Whiting joins Mexican GP podium combatants in Brazil press conference

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FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting will make a rare and unusual appearance in Thursday’s FIA Press Conference at the Brazilian Grand Prix alongside all three drivers who at one point had finished third in the Mexican Grand Prix.

Whiting will join Red Bull’s pair of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in what could be a very enlightening press conference.

Per the FIA, Whiting will attend but be limited on scope of discussion. “FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting will attend the latter part of the Thursday Drivers’ Press Conference, alongside the nominated drivers, to talk about the 2016 FIA Formula One Mexican Grand Prix. On this occasion he will be present to address this topic ONLY,  in order to avoid questions are not in line with the facts in discussion,” the statement read.

To recap the controversial ending at Mexico, Verstappen initially was third, then got docked five seconds after his off-course excursion to promote Vettel to third, before Vettel was docked 10 seconds hours later for his driving standards, which promoted Ricciardo to the podium.

Analysis was written, Vettel was let off the hook by the FIA for his explosive radio outburst but one that showed a rare human side, and further condemnation came in a biting column from Stefan Johansson.

The other three drivers called are Mercedes AMG Petronas teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – Rosberg having the opportunity to win the World Championship this weekend – and Williams’ Felipe Massa ahead of his final Brazilian Grand Prix.

Considering in Japan only three Grands Prix ago, Hamilton’s Snapchat antics was the story, it’s funny that now Hamilton will be least under the microscope of those present on Thursday.

Whiting’s presence figures to be an intriguing one.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.