F1 World Champion 2014
Lewis Hamilton
The F1 World Championship Fight: Analysis of the state of play
News
The F1 World Championship Fight: Analysis of the state of play
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Oct 2010   |  6:34 pm GMT  |  319 comments

Fernando Alonso’s win in Sunday’s Korean Grand Prix meant the 8th change of championship leader this season.

Alonso has been on a run of 133 points from seven races and returns to the summit for the first time since the Australian Grand Prix and he does so at a crucial time, with just two races to go. His lead over Mark Webber is 11 points, while Lewis Hamilton is 21 points behind and Sebastian Vettel 25 adrift.

It means he can clinch the title in Brazil if he wins the race and Webber finishes fifth or lower.

Basically it’s about booking your place in the final at Abu Dhabi. Alonso has already booked his place and is the only one who has; Webber, Hamilton, Button and Vettel have one last chace in Brazil to book their place.

Alonso: Delighted with Korea, but much still to do (Ferrari)


He is in the driving seat now, but neither he nor Ferrari are celebrating yet. As we saw on Sunday a lead can disappear very quickly with a non-finish, so Alonso still has a lot to do to win the title in his first season with Ferrari.

Reliability is one key area and it is well known that Ferrari are cutting it fine on engines. Failures earlier in the season mean that he has one engine for Brazil and Abu Dhabi, which has already completed the race in Monza, which he won.

“We cannot really have any problems, otherwise it is finished,” said team boss Stefano Domenicali on Sunday night.

Brazil is quite tough on engines, being at altitude and also featuring the long uphill straight to the finish line. To be competitive in Brazil the drag reducing F Duct rear wing is going to be vital and the more efficient systems will have an advantage.

Ferrari will also be hoping that Interlagos specialist Felipe Massa takes points off Alonso’s rivals. His podium in Korea will boost his confidence and in front of a now sceptical home crowd, he will want to avenge his hurt pride from the shame of letting Alonso through in Germany. Psychologically he will be a very interesting case study in Brazil.

Webber: Second retirement of season (Getty)


Red Bull are in an awkward position after Korea. Starting first and second on the grid they could not have dreamed that they would end the race with no points, giving McLaren a fighting chance of stealing the Constructors’ Championship off them and opening the door to Alonso and Hamilton in the Drivers Championship.

It was their first double retirement since the 2008 Australian GP, and their first failure to score a point in 22 races, showing what a consistent force they have become.

With two races to go, and one driver 11 points off the lead with the other 25 adrift, logic would suggest that the emphasis would go behind the leading driver, but Red Bull has made it clear that this will not happen.

Furthermore team boss Christian Horner expanded on his comments from last week on team priorities, when he said that the team would be built around Vettel for the future. Psychologically that is a tough thing for Webber to hear at this stage of the season.

Vettel hit reliability problems again (Getty)


However it must be remembered that Vettel’s car has now let him down while leading three times this year – Bahrain (where he finished), Australia and Korea. Webber in contrast has had just two retirements and both were accidents, in other words under his control.

Alonso will seek to exploit this uncertainty in the team, although if Vettel is still a similar margin behind after Brazil the situation may change a little in Abu Dhabi.

Red Bull should have an advantage in Brazil so a win there is vital for both drivers. Webber needs to finish ahead of Alonso in both the remaining races with a win in one of them. Vettel could do with winning both races to be sure, but even then he’ll need another car between him and Alonso.

Lewis Hamilton’s second place was surprisingly only his 2nd podium finish in the last 7 races, but it got him back into the fight, albeit needing Alonso to have a problem to get properly back on terms. He seemed very down after the race, disappointed that he let Alonso pass him after he’d nicked second place in the pit stops.

Hamilton: Disappointed after race (McLaren)


McLaren just haven’t quite got the pace at the moment. Hamilton had a run mid season as strong as the one Alonso’s been on lately, but they have not been able to sustain it.

They’ve been bringing developments to the cars, but these haven’t been making the impact they might have hoped, certainly they haven’t been as effective as the ones they brought to the car this time last year.

Button: Not on pace in Korea (Darren Heath)


Button had a poor weekend in Korea, especially on race day, his difficulties in getting the front tyres working in the cold, wet conditions were reminiscent of the end of last season. He is now 42 points behind Alonso, only nominally in the race, as it would take a pile up in Brazil eliminating all the other four contenders for him to get even vaguely back into contention.

Final point is that although Ferrari and McLaren have been here many times before, while Red Bull are in the championship fight properly for the first time, the two grandee teams are both under new management. For both Domenicali and Martin Whitmarsh, the honour of being put in charge of these great institutions comes with a pressure to deliver titles. Neither man will feel complete until he has won titles as team principal and justified his selection.

On that level, those two and Horner are all in the same boat.

“We will fight to the last corner of the last lap,” said a fired up Domenicali on Sunday night.

It truly is a wonderful championship battle this year.

