W er this Formula 1 season as boring who obviously didn't look closely enough in midfield. Behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, some dramas took place in the 20 races this year. The distances between the pursuers were mostly in the tenth range. Only McLaren always stood out from the crowd.
The reward for the successful turnaround for the traditional team from Woking is fourth place in the constructors' cup, which is already secured before the final in Abu Dhabi. There were 15 points for Carlos Sainz's first podium in Interlagos. There were also four points for Lando Norris in eighth place. McLaren was able to set itself apart from Renault by a whopping 59 points.
Four to five million euros per seat
However, the successful appearances of the last few weeks also ensure a curious starting situation at the end of the season in Abu Dhabi. Because the registration fees in Formula 1 are based on the championship points of the previous season, McLaren would have to pay correctly for a good result. 5,459 US dollars (just under 5,000 euros) are due for each additional meter, without the premiums increasing at the same time.
The teams behind McLaren are, however, about much larger sums of money. The distances between the individual items in the lower half of the table correspond to a difference of four to five million euros in terms of bonus payouts. Given the limited budgets of the midfield teams, that's a lot of money that nobody wants to do without.
For a long time it looked as if Renault could easily defend fifth place. But the disqualificationin Suzuka and the outstanding result from Toro Rosso in Sao Paulo let the lead over the Red Bull B-Team melt down to just eight points. Just as a reminder: In Brazil, Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat made up eleven points on the French works team in a single race.
Racing Point vs. Alfa Romeo
At the same time, Toro Rosso was able to extend its lead over pursuers Racing Point to 16 points. If everything goes normally, it shouldn't burn any more in Abu Dhabi. With Racing Point you have to look in the rearview mirror instead. Alfa Romeo was also able to score big points in Brazil, which reduced the gap to seventh place to ten points.
Most recently, the pace of the C38 showed itself to be a firm candidate for points. However, the team from Hinwil in Switzerland needs a little luck with breakdowns of the top cars. The deficit cannot be made up solely with the World Cup counters, which are awarded from seventh place. Incidentally, there is nothing more to win for Haas and Williams, who are stuck in ninth and tenth place at the bottom of the table.