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Nicholas Frankl F1 Mexico and Brazil Thoughts and Reports



Nicholas Frankl
Senior Editor
The Auto Channel
Formula 1 Racing Desk

After a fantastic return to Mexico City that finally saw a 'new' Grand Prix in an overwhelmingly enthusiastic city, welcomed and supported by the country, its people and its business sponsors, we returned to the legendary and always popular Interlagos in São Paulo.

This is one race I'd love to experience first hand, but I've never had the chance. It's a pity that the fans were not treated to more of a racing spectacle like we enjoyed in Mexico, for although the qualifying and race results were largely formulaic and similar, at least in Mexico we had some action, over taking, and that fabulous baseball stadium section that all the drivers raved about and which the FIA utilized very cleverly by moving the traditional parc fermé for the top three to park up at the bowl. You could see the emotion even got to Rosberg!

Now with both championships sewn up, Lewis has begun relaxing and enjoying his global super star status. He lost control around the narrow streets of Monaco around 3am and pranged his beloved Pagani Zonda into three other cars, although there wasn't any serious damage to him or the other vehicles, apparently. Let's be honest, if we had achieved what this young Brit has, then we'd likely celebrate for a few weeks as well.

Returning to today's parade in Brazil, what can one say? Some races are bound to be more visually exciting than others. With the attacks in Paris in mind, the mood was solemn & the racing lifeless. Yes, there were a few of the regular battles mid field - as every team wants to score more points & earn more prize money at the end of the year - but apart from that, Lewis spent the entire race following as close as he could to Rosberg's exhaust unable to get within striking distance of a car that is so identical as to make the aero performance of any teammate chasing it unworkable. Even with DRS enabled Lewis was unable to make a single passing move around the twisty track.

Lewis congratulated his former best friend on the podium and complimented his recent performances. It's a shame that Rosberg couldn't be a more gracious winner and the atmosphere between all three of them was terrible post race. 3rd place Vettel was the most charismatic and enthusiastic of all! After a long season, I'm sure they're all waiting to get Abu Dhabi done and off for a few weeks holidays.

Vettel hung in for a solid 3rd place and, as long as Ferrari keeps up the development and momentum, there's a strong chance he'll be able to take on the silver arrows at more circuits next year, win more races and present a serious challenge. Young Verstappen had a good race with some ballsy passes. Of course the rookie makes mistakes, and so he should, but he's far more talented than his father ever was and, given the right car, I'm quite sure he will be a world champion within 3-5 years.

Good showings by Nico Hulkenberg and Force India continued their hunt for Williams, the rumors are they will run an Aston Martin badged Mercedes engine and sponsor the team with Johnny Walker next year. Not sure who's paying, as Aston doesn't have the dollars, but will be launching new V8 models with Mercedes AMG power so it fits the global brand strategy. Their Italian investment group would love for the Germans to take a big piece of the historic 103-year old iconic brand but that doesn't seem to interest the Germans too much.

Red Bull and Toro Rosso both have entries in the FIA World Championship 2016. Apparently they will run unbranded 'all new' Renault engines; let's hope they are an improvements as clearly Newey is still on top of his game with the chassis but the power unit is a miserable failure.

The hot dry desert will welcome the F1 circus in splendid glory as they lap the Yas Marina circuit. I don't expect any surprises but, hey maybe Nico and Lewis will have a mega showdown and Vettel will take the last win of the season.

About Nicholas Frankl

Nicholas Frankl has attended more than 250 F1 Grand Prix in the past 30+ years (1st race age six weeks). He has been writing for The Auto Channel since it started in 1995/6. He managed the Asprey/Ferrari partnership from 1996-99 working closely with Todt, Irvine, Schumacher and Stefano Dominicalli. Visiting the Ferrari factory annually he has a deep insight into the inner workings of the team. He is also an three time Olympic sportsman, having qualified and driven a two-man & four-man bobsleigh in Lillehammer 1994, Nagano 1998 and Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympic Games. He has raced cars in the UK and USA, competed in the Cannonball, Gumball and Bullrun rallies, is a certified private pilot and member of both The Royal Automobile Club and Automobile Club of Monaco. Throughout his life he has visited the majority of F1 tracks and shared drinks and many fun times with many of yesterday’s legends and todays hero’s.

A Word from Nicholas:

So where does bobsleigh fit into this mix?


Well, that's me. Gilles Villeneuve I may never (unfortunately) be, but the next best thing (I'm told - and in fact can vouch for) is Formula One on ice. 1994 saw me competing as driver of the first Hungarian bob team in the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, and then onto two more Olympic Winter games. Why am I telling you this? Well, if for no other reason than that you'll at least understand how I gain some insight into the sport we love. Strangely enough, the F1 boys have a real respect for their ice cousins; the speed, G' forces and exhilaration are quite similar. This, however, is only my "off season" hobby. The reason for this intro is to allow me to say HI, From here on I hope we’ll become firm friends, as I follow the F1 circus around the world and you get to pick up all the details. Not just the results, but the gossip too and the first-hand natter you just don't get from the usual sources.

Thanks to my father, whose stories you'll also be reading, I've grown up in the world of motor sport and cars - in fact instead of a birth certificate, I think I was born with a pit pass. It's the sort of life that if you enjoy our sport is tough to beat, so I thought this would be a good way of sharing the fun.