Featured News
MORE FROM JA ON F1...
Share This:
Posted by:
Category:
319 Comments
  1. Wallbreaker says:

    Couldn´t have finished the article better. I´m not sure if Interlagos is a track that really suits to Red Bull. Ferrari has always been strong there. Even last year until Webber ripped off Kimis front wing.

    1. Formula Zero says:

      This year’s Red Bull should be good in Brazil. The fast corners and variation of track layout suits the Red Bulls very well. But, you are right about Ferrari too. Particularly Massa drives like Schumacher in his home ground.

      1. Momo says:

        Although I am a RedBull fan, Mark’s in particular, I am surprised -apologies if I missed it- the lack of praise by the media in regards to Ferrari’s car.
        In my humble opinion, it seems that they have managed to produced a car that is consistent on all circuits.
        Monaco was good until Alonso lost it, Spa was going well until…well we all know what happened, Singapore was also up there, so in various distinctive circuits it seems that Ferrari have managed to make their car work well. Yes, the Bulls fly around fast corners, but overall, I believe credit needs to be given where credit is due.
        For my sake, I hope their car does not perform that well in the fast straight of Interlagos..-wink!-
        Best of luck to all and may the best win.

  2. Jackie says:

    Hi James,

    Nice analysis. I don’t suppose you have a link to Christian Horner’s statement do you?

    Many have suggested throughout the season that Webber is number 2 at the team and whilst I haven’t seen any supporting evidence of that it appears to be something that Mark himself believes. I can’t quite fathom why Horner would say such a thing and risk de-stabilising the team with such comments, especially as Mark is in the better position after Sunday’s race.

    1. Shane says:

      Maybe he is providing a bit of a slap in the face to Webber to get him fired up? It seemed to have worked when they gave Vettel the new wing in Silverstone.

    2. While there is no way those on the outside can know what has really been said within the team, it seems clear to this casual observer that Mr. Horner is not a man of his word. With two races to go they should be behind the team leader, and it ain’t Mr. V.

      1. nickname says:

        It is telling that Webber fans keep calling for the team to start backing him, now if Webber wins both races he wins the title- simple. Instead of expressing confidence in their man to win convincingly they keep screaming for Vettel to be his rear gunner, this reveals the fact that Webber fans accknowledge tacitly that he does not have the champion mentality to win the title on his own without his team-mate’s help. So Webber fans you have exposed your man.

      2. unoc says:

        So your saying that the whole of ferrri didn’t think alonso has a championship mentality and hence had to back him? If button abck hamilton, is that because hamilton doesn’t have the mentality to win by himself or is it because alonso is ahead unless hamilton/webber can ace the final two races, it is sitting open for alonso?

        I think webbershould be abck by RB. Vettel has been backed the entire year by RB through reworking the blwon diffuser for him among other thigns.

        If webber wins both then he can win. True. but if say its vettel then webber then alonso in brazil. Webber now 8 points behind, vettel 15 points behind. Abu dhabi, webber leads, alonso 2nd, vettel following closely in 3rd. Hamilton 4th, Button 5th and Kubica 6th.

        Alonos wins the championship by 1 point! Webbers 25 (vs alonsos 18) only gives him 7 of the 8 points required to win the championship. Red bull have thrown it away.

        By suggesting red bull should back webber isn’t saying that webber can’t do it alone. It’s saying that vettel needs to win half the points remaining just to equal alonso, and then more points than alonso gains in the next two races to beat him, let alone hamilton and webber.

        IF RBR want the championship, then they are going to need to cut down there chances of mucking it up. Giving webber the best aprts and best run in quali and pit stop stratergy is because we don’t think webber can do it. it’s because abu dhabi MAY NOT be a red bull track, and if vettel takes points off webber in brazil and a fired up alonso des well in abu dhabi then thats an extra risk for red bull to bear purely to give vettel a rediculosly slim chance of the title.

        Points remaining: 50
        Points for Vettel to win: 25 + 1 + what alonso scores

        It’s basic odds.

      3. SB says:

        I suppose the two time world champion Alonso does not have the champion mentality as he has massa helping him….

        really, what are you talking about?

      4. TM says:

        What nonsense. How many champions have had help of some description from their team mate? Are none of them worthy champions? Schumacher is probably the best example; was he not a worthy champion? I’m certainly no Schumi fan but there’s surely no denying that he was a deserving champion.

        Add in the fact that Massa is clearly at Alonso’s disposal, then how is it unfair if Vettel is similarly asked to help Webber? I’m not saying Vettel should be asked, just that if he is then I don’t think it would make Webber as champion any less of an achievement.

    3. Alexx says:

      The team are not backing Webber because they obviously dont have enough confidence in him that he will be able to deliver when it gets tight in the championship,

      therefore they are keeping Vettle as a guarantee to have a 2nd chance, incase webber does another Korea.

      If it was Vettle leading, RBR would apply orders – no doubt about it.

