Championships Wrapped Up, What’s Next?

By Skye Slatcher

With four rounds left of this year’s Formula 1 season, it is as good a time as ever to start watching! The globe-trotting spectacle is the pinnacle of motorsport and speed. This weekend, the drivers take on the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico, a track with 17 corners in a race of 71 laps. This brief introduction will tell you everything you need to know to get to grips with the race weekend. 

The premise of the sport isn’t particularly complicated: 20 drivers, 10 teams race around 23 tracks around the world (increasing to 24 tracks next year). Each car has to use a turbocharged V6 engine, but teams can make their engine and chassis themselves. A series of regulations govern the cars, but the overall freedom each team has to design their car is the key element that distinguishes F1 from series like F2 or IndyCar. 

Each season, there are two championships: one for the teams (constructors), and one for the drivers. It is worth mentioning that both championships have already been awarded for the 2023 season, with Red Bull taking the Constructors’ Championship, and Max Verstappen taking his third Drivers’ Championship in a row. Points are given to the top 10 Grand Prix finishers, with first place receiving 25 and others getting incrementally fewer.

This Weekend: 

So, the next Grand Prix is in Mexico. It’s the home race of Red Bull driver Sergio Perez. A Reddit post caused a bit of a stir when it suggested that he would be announcing his retirement, though this has been more recently denied (https://www.si.com/fannation/racing/f1briefings/rumours/f1-rumour-sergio-perez-to-announce-early-retirement-at-mexican-grand-prix-lm22) – so watch out for that! Even if this isn’t the case, his performance in the last few races of the season is vital in ensuring he holds on to the coveted RB seat for next season – rumour has it if he loses second place in the championship, he might be out (https://lastwordonsports.com/motorsports/2023/10/11/sergio-perez-f1-ultimatum/). His teammate and world champion Verstappen holds the record for most wins at this track with four. Given the way this season has been going so far, I’d say it’s a pretty safe assumption that he will be able to make it five this weekend, though someone else taking the top spot on the podium would be a lovely surprise. 


McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris have had an incredible run of races recently, with rookie Piastri earning his first sprint race win in Qatar and Norris on three podiums in a row. Perhaps we could see one of them get their first GP win. Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz remains the only non-Red Bull driver to win on a Sunday this season, so could he repeat it here? His performance in Mexico has been improving every year. Maybe Hamilton could take the second place championship spot from Perez this weekend.

A key challenge of this track is the altitude, meaning the air is thinner, causing issues in terms of grip and engine overheating. The track’s massive 1.2km start-finish straight is critical for the race start, with a good getaway being critical for the drivers. The track’s turns mean we can expect slightly less wheel-to-wheel racing than other races. But, as with every weekend, potential for crashes and team strategy to change everything mean it’s all to play for!

Format of the weekend: 

This weekend’s GP will follow the standard format of two practice sessions on Friday, a further practice followed by Qualifying on Saturday, and the Grand Prix on Sunday. (The alternative sprint weekend includes one extra, shorter race, though we won’t see any more of those this season.)

Sunday’s Mexico City GP starts at 8pm (UK time).

Sparks set to fly as the Formula 1 circus takes to Mexico City

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