[I Don’t Get F1 Theme by Ray Tsao]

Hey guys! My name is Malena Ramnath and I’m your host here at “I Don’t Get F1.” Just like everyone else this past year, I got caught up in the craze that is Formula One thanks to Netflix’s hit show “Drive to Survive.” However, I know literally nothing about the sport beyond the hot guys, that I like Ferrari and it’s a race. So I decided to start this podcast as a way of recapping the races and researching the different technical aspects of the sport that aren’t mentioned inDrive to Survive” during the season, alongside the timing of the races. While I’m learning, you guys can listen in and see if there was anything I missed or if there is anything helpful from my journey to get to know the sport better for you!

Ok lovely people, so as you know, the 2022 season has come to an end. We covered up to Austin, which leaves Mexico City, São Paulo, and Abu Dhabi. Going into the last three races of the season, we already knew that Red Bull won both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships. But there has been plenty of drama in the last three races to tide us over to March. We’ve got a lot to cover today, so let’s buckle in and get down to business!

So Mexico City is a big deal for Sergio Perez, the only Mexican driver on the grid. This is his home race, and actually mine too, as my parents live there! It was really cute to see Checo’s dad celebrating in the paddock, happy to have his son home. Happily for the many many Checo fans in the city, Red Bull was a big winner at this race. Verstappen sailed home to a comfortable first place - tying Red Bull’s previous season victory record. Checo came in at a comfortable third, only falling 2 places behind his teammate despite electrical problems hampering his efforts. It was great to see him on the podium for his home race. Mercedes also had a great race, with Hamilton coming in second and Russell in fourth. Although Hamilton was not able to win a race this season, breaking his record of always winning a race in a season since 2007, his second place finish showed clear strength and development from the Silver Arrows.

With Russell and Hamilton’s placings, they closed the gap to stealing the number two title from Ferrari in the Constructor’s. Ferrari struggled at Mexico City: Carlos Sainz in fifth place and Charles Leclerc in sixth.  Leclerc called it a “lonely race” as they had  very little competition in the midfield, but no hopes of the podium. Sainz did manage to at least finish a race, which he had been unable to do since Singapore. Aston Martin struggled, as did Haas, to do anything significant in this race. As for Alpha Tauri, Pierre Gasly suffered a time penalty for pushing Stroll off the track.  Mclaren’s Daniel Ricciardo forced a collision with Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda ending Tsunoda’s race and AlphaTauri’s hopes. Ricciardo did end up finishing at a relatively impressive seventh place though!

But ok, that was a lot. Onwards to Sao Paulo. It started as a F1 Sprint, which I’ve spoken about on previous episodes, such as my Imola one, but since we’ve got a lot to cover this episode I’m gonna focus on the main race. As we entered the second to last race of the season, The big focus was who was going to come in second place in both the Constructors’  and Drivers’ Championships. Mercedes was about to overtake Ferrari, and Perez was vying to overtake Leclerc for both second places respectively. The big winners of this race were Mercedes, who finished in a stunning 1-2 with Russell claiming his maiden victory! So exciting for him, and also great to see Hamilton up on the podium with him. Hamilton managed his car well after a collision from Verstappen that sent Verstappen back with a time penalty and both Mclaren cars DNFed, or did not finish the race. This was super disappointing as it limited their hopes of jumping into fourth in the Constructors championship.

Their midfield rivals, Alpine, on the other hand, started at the back after a lousy F1 sprint. They won 14 points, with Alonso in fifth. Sainz had a great race coming in third, and Leclerc followed up in fourth. Before the race, Ferrari and Leclerc discussed the possibility of team orders during the race. Team orders would mean that if Leclerc was behind Sainz during the race, the team would order Sainz to let Leclerc pass him. Leclerc did end up requesting team orders during the race, as it would help him in his pursuit of second place in the Drivers' Championship. However, the Ferrari team decided it was too risky. Luckily, there was no animosity between the drivers. Red Bull, on the other hand, was having a very different experience. Verstappen was in sixth and Perez was in seventh.Verstappen refused team orders to let Perez through. If Perez had finished in sixth place, he would have jumped into second in the drivers standings. Perez was furious after the race, and even communicated as much to the press. . Who could blame him though - his teammate actively ruined his chances at moving to second place. Verstappen commented that he had his reasons and that the team understood. It is believed but not confirmed that Verstappen was striking back for Perez’s actions in Monaco. In Monaco’s qualifying, Perez was accused of intentionally crashing his car to end qualifying early with red flags so that he could remain ahead in the times rather than be beaten later on by his teammate. Either way, let’s hope they can reconcile their differences going forward as teammates. An evil part of me wants them to keep in-fighting though so that Ferrari can win.

Alrighty last but not least, Abu Dhabi. Max Verstappen shined yet again, converting his pole position to yet another uncontested win. He broke so many records in 2022, so I think it’s fair to say he had a great season. Leclerc had a similarly stunning race, with perfect race strategy and tire management  that kept him in a solid second place. This secured his position at  second in the Drivers’ Championship  which locked Perez out who finished in third. Sainz finished in fourth and Russell in fifth, but Hamilton had the first mechanical DNF of Mercedes’ season. Because of this retirement, Mercedes got stuck in third place in the Constructors’ Championship. Lando Norris had a great race, ending in the sixth of the Driver’s championship, which means he finished at the top of the midfield. Alpine ended their season with finesse, holding onto 4th place in the Constructors. Ocon did well despite Alonso ending his time with the team with a retirement from the race. The big thing with this race is saying goodbye though to those drivers and principals who would be leaving the sport at the end of the season. Ferrari team principal Matteo Binotto will be replaced by former Alfa Romeo team principal Fred Vasseur, due to his failures in strategy over the season. In his resignation, he cited lack of support from the senior management team. Mick Schumacer is without a seat next year, but will be Mercedes’ 2023 reserve driver. Nico Hulkenberg will be taking Schumacher’s place at Haas as their second driver.

The biggest loss though was the retirement of Sebastian Vettel, a four-time world champion and massive fan favorite on the track. He has raced since 2007 - literally since I was five years old – to 2022, and beyond his incredible successes on the track, he leaves a legacy of using his platform to promote social and climate justice. We’re sorry to see you go Seb and look forward to seeing you around the sport down the line! The only other news from this race was that Ricciardo decided to sign on as a reserve driver for Red Bull. This brought a lot of sadness for Ricciardo fans, as he has been racing for years and is a massive fan favorite. However, many believe that he passed up open positions at Haas, Williams, and Aston Martin in a bid to return to a higher level team in 2024 after some image rehabilitation. Apparently, Hamilton urged him to keep racing even on a lower level team, but he chose to join Red Bull anyways. Who knows what’s going on there. I personally just feel that since he left Red Bull as their primary driver, he’s been struggling to fit in somewhere. Best of luck to him as a reserve driver though!

Alrighty gang, that is all I’ve got for you guys today, that’s our recap of Mexico City, Sao Paulo, and Abu Dhabi, as well as all the drama that went down around these races, but thank you so so much for listening and I hope you guys got to learn a little bit more about what went on. I am looking forward to the 2023 season, and may release a short episode on some things to look out for, but we shall see! In the meantime, this has been “I Don’t Get F1” brought to you by me and NBN Audio!! Thanks guys, talk soon, byeeeeee!

[I Don’t Get F1 Theme by Ray Tsao]