      McLaren & Ferrari both have enough faith to back 1 driver, that can deliver.

      1. SB says:

        Obviously, RBR will back the guy who they hope will be with the team for ages ie Vettle. They have already said that he is their future. But the team should react to the situation, and in this case, webber is their best bet for the championship…

      2. AK says:

        If it’s true this is stupid reasoning on RBR part. If Vettel was so much more reliable than Webber he’d be leading the championship or at least ahead of his teammate.

    4. Phil says:

      It seems to me that management and RBR have a serious issue. They will cost themselves a DWC if they don’t back Webber now. If they had back Webber earlier, going into Singapore lets say, RBR would still be in prime position to claim its first WDC.

      But to me it seems, and I think this is a reasonable assessment, that for RBR, if Vettel cannot win the championship, they do not want anyone else in the team to win it (or at least help that driver to win it).

      It’s that much more important for Vettel to be RBR’s first DWC (in 2011) to prove their driver product system works.

    5. James H. says:

      Why not state the obvious? Vettel is a driver of the future. This year is Webber’s last opportunity to be WDC. I hope he succeeds, at least in driving to the best of his ability in the final two races.

    6. David Brown says:

      All this talk about team orders….

      They can only possibly of use, if 1 driver is immediately in front of the other IN THE RACE.

      This is the only time they could come into play. ( swapping an odd wing doesn’t get you points )

      Whilst everyone is so close, it isn’t all that likely, there is far more chance that someone else will be stuck inbetween.

      The WDC will be the one who best performs himself…..

      As a Button fan, I’d love it to be him, but realistically that is over.

      Much as I admire F.A, I’d just couldn’t stomach his winning, after Hockenheim.

      I really hope Mark can rise to the occasions and do it for himself, without the need to rely on Seb.

      1. "for sure" says:

        At last a voice of reason. I agree this constant speculation about backing one driver over another is virtually always meaningless.

        Short of Masa slinging it into the wall to assist Alonso, I can’t imagine it happening….but hang on, didn’t something similar happen once before?

        I’m just hoping Alonso wins the WDC by seven points or less.

    7. Formula Zero says:

      The obvious example of Red Bull’s favouring Vettel is numerous this season. Most recent one is for Red Bull not backing Webber over Vettel even though Webber is leading Vettel by 11 points & there’s only 2 races to go for god’s sakes! On the other hand, Horner Gave Vettel the front wing from Webber’s car when Vettel was leading Webber by only a couple of points in the middle of the season. Horner’s excuse then was, ‘because Vettel was ahead in points’!!! Outrages!!!!!

      So, every evidence suggests that Red Bull does have the fastest car after so many years of hard work, but they will have to work even harder to get the status of a big team. First step will be is to look for some dignity. The next step would be finding a team principal who is respectful with his comments and supports for it’s own drivers. Thrid step would be to find a NON CRASH KID to drive the car.

      The final step is to actually win the championship by consolidating the qualifying results into race wins. The way Red Bull is going, they might not even find any decent driver to drive along side Vettel in the team (or any team). After all, there’s a big difference between winning the championship and almost winning the championship.

  3. DaveF1 says:

    Great analysis!
    Since Mclaren introduced their big updates in Silverstone, They failed to deliver. They also seemed to lose the advantage they had in wet. I just read an article where Ross Brawn said: ” We are getting there. We are not changing many things, just understanding how to set the car up, and it is really just really just consolidation, which is a lesson.”
    Maybe that’s where Mclaren are failing. They keep putting new parts in the car and struggling to set it up.

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      I am not far from sharing you analysis. I still think that there’s a true deficit in pace particularly compared to RedBull but I think that much of the McLaren problems are due to optimization of their car and by rushing updates, not only do they loose time evaluating those updates but they make setting up the car harder because the car is different and thus harder to understand.

      Last point, is Hamilton good technically. Is he good at setting up a car and leading his engineers in understanding its behaviour James ?

      1. vodka and orange says:

        Hamiltoon aint as good as Fernando at developing a car that is a fact!1 McLaren were given a HUGE advantage at the start of this year with their F-Duct which everyone else then had to analyse, understand and then implement into their own cars! And look how far they are behind! McJalopies are without doubt the 3rd fastest team in race trim, yet they have the fastest car through the speed traps at almost every race!!! Incredible ineptitude by them! Same goes for Red Bulls[Mod}!! Without doubt they have the best handling car on the grid, but due to their internal strife and almost McmoRonesque driver policy they have failed to capitalise on their advantage!! And Horner insists Red Bullcrappers will not put their effort behind their leading driver in the chase for the title!! I see another business and sporting suicide about to happen almost identical to the McJalopies fiasco of 2007!! Back the younger inexperienced driver over the staedy reliable driver and bingo!! Failure!! Fernando is the only driver out ther who deserves the Championship this year, because in what is certainly NOT the fastest car, he has out-performed EVERBODY ELSE!! Viva Fernando, Forza Ferrari!!!!!!!!!!!! #:)

      2. James Allen says:

        {mod{ Please stop using abusive names for teams in your posts. It takes time to moderate. If you do it again in future we will simply delete the post – Thank You

      3. Andy says:

        The driver who deserves the championship is Kubica, the driver who truly has taken out the maximum from his car. Alonso has had his share of mistakes and errors like any of the other WDC candidates. The only difference is, he has also lucked out to take two wins due to Vettel’s car failures, which is why he tops the leaderboard.

