The Hot Lap: Beginning of the End (Hopefully…)

Good Afternoon, it’s Tuesday, September 9th and this is The Hot Lap: Beginning of the End (Hopefully…) 

If you’re a fan of any form of comeback or watching a David vs. Goliath story, stop reading this article and go watch Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix. Come back here once you’re done, you’ll see why. 

In my previous F1 article, I talked about the parity issues currently facing the pinnacle of motorsport. I’m not going to just copy and paste that (you can read it here if you want), but there is one important carry-over that I will discuss again here because of the effect that it had on the race this weekend: Engine Modes.  When the FIA, the governing body of F1, F2, and F3, released a new rule change that permitted only one engine mode, most of the motorsport world focused on how that change would affect qualifying. Spoiler Alert: it didn’t. Hamilton and Bottas still qualified on pole and in second. What people, myself included, failed to consider, would be the effect of this change on the race. The one thing on the weekend that really matters. Bottas got off to a poor start and found himself down into 5th by the end of the first lap. He struggled to find any form of pace during the race, calling the car a “joke” over the team radio. Bottas would run a race with no penalties and finish in 5th with a fastest lap of 1:23.9, also 5th fastest. This is a good sign for the rest of the field as at this moment it appears as if one of the Mercedes cars is vulnerable. 

Hamilton had an interesting race that leads to the headlining point of this article: Beginning of the End. Hamilton took a 10-second stop-and-go penalty costing him roughly 36 seconds of lap time. Only making matters worse was when this penalty was enforced: right after a restart. All of the drivers were bunched up when Hamilton served his penalty, dropping him from first to last. Not just last, but 23 seconds behind the last car in the pack. Hamilton pushed his way back up through the field finishing in 7th, a remarkable feat. 

I say all this to provide evidence for a change that the FIA should take into consideration now to implement into F1: Reverse Grid Qualifying. In short, this change would remove all of qualifying and instead have a shortened race with the starting positions being the reverse of the current championship standings. This event would then be raced and the results of this shortened race would set the starting grid for Sunday’s feature race as if it was qualifying. Hamilton, who is currently leading the championship with 164 points, would start the Sprint Race from 20th and have to make his way up in a race setting to qualify higher. This style is currently implemented in F2, the minor league for F1 per se, and it has caused a great deal of excitement albeit there are some other variables in F2. F2 has had 6 different race winners in their 8 races this season compared to the 4 winners in 8 races this year in F1. Sunday’s Grand Prix showed the potential excitement and intrigue caused by a racer of Hamilton’s talent navigating his way through a live race. He may still dominate races and win, but I would much rather watch a race where he wins after starting from 10th rather than from 1st. The FIA needs to change what they do on race days and we saw progress on Sunday of what the sport could be. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the sport of F1, watch this video by Formula 1 about the sport. 

If you’re interested in reading more about reverse grid qualifying, click here

Congrats to Pierre Gasly on his first F1 win this weekend, sparking more Gasly vs. Albon controversy, but we won’t get into that here. If you want to learn more about the tough decision Red Bull is facing, click here.

Do you think Hamilton’s penalty was fair? What are your thoughts on the future of F1? Do you think you could drive an F1 car? Let us know in the comments below!

One thought on “The Hot Lap: Beginning of the End (Hopefully…)

  1. YES, i definitely think i could drive a F1 car. I would probably be pretty slow, but i want to for sure. There are so many technical aspects to F1 cars that they may be easier to drive in some respects than some of the cars that weekend warriors drive at tracks like Sebring or the Utah Motorsports Campus.
    I dont know about the future of F1. Mercedes seems so dominant and the lower level teams (e.g. Williams) dont have teams, cars, or budgets to keep the good drivers. The dominance of Mercedes makes it kind of boring right now. Hamilton is amazing, but I’m tired of seeing the same guy win over and over…


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