What happened in the last laps of the Mexican Grand Prix is still discussed within the Circus. Particularly, they accused the colorful team-radios of Sebastian Vettel against his colleagues and Charlie Whiting, and the penalization for the contact with Daniel Ricciardo. Christian Horner and Max Verstappen attack the Ferrari driver for insulting the race director via radio. For its part, “Seb” would have offered mea culpa with a letter to the Federation.
In my opinion, the fact that Verstappen keeps to attack Vettel is ridiculous. I also think that who has to pour the oil on troubled waters is the Team Principal (Christian Horner). All this is the consequence of the soft line chosen by the FIA that files this – unpleasant – episode with a simple reprimand, accepting an apology letter. Rules are not applied or are interpreted by a commission that changes at every race. During the weekend, in Mexico City, we had two clear demonstrations of this fact, at the start and at the end of the race.
RACE START – at the start of the grand prix, Lewis Hamilton makes a long braking in detachment and comes back onto the track with a great advantage on the group. The same situation for Max Verstappen. The young Red Bull driver, however, finds Rosberg’s Mercedes. Fortunately, in the contact, nobody has damages.
RACE ENDING – MaX Verstappen attacked by Sebastian Vettel, arrives again into a too long braking. This time, he hasn’t any cars to touch. Thus, he is forced to cut the chiacane, remaining ahead of Ferrari without loose time, favoring also Ricciardo’s recovery. Thus, we arrive to the fight. In detachment, Vettel moves (an action not allowed under the new rule) leaving anyway the place to Ricciardo who, at the same time, extends his braking by 50-60 meters, and blocks the tires. Vettel sets up his bend, and the drivers touch each other. Even in this case, if Ferrari wasn’t there, Ricciardo would have gone straight, through the escape route.
Safety comes first, but it mustn’t go to the detriment of the sport regulation. Two white strips limit the track, if a driver takes an advantage by cutting a bend, it has to be penalized with a drive-through.
A mistake is admitted, but in this case both Hamilton and Verstappen got an important advantage (Hamilton came back into the track 100 meters ahead of Rosberg), it is also due to the “serenity” of finding asphalt and grass in the escape route.
With sand and gravel, we would be talking about another kind of race. Proving to have slowed down is not enough. We need concrete penalties. A penalty of 5″ is ridiculous. These days, I saw the fight between Villeneve and Arnoux in 1979 that then became a legend. It makes me smile to think about nowadays. Too many confused rules, object of different interpretations, and little show.
Formula 1 must change its direction. The audience is falling into depths as the reliability of this sport…