      4. Peter C says:

        Well said, Moderator. The reason I always read this site first is that it contains less fanboy rubbish than most others.

        What I have just read above is beneath contempt & spoils JA on F1. I hope in future this sort of thing IS deleted.

      5. Galapago555 says:

        @ [Mod] Totally agree, James. May I suggest that the use of abusive names for drivers (e.e. Teflonso, Lewser, etc.) should also be moderated.

      6. Steven says:

        Last year he did help the team develop the car from the back of the grid(silverstone) to winning races, so I think he knows what he’s doing.

      7. AK says:

        I don’t think Hamilton had much to do with that.

      8. devilsadvocate says:

        Or one could argue that Heikki developed the car last year hence their inability to do it again this year in his absence… food for thought

    2. Xman says:

      I agree with Ross Brawn very much so. Ferrari have been bringing small but effective updates in the last few races and in so have been optimising their set up.

      Looks like it has been working to some degree for Merc and when you compare Mclarens dip of form while they have been ‘throwing the kitchen sink at it’ it shows their developement strategy has faltered.

      1. vodka and orange says:

        damn!!! I forgot to use that “Throwing the kitchen sink at it” analogy somewhere in 1 of my posts, but you made me chuckle reading your use of it!! #:) max points to you xman!! #;)

      2. Xman says:

        hahaa.. hey im no expert but something tells me throwing large metal objects like a kitchen sink at an F1 car doesnt really add any performance. but hey, what do i know. they are the team with the flashy (the list is too long for this). Or maybe Pat Fry took the kitchen sink with him??

      3. It seems to me like McLaren are lacking overall direction with their upgrades. They’re looking for incremental advantages here, there and everywhere but it doesn’t appear that they’ve been able to get the car and the upgrades working as a whole.

        Ferrari, Red Bull, Renault and Mercedes seem to have introduced regular and relatively minor upgrades as the season has progressed, but it seems they are doing more to make sure each part will work in junction with the rest of the car’s aero package. McLaren are trying for a sea change at every race and the results are messy.

        If there’s one thing they need to focus on ahead of 2011 it’s understanding why the MP4-25 needs to be so stiffly sprung all the time. I can’t imagine it helps driveability and suggests that the aero package is overly sensitive to changes in the car’s attitude.

      4. Xman says:

        It shows how fickle developing a car really is. Judging by Maccas 2009 performance over the whole year, you would put your money on Mclaren finishing off this year very strongly, or at least being there or there abouts. It hasnt transpired. the reasons are endless and hypothetical, i dont think they themselves know exactly why this has happened, (or else they would be on it dont you think?)

        Ferrari have been suprising in this regard. i did not expect such a upward curve of relative performance. Will that translate till next year? no idea

        And lets not leave out Marcedes. their developement in 2009 was shocking. As soon as they tried updating they immedietly doubled back and started again, their relative developement was not good enough, thank god for them that Button took advantage early in the season. They proved this trend in 2010 when they couldnt improve their car in the first part of the season, so next year is looking like much the same unless they get that department sorted.

        RBR seem like they have their developement sorted, they keep improving all the way through the year, it just doesnt stop. reletless and fruitful. Neweys got it sorted.

    3. RickeeBoy says:

      The bottom line is the McLaren suspension is total crap !!!

      RBR and Ferrari and everybody else seem to have a better suspension setup –

      I’m 100% positive that if McL had better suspension then they would right up and maybe beating the RBR and Ferrari.

      It’s the cars biggest failure this year the aero is only making tiny changes.

      1. Tommy K. says:

        Everybody suggests that McLaren’s drawback this season is this technical aspect or that, but hey people, if Lewis wasn’t taken out of Singapore GP by Webber, or at least if he didn’t try the pass he would have some 10 or so points more in the bag. Also, his mistake in Monza cost him valuable points. So, obviously his mistakes but he would really lead the championship by now!! It’s not the car’s problems that keep the team back. Let’s see if Alonso’s engine lasts now.

      2. AK says:

        Yes but he was only in that position because of RBR failure to captilise on their pace earlier in the season.

        The MP4-25 has really only been the fastest car in one race, Montreal.

