Formula 1

Grand Prixview for the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix

Verstappen aiming to wrap up the championship

Max Verstappen was left frustrated after the Singapore GP since he had to settle in for P7 after having struggled for the entire race. He even slipped to P12 at the start owing to the anti-stall and a grossly overambitious lunge to overtake during seriously wet conditions on a street circuit inevitably led to him being frustrated. But now comes Suzuka. RedBull’s long time engine partner and currently aiding RedBull in engine assembly, Honda has its home in Japan and they’d be more than ready to celebrate a victory at their home GP. So, will RedBull racing and Verstappen especially since Verstappen needs only an 8-point advantage over Charles to win the 2022 Championship title. Verstappen’s 2021 F1 driver’s championship was Honda’s first since 1991, when late Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna clinched his third and final WDC with Honda engines in his McLaren. Honda owns the Suzuka circuit and is the title sponsor for this year’s event. F1 hasn’t raced at Suzuka since 2019 due to COVID and all these factors make this upcoming race VERY important for RedBull. Oh! And Red Bull last won there in 2013, the final year of Vettel’s era of dominance while Ferrari’s last success in Suzuka was with Michael Schumacher in 2004. Mercedes hasn’t had a winless year in so long so obviously Mercedes is also aiming for the win, especially Hamilton.

RedBull and the Cost cap saga

Unless you’ve literally been living under a rock, you must have heard the controversy going around that RedBull racing has breached the cost cap limits in 2022 AND in 2021. As if the 2021 WDC win to Verstappen wasn’t controversial enough, another variable is added to that controversy. Some rumours had earlier suggested that the breach of 2021 was as high as $10 million but, it was recently also reported that the breach is very minor. On this matter, Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto stated that even a minor breach is a major. He also stated “It’s a shame that we have to talk about this in October of the following season, because at this point it’s not just about 2021, but already about the 2022 season.” We kind of agree with it because this is a faut on FIA’s end rather than the competitive teams who are always trying to look for some loopholes to win.

There’s more though. Red Bull boss Christian Horner threatened to sue rivals for their “hugely defamatory” and “totally unacceptable” comments, declaring that Red Bull had come under the cap while questioning the source of the leaks. The FIA have delayed their cost cap audit results date for all teams which was expected this week to October 10th since it is now a delicate matter. The FIA stated, “The FIA informs that the conclusion of the analysis of the 2021 financial submissions of the Formula 1 teams and the subsequent release of Certificates of Compliance to the Financial Regulations will not take place on Wednesday, 5 October, the analysis of financial submissions is a long and complex process that is ongoing and will be concluded to enable the release of the Certificates on Monday, 10 October.”

Mercedes apparently lost 2021 title due to a $500k upgrade they couldn’t have due to cost cap

In all this cost cap saga, we hear from someone who could potentially be directly affected by the breaches if any. Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton already had the title taken away due to a very controversial rule mould by then F1 race director Michael Masi. He has now come in front to state that Mercedes had its hands tied and could not bring major upgrades that they wanted in the second half as rival Red Bull kept bolting on new bits in a major push. Hamilton believes it will be damaging for F1 if teams did break the cost caps. He said “For sure, because it would put in question our values, the integrity of the sport. “I remember last year, as a driver, you are always asking for updates. I remember at Silverstone we got our last update, and it was worth almost three tenths. I’m pretty certain it cost less than a million… but maybe over time it would cost more in terms of being built. I remember after that needing more updates, but then seeing trucks from those guys [Red Bull], updates continuing to arrive on the other car. I was thinking, ‘jeez, it’s gonna be hard to beat them in the championship if they keep bringing updates’.”

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Prakhar K.

Editor-in-chief and 4-wheel fanatic

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