July 9, 2024
Richard Foegele

F1 - Heading into the Mid-Season

Expect Close Racing From Here On

With the checkered flag falling on Sunday’s British Grand Prix, the F1 mid-season is now done and dusted.

The home of the first-ever F1 Grand Prix, Silverstone witnessed Sir Lewis Hamilton take an emotional 9th win after a 2+ year drought from the top step on the podium.

For the Red Bull Team and Max Verstappen, this season has been about looking over their shoulders at the fast-approaching McLaren team, with Mercedes now joining in.

Britain was the last event in a triple European header (Spain, Austria and UK), with Grand Prix action being dictated by the unpredictable English weather, where any of the Top 3 could have won.

Intermittent bad weather played havoc during the British GP

Perhaps the best and closest racing of the 2024 F1 Season was experienced in the past 3 weeks. Austria witnessed some of the most exciting closing laps between Max Verstappen and Lando Norris, with F1 commentators remarking upon the great racing. Sadly, controversy clouded the final laps of the Austrian GP, with Verstappen and Norris coming together after some amazing race action. The incident was, by all accounts, a small touch, but resulted in both cars puncturing rear tires, eliminating the chance for either driver to take a win.

If you’re an armchair enthusiast who has no idea why McLaren F1 cars carry orange (Papaya) on the Team’s livery, you could be excused for jumping the gun about whose fault the incident was.

The orange (papaya) color code for the McLaren logo is Pantone: PMS 151 C, Hex Color: #FF8000, RGB: (255, 128, 0), CMYK: (0, 50, 100, 0)

If you are an F1 broadcaster like Jolyon Palmer, or a race Steward like Johnny Herbert, you might want to take a more level approach, instead of just saying: “English Guy good, Dutch Guy bad”. Palmer and Herbert (both are ex-F1 drivers) were not alone in this feeding frenzy, with most of the British motoring press jumping on board the blame train.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown described the last laps in Austria as an “epic battle”, but felt Max had taken it too far. Brown then went on to criticize Red Bull’s “lack of respect for sporting and financial regulations and father issues (clearly referring to Jos, Max’s Dad); however, there was a ray of sunshine when ex-F1 Team boss Eddie Jordan and former Grand Prix winner David Coulthard came to the conclusion during an FFS podcast that “it was a racing incident”. Peter Windsor (if you don’t know who he is, Google him) and Netflix superstar Guenther Steiner (ex-Haas F1) both also called it a “racing Incident”.

Okay, so a difference of opinion  … well, maybe, except when questioned about the crash at a British GP press conference, Lando Norris said that the opportunity was there for him to avoid the contact and felt the 10-second penalty for Max was not warranted, as it was simply “a racing incident”. For Norris to make such a statement could not have been easy, as self reflection rarely is.

Many team principals are asking for clarification from the FIA sport governing body on the rules, as well the appointment of permanent Stewards to give decision-making more consistency.

“Do we need a different system for the stewards? … every professional sport has got professionals being referees. F1 is one of the biggest sports in the world and we still have laymen deciding on the fate of people that invest millions in their careers. It’s always a discussion because there’s no consistency (among stewards).” (Guenther Steiner)

The criticism that Verstappen is ruthless … well, let’s stop and think for a moment about Senna, Schumacher and even Hamilton … it is what great champions are and what makes F1 so exciting to watch.

World Champions Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton know what the word “ruthless” means

We welcome ruthlessness.

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About the Author

Richard is a life-long motor-racer with experience in photography, filmmaking and engineering. His friends sometimes affectionately call him "Foegepedia" for his knowledge of the sport.

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