      3. jose arellano says:

        it has been mentioned here before that the mclaren has to be very stiff because the diffuser is particulary sensitive to ride height…

  4. moschum says:

    i find it annoying how all the f1 pundits and f1 fans find this years championship ‘amazing’, ‘scintillating’, ‘wonderful’

    how? its close in terms of points simply due to non finishes and different cars winning on different tracks, but the actual racing is fundamentally the same as it has been for years – dull as hell.

    the cars still can’t overtake, even less strategy now refuelling is gone, and at hardly any point this year have we had 2 drivers fighting for a win to the end, unlike many duels in the 90′s – mainly because everyone has to nurse their cars home.

    f1 turning it self into some ‘save your parts’ formula due to a ‘green initiative’ (haha) has completely numbed the racing, with drivers conserving cars to the finish.

    even the lack of spare cars have made the racing at the beginning dull, with drivers not taking as much risks as they used to.

    this has been yet another boring year of ‘motorsport’ from F1, with only a few drivers (kubica, schumacher, rosberg, kobayashi) providing any sort of entertainment.

    i hope the changes to the cars next year result in drivers being able to at least follow closely and capitalize on any slight mistake, just like the good old 90′s.

    1. moschum says:

      look how many races this year have been ruined my engine blow ups.
      imagine if they had a fresh engine every race – we’d at least see ALL FIVE of them racing to the finish properly.

      1. Jason C says:

        Remember how many engine failures there used to be before the high-mileage, rev restricted engines were introduced?

      2. Andy C says:

        To be fair, the number of engine blowups these days are way less than they used to be.

        I agree things were better when cars were less aero dependent. Watch some old footage from senna mansell prost and they are drifting cars. Brilliant

      3. AK says:

        But let’s not pretend that F1 racing was fundamentally different in the 80′s or 90′s either. Some people act like there was overtaking at every corner back then.

        I’ve been watching F1 since the 86 Australian GP and as far as I can recall, 90% of each year’s races have been processional.

      4. Andy C says:

        Ak. Agreed I wasnt saying the racing was better. I preferred the spectacle of drifting cars.

        Interresringly I was wTching a rerun of of Monza gp from ages ago where ayrton was leading, behind was Nigel and nelson piquet (I think) and mansell let him past to have a go at senna then they both got past.

        Anybody remember the last time someone let their teammate past as they thought they could cause more problems (I genuinely can’t remember seeing it in ages – seems to not happen now).

        Maybe we will see some in the next race.

    2. Jo Torrent says:

      Why don’t you go for NASCAR, there are a 100 overtakes per lap.

      a FORMULA 1 championship is a story where each event is interesting as a part of the whole championship. Each event brings its own drama, own unpredictabilities, own turn arounds. You leave an event with some certainties some uncertainties and some questions and the next gives you more of those questions and turn your certainties into uncertainties and vice versa.

      In that respect this championship is the best I ever witnessed and the new rules contrarily to what you’ve explained are great and I’ll tell you why.

      FORMULA 1 used to be a two horse race (McLaren/FERRARI Hakkinen/Schumacher) or a single horse (FERRARI and WILLIAMS before). Why is that, because when a team is strong it gets even stronger because the best engine manufacturer wants to work with them and the tyre manufacturer responds to their requests. The last point is particularly crucial because the tyre is the most important factor in car performance and the ties tied between FERRARI and Bridgestone explained to a great extent their monopoly.
      Remeber when Schumacher and Hakkinen were batteling, if one of them had a big issue and found himself at the back of the field, he was able to go back to 4th or even go on the podium. Why that ? because their package was so much quicker, they were overtaking cars as if they weren’t there.

      Now, the tyres are the same for everybody and the engines are so close in performance that the so called little teams are no longer far from the big ones. Not only that and the 8 engines per season and the gearbox per 4 races makes it less expensive for smaller teams and they can compete more effectively with the big ones.

      Look when Vettel had his puncture in Silverstone he wouldn’t have scored a single point has the safety car not come to the track and annihilated the gaps yet he had the best car in the field.

      If the cars are close in performance and the drivers are mostly good ones, it is easy to conclude that overtaking is harder.

      The only bad point of the new rules is the incentive they put on nursing the car to the finish line once you’ve sensed gaining a position by overtaking is a hard task. Besides that everything is great.

      I CAN GUARANTEE YOU ONE THING. IN 20 YEARS YOU’LL REMEMBER THIS CHAMPIONSHIP AS ONE OF THE BEST OF THE HISTORY and I swear I’m already nostalgic and I wish if this championship could carry on till next year.

      Another thing is sure, next year’s championship will look boring.

      1. Steven says:

        WOW I never thought I would agree with you!

      2. Andy C says:

        Lol. Brilliant :-)

      3. Galapago555 says:

        Excelent comment, Jo! For once, I fully agree with you. :-D

      4. Xman says:

        i remember ppl said the 06 championship would not be eclipsed. then 2007 came along, oh and then 2008 came along with the last lap and corner story. 2009 was not THAT great, and now 2010 is seen as the ultimate. just wait for 2011. the constant rule changing and testing ban is themain reason we are seeing these types of battles.

