Sebastian Vettel can now take a little more risk in the final race of the Formula 1 season ends. Before Sunday’s Grand Prix in Mexico the Ferrari driver is no longer facing an imminent suspension.
In the list of offenses used by the FIA, two penalty points were dropped in anticipation of the fourth-last Grand Prix of the year. This means that he now stands at seven points – If twelve penalty points are scored, an automatic suspension for one race will take place. These penalty points are imposed for rule violations. Up to three penalty points are possible for serious offenses.
Because Vettel had a total of nine penalty points on his account since his major mistake at Monza, he had to fear a suspension in the event of a further infringement in the past three Grand Prix. However, two penalty points for the 32-year-old from the previous season have now automatically expired after one year.
A certain amount of caution remains necessary for Vettel coming into the Grand Prix in Mexico. With seven penalty points he continues to lead the penalty list of all Formula 1 drivers.
Synced Verstappen, Vettel, Hamilton Onboard 2017 Mexican GP
Vettel, who took pole position at Grand Prix in 2017 and finished runner-up to Verstappen in the race last year, believes Ferrari is better positioned to challenge for victory this time around.
“Obviously racing at altitude has an impact on how the car feels,” Vettel explained.
“We are racing with maximum downforce level in terms of car setup, but, since we are racing so high above sea level, the air is very thin and the cars actually produce very little downforce.
“On the long straight, I think we see the fastest top speeds of the season, which makes it difficult to manage the corners, because we’ve got so little downforce physically on the car.
“The car is moving around a lot and it’s difficult to get the tyres to work, in fact it’s hard to get the whole car to work and to get the right feel from it. It’s a relatively short lap but not an easy one.
“Over the past couple of years, we have been on an upward trend in Mexico, although Red Bull has been the team to beat. But I think the gaps between us are getting smaller, so let’s see how we get on this year.”
Team boss Binotto remains bullish about the team’s prospects.
“After two races in which we could have done better, we arrive in Mexico determined to win,
“We will be aiming for our sixth consecutive pole, before looking to convert that into a victory. The Mexican track has plenty of elements that can catch you out, some of these linked to the fact we are racing at over 2000 metres above sea level.
“That makes fine-tuning the settings on both the chassis and Power Unit side particularly complex, as the requirements are very specific to this track.
“The circuit features a variety of corner types as well as long straights on which, year after year, the record relating to top speeds has been beaten.
“The necessary compromise between having good top speed and sufficient downforce in the corners dictates the aero settings with which we will take to the track.”
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