F1 team bosses are wary next season could produce a series of unexciting races after an uneventful grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas.
While the track has been largely praised as one of the best new additions to the calendar in recent years, Sunday’s grand prix was a largely processional affair. While Sebastian Vettel dominated proceedings the drivers behind him spent much of the race preserving their tires in order to avoid making more than a single pit stop.
Next year’s change in engine regulations will make fuel saving a greater concern. And the sport’s tire supplier Pirelli intends to err on the side of producing more conservative rubber as they are unsure how much stress the new turbo power units will put on the rear tires.
“It is a point of concern or discussion in the next couple of weeks, because we cannot have a situation where in order to be very conservative we will have races where there is not any thrill,” Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali told Autosport.
Pirelli is anxious for more testing in order to ensure their 2014 tires are appropriate for the radically overhauled cars.
“I am sure with Pirelli we will find the right solution because it is not a problem of giving more favors to one team or to another – it is important for the sport and the show,” Domenicali added.
“We will have a different car that will produce different torque, above all on the rear, so I think this is a point that needs to be heavily discussed in the next few weeks.”
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.