      5. zadrav says:

        Early eighties were never be eclipsed – 1981 seven different winners (from six teams), 1982 eleven from seven and 1983 eight from six…

      6. Carlos says:

        I don’t think 2006 has been eclipsed in terms of the masterful driving we were treated to. Technical failures aside, Alonso and Schumacher were almost perfect that year. The number of critical driving errors was like 1 to 2, if not less.

        Subsequent years have been full of errors by the contenders. Now you win by making 4 mistakes to your opponents’ 5.

      7. BMG says:

        Can’t wait for the turbo’s to make a return. if you think it gets interesting when it rains now, wait until you see a race in the wet with a turbo powered engine. That’s when you will see the real hero’s of F1.

      8. MAS says:

        All good points.

        I would also like to mention another improvement that has largely gone unmentioned. Because of the ban on refuelling, people are actually racing the guy in front. Gasp! Let me explain.

        When refuelling was possible everybody knew just about when every driver was coming in (because of lap times, pit stop timing and such). This had two major consequences:

        A. Until everyone was on their final stint (~last 10-15 laps or so) overtaking was largely irrelevant, ie it was never “for position”. Lighter cars could easily overtake heavier cars, sure, but they would have to pit soon anyway so it was never really contested by the heavier car.

        B. The race was turned into a spreadsheet and decided on the pit wall as they call it at Williams. Drivers spent the almost entire race chasing a guy who was nearly half a lap in front and defending from someone who was nearly half a lap behind. To overtake another driver, they had to average a certain lap time on their stint and not get held up behind a heavier car for too long. To get a sense of who was ahead of who and who was ACTUALLY leading the race (as opposed to the guy in front), viewers had to look at lap times and pit-strategy. There was an immense discrepancy between the action we saw and the race.

        In this respect the ban on refuelling has been an absolute Godsend. Overtaking hasn’t happened more often, but when it occurs it is nearly always important. In turn, this means when it nearly happens, or is attempted but failed, or even when a driver merely closes in on the car in front, it’s actually exiting. And this threat of overtaking is what happens far more often because the drivers are actually always in position.

        Have people already forgotten the mental arithmetic needed to keep track of races up until last year? Have people already forgotten how races “settled down” (as commentators would literally say) between the first lap and the final stint of the race. Not to mention how overtakes were almost always “not for position” (again, as commentators would say).

        Even Bahrain was more exiting than half the races of the previous seasons. This year has been a revelation and frankly, if you don’t agree you have either a very bad memory, don’t like the result because your favourite driver isn’t near the top or you have an unhealthy affinity for spreadsheets and MS-Excel.

        Okay, that post went of on a little more insulting tangent at the end than was my intention but the point stands dammit.

      9. MAS says:

        And of course, I don’t mean to say that for the past fifteen years F1 has been rubbish. There have been great moments after all, especially in irregular conditions (which also provided the best races this season so on that front not much has changed). I also don’t want to suggest this change is the only reason, or even the primary reason, this seasons’ racing has been so exciting.

        It’s just that there’s a significant difference in the dynamic of the races, a more constant tension instead of a more predictable structure as well as more decisive moments occurring on the track instead of on the pit wall. That predictability was also probably at least partially due to the optimisation of pit strategies over the years.

      10. Jo Torrent says:

        Actually I did enjoy all the tactical stuff and strategy in the races. I couldn’t wait for the car weights and how many laps are the drivers going to do with them on Saturday. Last year FORMULA1.com live timing was essential to enjoy a race and try to figure who is going to overtake who (in the pits of course). I really enjoyed that strategic part of FORMULA 1 because I tried to anticipate. Sometimes, it was easy, sometimes not.

        Now it’s almost useless to follow live timing while watching races because there’s no strategic differences between the leaders. Whenever someone comes in, everybody follows.

        Hopefully, next year PIRELLI’s tires will tire quick enough to allow as at least a couple of pit stops per race making races less settled because what makes this year great is how close the title race is not how close the racing is.

      11. momo says:

        jo you are absolutely right, by the way have you ever work or been in motorsport at all, i think your posting are very informative and useful, please keep posting here.

      12. Jo Torrent says:

        no

    3. Steven says:

      To me it has been a good year. The fact that we have engine blow ups is not new, in the 80s and 90s there were far more engine blow ups deciding races and championship standings, because the engines didnt need to last engineers pushed the engines even harder and that lead to more common blow ups. I also dont see how the races are boring, sure, maybe theres isnt as much passing as people want, but theres more batles, drivers catching drivers and them falling back because they used up the tires pushing. I think all that makes it exiting too. For exaample, the Korean GP, Hamilton catching Alonso until his tires went away, that was exiting to me, Alonso could have made a mistake. At least we dont have drivers winning by 40s, that would suck! THere IS strategy if you think about it, we dont know when teams tell the drivers to turn engines down in order to save it because they already have a big lead, or because they wont catch the driver infront. I rather have it be like this than in Nascrap, where they pass each other so much its boring. A pass should be hard to make, its about a driver pushing the limits of his car further than the guy infront, passing should take skills,and patience.

