Italian GP aftermath: is F1 stuck in a rut?

A post-race furore couldn’t save the snooze fest of Monza.

After teasing us with a hint of excitement as Ferrari’s Kimi Raikonnen stalled on the grid and fell to the back of the pack, the Italian Grand Prix soon fell back into the monotony of previous races.

Lotus must have been wishing that their cars had remained impounded in Spa after a disastrous opening lap saw both their cars retire. Having finished on the podium last time out and promised us there was even more to come in Monza, it was a shame their weekend came to such an early finish.

the cruel mistress that is motor sport gave us a resounding slap in the face

Federico Gastaldi, deputy team principal, Lotus F1 speaking to F1.com

Nico Rosberg’s start was compromised as he avoided Raikonnen’s stalled Ferrari. Having recovered superbly to be chasing down Sebastian Vettel for second place, his car clearly decided he hadn’t had enough engine woes this weekend and promptly caught on fire three laps from the end of the race.

A non-de-script race for the Tifosi this time out, until some last minute action made it look as though Lewis Hamilton’s victory was about to be taken away, which would result in the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel inheriting the win. However, after a full investigation it was decided there was no further action warranted, and Hamilton’s victory remained intact.

An unremarkable race, but important repercussions

The race itself managed to be even more of a bore than the Belgian Grand Prix, however many stories have emerged that could have interesting consequences for the sport.

FIA consistency

The biggest talking point of this race is undoubtably the decision of the stewards not to penalise the Mercedes team following the tyre pressure controversy. Having found Rosberg and Hamilton’s tyres to be 1.1 and 0.3 psi below minimum requirement respectively, it looked like a slam dunk transgression and certain disqualification for breach of technical regulations.

Surprisingly, the FIA announced that the team would not be penalised as the tyres were deemed legal when they were fitted to the cars, although the reading on the grid by the FIA was then below requirement.

What makes this ever more interesting is that two GP2 drivers, Mitch Evans and Sergio Canamasas were excluded from qualifying this weekend for the same offence.

Love that consistency. Can I have my front row back then please?

Mitch Evans on twitter

Should Mercedes have been penalised for committing the same offence? The psi reading of Evans’ and Canamasas’ cars are not yet known, and so it is impossible to compare the two and come to a conclusive answer. However the stewards now face allegations of inconsistency between formulae, which is disastrous for F1’s reputation.

Praise must be given to Niki Lauda for his supreme poker face. I nearly believed he had no clue what was going on.

Driver Market – F1’s silly season may not be so silly

Following Ferrari’s decision to re-sign Raikonnen, it looks as though there may not be much driver movement in 2016 as more and more spaces are confirmed. Hulkenberg has committed to Force India for two more seasons, and Williams have locked in their successful Bottas-Massa partnership. Fingers crossed that Force India find some performance and start to move towards the front of the grid and can start to get in amongst the top teams, and can have some good fights with Williams and Red Bull.

Whilst Haas joining the grid in 2016 means there are two additional seats to be fought for, it is undeniable that the fate of F1 silly season lies with Jenson Button. Rumours are swirling that McLaren can not afford to keep him on next year and want to replace him with Magnusson or Vandoorme, both of whom are great talents and do deserve a place on the grid. However it would be a shame to lose Button after such a disappointing season – it would be nice to see him finish on a high. His motivation after this weekend seems to have hit an all-time low, and when speaking to Sky Sports F1 he refused to take the opportunity to verbalise his wish to remain at the team beyond this year.

Unfortunately for Susie Wolff, it looks like a case of so close, and yet so far. She has done a remarkable job to win her place as a test driver at Williams F1, however their decision to re-sign their drivers means there is no opportunity to progress within the team. An additional blow was the team’s decision to announce Adrian Sutil as their reserve driver should the opportunity arise, despite Wolff’s running and undoubtable superior knowledge of the car. Rumours circulate that she is contemplating her future in the sport, and it would be a real shame for her to have made it so far to leave us without showing her true potential in a Formula One race, whatever that would ultimately be.

Red Bull will not use Renault engines in 2016

Autopsist are reporting that Red Bull and Renault’s championship-winning partnership is now severed. After two lack-lustre seasons, it appears the Austrian team’s patience has finally withered and they have asked that their contract for next year be terminated. It now looks certain Red Bull will be supplied by Mercedes, although a Ferrari engine has not been publicly ruled out either.

Renault have seemingly wrapped up their deal to buy the Lotus F1 team, who are currently supplied with Mercedes engines. It will be interesting to see how they manage to terminate Lotus’ contract with Mercedes, and if there will be enough money left to actually fund the team going forward.

Singapore is up next in two weeks, and always throws up its own set of challenges – here’s hoping for a repeat of Hungary, and forgettable races become a thing of F1 2015’s past.

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