With just half a dozen races remaining on the calendar we are approaching the business end of the Formula 1 Grand Prix season and there is still much of the world to cover. After two Asian races in Singapore and Japan, the cars and their drivers return to the western hemisphere for the US, Mexico, and Brazil before the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the Middle East.
The US race will be held at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, and organizers will be hoping the fan enthusiasm of 2021, when a record 400,000 attended over the training and race day, will carry on into this year. Last year they saw Max Verstappen win driving a Red Bull Racing Honda, beating Brit Lewis Hamilton into second place.
With the season winding down, it looks like a foregone conclusion in terms of the Drivers’ Championship, with Max Verstappen the runaway favorite in the current Coral odds. Retaining his title, potentially with a healthy margin, would be justification for his success last year when controversy surrounded the final race in Abu Dhabi and the subsequent coronation.
After a crash on the fiftieth lap, Marshalls hurried to clear the track while officials sent on the safety car. Once the track was cleared, instead of allowing all cars to be unlapped, race official Michael Marsi only allowed those that lay between Verstappen, trailing at the time, and Hamilton to be unlapped contrary to the regulations at the time, a move that was deemed to give the Dutch challenger an advantage. An inquiry followed, and the full report, posted on Speedcafe, blamed human error but said the result still stood, leaving Marsi out of a job and Verstappen champion.
Whether Abu Dhabi this year will be as controversial remains to be seen, but it is just one of three races that follow the US so let’s have a look at how the end to the season looks.
After Texas, the show heads south to Mexico City. Since returning to the calendar in 2015, Verstappen has the edge over his British rival with three wins to two. This year the race takes place at the end of October at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, and if Hamilton were to have the advantage over Verstappen in the Far East as well as Texas, it could make for a very interesting race indeed.
The final race in the Americas for 2022 sees the cars and their teams head further south to Brazil. Last year Hamilton took the flag with Verstappen finishing runner-up to leave the English driver 15 points behind his Dutch rival. Going into the race, both drivers had problems, with Hamilton disqualified from qualifying after a technical matter and Verstappen fined €50,000 for touching Hamilton’s Mercedes in the closed park.
The skies over the Middle East are expected to be busy towards the end of November, with the stars of Formula 1 and the FIFA World Cup heading there at the same time. After the fun and games last year, organizers will be hoping this year’s race will be far less controversial and the crowning of the Driver’s Champion likely to go ahead without any negativity. First held in 2008, Abu Dhabi was the first day-night race with floodlights turned on for the complete race. Hamilton has the advantage here with five wins under his belt, but Verstappen has won the last two. The events of 2021 will surely add some spice to the season finale!
How to Watch in the US
We like to show our readers at Only Katy how they can watch the best in sports, so here is our guide to watching the rest of the exciting Formula 1 season from the comfort of your sofa.
ESPN is broadcasting the races live across the country on TV and their app, while you can also subscribe to the F1 TV Pro, which is the official Formula 1 streaming service. Check your local providers for full timings and details. The US and the Mexican Grand Prix will also be available on ABC.