Goin' up, goin' down in F1: 2021 Emilia-Romanga Grand Prix


The Pirelli Gran Premio Del Made In Italy E Dell'emilia Romagna 2021 was as busy as its official title – time to find out who's salendo and what's scendendo after F1 in Italy

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The Emilia-Lasagne Grand Prix proved messier than a high school ‘Food Tech’ class – and how we loved it.

Burnt cake tins, the Renault Clio Cup, tin foil hats, plus ignominious spins, indignant world champions and an absolute thriller to the end – there’s much to talk about in this week’s ‘Goin’ Up, Going Down in F1‘.


Going Up

No telemetry


Esteban Ocon demonstrates what it feels like to drive an F1 car without telemetry


Drivers and engineers were left all at sea after a satellite failure caused a telemetry blackout during FP1 on Friday. Confusion reigned as the best-paid drivers on the planet actually had to figure out for themselves what was going on with those pesky tyre temperatures, interfering crosswinds and finding track position.

More driver nous input gets a big thumbs up from us.


Racing on classic tracks

Max Verstappen, 2021 Imola GP

Sure beats Bahrain


Imola gave yet more proof that racing on a tight, twisty yet flowing track in the Italian hills – with a chance of rain – beats racing on a retail park in the desert any day. Facts!


F1 drivers going all ‘BTCC’

On the above first point, who doesn’t love F1 drivers going all a bit ‘BTCC circa-1991’, after Bottas and Russell continued the argy-bargy once out of the car too?

Most people don’t watch F1 for peace, love and understanding – they want handbags (and good racing)!

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Russell mardily stomped away from Bottas (after probably causing the accident himself), before deciding to turn round, approach the Finn (still in car) and give him a patronising pat on the head, presumably saying “thanks for a jolly ripping good crash”.

Bottas responded by indicating to Russell how many points the Williams driver deserved from that race.

After supplying said analogue telemetry to the Mercedes junior, Bottas then proceeded to tear Russell apart in the post-race interview, unbelievably saying something that was actually quite funny about a “theory” and an “aluminium tin-foil hat”. Well done Valtteri, we didn’t know you had it in you.


Getting rid of chicanes


Big charge down to the first corner = big green arrow from us


Some might look back on the now-demolished Variante Bassa chicane with Ferrari-scarlet-tinted glasses, but its removal (plus the extension of the DRS zone) led to some thrilling battles into the first corner at Imola. If only they could remove a few more famous chicanes on the calendar…


McLaren’s young gun revolution


McLaren’s young driver programme has taken off


Lando Norris continued to show why Zak Brown’s McLaren appears to be being built around its young talent. His incredible third fastest qualifying lap was ctrl-alt-deleted due to exceeding track limits, but from seventh the young Brit just came back even harder on Sunday. ‘Old man Ricciardo‘ was asked to move aside in the race for Norris, who immediately dropped his team-mate and ran as high as second before valiantly losing out in a battle with Lewis Hamilton, eventually claiming the final podium place.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, Zak Brown has promised meteoric Mexican Pato O’Ward an F1 McLaren test at Abu Dhabi if he can win an IndyCar race this season…


Beleaguered Bottas


Bottas appears to have found his quick wit out of the car, just not in it…


Bottas might have given an improved performance out of the car, but things only seem to be getting worse in it. ‘Mr. Friday’ looked decent in practice, but qualified 8th and, as mentioned above, then crashed out whilst defending 9th. Jury is out on which big name will be announced for the Renault Clio Cup next.


Curse of the second Red Bull seat

Red Bull

The second Red Bull seemingly where it belongs – forever teetering on the edge of disaster


What kind of spell did Ricciardo cast on the second Red Bull car? First Gasly, then Albon and now Checo. After two seasons of disaster, now 2021 has brought Bahrain self-shutdown, then complete catastrophe at Imola.

Previously dependable Perez just couldn’t do right for doing wrong in Italy. He crashed into Esteban Ocon in practice, had his customary deleted lap in qualifying then span off under the afety car in the race. Then, just to make sure his race was really stuffed, did it again under the green flag. Surely something’s got to give…

Formula Farmhand


Seb possibly dreaming of pastures new – literally


There’s been lot of Seb/Aston-bashing in this column so far – but it’s not been great, has it? Maybe it’s time for Seb to go full-time farmhand after he tried that organic bio-farm internship.

Another desultory performance, bookended by Aston over-baking its cake tins on the grille (sorry, I mean grid) and an eventual retirement.

Otmar has also suggested Aston may take on the FIA over the new aero rules – good luck with that one guys!


Tired-out Toreador?


Has Alonso finally run out of gas?


Fernando Alonso really had a miserable Imola GP: knocked out in Q2, going off on the formation lap, trundling round at the back for most of the race and before only scoring a point after fellow old-boy Kimi Räikkönen was penalised. He could easily prove us wrong in Portugal of course…


Blue flags

Lewis Hamilton, Imola GP 2021



One of the best bits of the Imola GP was watching leading cars having to thread their way through backmarkers, ultimately leading to Hamilton sliding off, then deliciously biffing off his front wing at 2mph. If there’d been no blue flags, things could’ve been even more interesting.

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