberg clenched the 2nd spot for the championship. Now that’s been done, I’m eager to see how things go in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton–ah, Hamilton. Too much non-racing news going around about him lately. There’s the $2 million Zonda crash in Monaco, the party life, showing up in Brazil a day late, etc. He seems to not have pushed as hard in Mexico to win, but in Brazil, he just seemed frustrated and pissed off at his team. The whole separate strategy issue will come up in the off season, I’m sure.
The whole dynamic with Mercedes feels like a problem waiting to explode and I honestly don’t know which driver they’ll side with when that time comes. Hamilton has won the title twice now, but they seem to coddle Rosberg in a way they don’t Hamilton. How much of it is manufactured/wishful thinking that we have another Prost/Senna issue on our hands? I’m sure that’s a factor, but I’m also sure there’s dissension in the ranks and that leads to trouble.
Ferrari: after seeing a video compilation of Vettel trolling the Mercedes drivers in press conferences I like him a bit more. He appears to be a whole new person with Ferrari and it’s refreshing. They continue to be a threat and it will be interesting to see what they can do in 2016.
Red Bull: Ricciardo had a hell of a drive coming from the back of the pack to finish in 11th and Kvyat is a little bit crazy in terms of passing but he mostly seems to pull it off and finished 7th. The bigger story with this team, however, is the team now seemingly back to Renault power plants for next season (although they’ll probably be rebranded as Infiniti because of egos). I compare them to the boy in high school with a girlfriend, who suddenly becomes popular. He then dumps the girlfriend in search of greener grass and when they reject him, he finds it suitable to return to the original girlfriend expecting her to be grateful he’ll somehow elevate her social status.
Williams: extremely disappointed for Massa to have his finish taken away from him completely. The tire issues and the temperatures they’re required to stay within are continuing to be an issue and the solution is slap-you-in-the-face simple: just let Pirelli make better tires. And if they can’t, find someone who can. It continues to baffle me that F1 is expected to have the best of the best for everything… except tires. But they need something to justify pit stops, so tires have to suck. Just lovely.
Lotus: Grojean had a decent drive and Maldonado made it through an entire race without taking anyone else out. Except for that little tiff with Erricson that gave hime a 5 second penalty. But Venezuelan money spends like any other currency, so the cash strapped team continues to put up with his shit driving. Here’s hoping he runs a clean race in Abu Dhabi to head into 2016.
McLaren: First, I loved the antics of the boys in their pictures this weekend. They’re both stuck in a bad situation with their cars, so at least they can find a way to have some fun with it. They both finished the race at least, but the grid place penalties will run through the very last race. I really hope they’re able to find a way to be more competitive next year.
So that’s all for now. Red Bull continues to act like a spoiled brat and tension continues to build at Mercedes. McLaren still doesn’t have a car, and Ferrari has a car AND a cohesive team. One race to go, then off for the rumor mill, winter testing, and all the madness of Bernie slinging deals to change the calendar. I hope COTA survives, and I hope another hurricane doesn’t hit when the race is scheduled during hurricane season.