      Anyways, if you dont like it just dont watch, nobody is putting a gun to your head.

    4. TM says:

      I agree with you I’m sorry to say. I’m watching more and more MotoGP this year, and while many are saying even that has lost a bit of it’s edge, having watched F1 religiously for 16 years, it is so exciting compared to F1 at the moment. I feel almost like Jenson Button when he turned to triathlons when F1 wasn’t giving him what he needed… I say that in jest but you get what I mean LOL! :o)

      I don’t get those saying what an amazing year it is, just because the championship lead changes every other race. Great for them if that’s how they feel, I’m just not feeling it at the moment.

      1. Formula Zero says:

        Button is ‘one hid wonder’. He wanted to win the championship & he won it. Is he gonna win another one? Unlikely.

        By the way, you and for those who enjoys Moto GP so much is great. But I don’t understand how this year’s Moto GP championship was so exciting or even last year’s when the championship is over with 2/3 races in hand!!! Well, enjoy it mate. This year’s championship is entertaining so far (apart from the Bahrain) is not only because of the lead change but also for the quality of the grid and the number of drivers (only Alonso & Webber left in my opinion) were in the hunt to win the title throughout the season. And of course even though, Schumi isn’t fighting for the title he is still making news regularly & it’s great to have him on track.

        So, the championship is only the way wanna look at it. For some it’s great, for some it isn’t. Also for some it’s terrible because their favourite driver isn’t gonna win the championship. Every sport is like this. By the way I have been following F1 closely since I was 8 & now I am 26. If you have strong passion for something you’ll always find a way to enjoy it.

    5. Gary Rowe says:

      Sad but true – I can’t pin it down exactly, but after following F1 since 1979, I just can’t find much excitement in the races this year – unless there’s rain! All the hooha about points, seemingly more exciting because the numbers are bigger … ? really? And we get to excitedly count the engine and gearbox changes … I’d love faster cars being dropped down the grid, IF there was a chance to overtake their way back to the front. But instead …

      Having 5 people in with a chance … is that really exciting? Looking over the season, it just seems to highlight the fact it’s so much down to the car at each track, and not so much about the drivers. If there were less people in with a chance, I’d actually be more inclined to think they were the best.

      We watch metronomic laps of highly trained drivers operating their respective machinery, unless there is an interruption when there is a collision and then the inevitable pace car – in fact a lot of the ‘entertainment’ in recent years has been due to the lack of knowledge of the rules by the drivers (how on earth can you take so much money in salary, without bothering to know the rules inside out?)

      The design of the cars is killing the sport, they won’t allow the drivers to overtake (except Kobayashi ;-), and even though the drivers are working their hearts out to get them around at such speed, we mostly see nothing of it except monotony. For heaven’s sake, they enforce pit-stops to try to add excitement, but all they do is stop most drivers even attempting a pass, instead waiting for the pit-stops to try to get past.

      OK, it’s late, and F1 has lost its sparkle for me … I think I’ll dig out the VHS machine and start watching F1 from 1979 again, and hope that by the time I’ve watched them all that F1 is a bit more of a sport again, that the speed of a car is more to do with the driver, that drivers can show their racing skills against each other, and the teams are more like Williams and Sauber again instead of corporations where lying is the accepted way, and only the out-of-favour are punished.

      At the moment, half the teams could just run the race in their simulators and supply the data to the FIA who could let their computers draw in the cars on the TV screens … who’d notice the difference.

      1. TM says:

        “Having 5 people in with a chance … is that really exciting? Looking over the season, it just seems to highlight the fact it’s so much down to the car at each track, and not so much about the drivers. If there were less people in with a chance, I’d actually be more inclined to think they were the best.”

        You know, I think you just pinpointed for me why I feel the same as you do! With 5 drivers in with a chance, I just don’t think a single one of them particularly deserves the championship, and that somehow dulls the whole thing for me. If all 5 had been amazing and it was a true battle at each track, I would be loving it. But instead it’s an exercise in who makes least mistakes.

        To me, it sort of feels like the championship outcome is going to be completely random, rather than a feeling that the winner will have fought and won it.

      2. Formula Zero says:

        I guess the glass is half empty for you. Nothing is wrong with that if you have a big enough glass.

    6. vodka and orange says:

      Have you forgotten Fernandos storming drives from almost last place in Australia and Monaco?? What about his lights to flag victory (in a slower car than the Red Bullshi++er) in Singapore,with Vettell hot on his tail for every single lap? There has been some fantastic races this year with admittedly a limited amount of overtaking between the top 3 drivers without crashes or mechanical failure, but they have been riveting to watch regardless! I have not missed a single practice session, qualifying or race all season!! But of course you all know Im a Fernando nut! #:) He has made a few mistakes this year no doubt due to nerves and knowing his responsibility as a Ferrari driver, and that has not helped, but when it comes to developing a car, there is no question he is the best out there…he has got the maximum from a car that has only been either 2nd or 3rd fastest all season, and now he stands poised to capitalise when it counts! Fantastic job by him. #:)

      1. Peter C says:

        Gary Rowe is a man after my own heart! He has a history of watching F1 for many years, I fully agree with with his comments.

        The problem is that many of the comments posted do not have any knowledge of what came before & led up to the present situation.

        For those who can, I would recommend looking at the streamed classic GP races on the BBC on the run-up to a GP weekend. There used to be some really exciting racing, with lots of overtaking on the track.

        We were all excited by Kobayashi doing some overtaking in Malaysia, but that sort of thing used to be the norm. Ah, nostalgia for old codgers!

    7. Chris says:

      I agree with you 100%. The teams and media have been shoving this “greatest season ever” BS down our throats all season. I’m not seeing it. No one has driven that great, in fact everyone in contention has been throwing their chances away. Alonso now looks the most likely, but how much more exciting would the upcoming races be if Ferrari hadn’t manipulated the result in Germany? He would be what, six points ahead instead of eleven, and everyone would be hailing his late-season charge. There really haven’t been ANY great races (especially in the dry). The insiders still just don’t seem to get it.

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        Why do you accept team orders now and not before ? MASSA had 0 chances of clinching the title, he was slow. Why get in the way of ALONSO ?

        The same applies to BUTTON, he punched above his weight at the start of the season but he’s no match for HAMILTON. Only the RedBULL boys are close.

    8. Nesto says:

      Its quite funny how people who are bored by F1, yet visit an F1 enthusiast site/blog and have time to thoughtfully leave a comment.

      I used to play video games… I don’t anymore yet I don’t feel the urge to visit gaming message boards and state how I don’t see how others are still enjoying it. Are you trying to make other people feel the same way you do ? When people are having fun at a party and you’re not, do you go around trying to bring everyone down with you ?

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        Great ! I totally agree, if some aren’t enjoying anymore, they should go away and leave us enjoying the racing.

        Don’t forget there are so many complicated minds out there to say the least. Some find their joy in criticizing !

      2. Xman says:

        hahah good points dude.

        The people commenting on here that this season is boring etc are the ones whos favourite driver(s) are not leading the WDC or have been making mistake lately. im sure if a different driver would be leading the championship the same people will be LOVING this championship.

      3. TM says:

        No there’s a big difference.
        I, like you, used to play computer games when I was a kid. I grew bored of playing computer games, and now pay no attention to game development, and no game that came out could make me care about gaming. Therefore, I would never wish to visit (or comment on) a gaming website.

        With F1 this year, I’m finding it boring, but in general I still love F1, and the things I’m finding boring will probably sort themselves out in a season or two. So I haven’t switched off F1, and I still watch it. So I still read and comment on websites like this.

        In short, if you are bored with something, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are no longer an enthusiast :o)

    9. Baktru says:

      I was taking you serious, until you put Schum in your ‘entertaining’ list.

    10. Xman says:

      Your just not the same type of F1 fan as me, i think i speak for a few of us on here.

      Its just like saying you dont like a quiet, deep thinking, spiritual and bueatiful kind of woman. And your idea of a good time is an energetic, happy going, in your face, look at me, kind of woman. (Strategy v Overtaking).. haha

      Hey – we all have our perfect type of woman, but what turns you on doesnt have to mean that it works for me.

      I really like the strategy and politics in F1 racing, watching Hamilton jump Alonso in the pits and thinking about their history etc was great.Witnessing Vettels engine blow gives so much to thinik about and impacts so many things.

      Im sure your geting the picture, and in the end, we all love women, its just that she likes to play games every now and again =)

      1. moschum says:

        at no point in my original post do I imply that i want constant overtaking, and ‘action action action’ all the time – some of you seem to default to a position that whenever someone opposes this so called ‘exciting championship’, it means they are not ‘true f1 fans’.

        in my post i make it quite clear that i enjoyed f1 in the 90′s, when there wasn’t constant overtaking, it wasn’t like the 70′s or 80′s, but At least the top runners when battling could run within a second of each other pretty constantly.
        At least they had fresh engines and gearboxes every race, and didn’t have to worry about nursing the cars home.
        At least after the pitstop they didnt get a message from the pit crew going ‘ok turn the engines down’.

        everyone seems to be excited simply because the numbers are close, come race day it will be another long processional bore-fest.

        maybe in Brazil this time alonso will crash or will have reliabiity problems, vettel will lead webber home in a 1-2, from start to finish, and oh look, vettel is back in! So exciting!!! And you’d call that an exciting race, because vettel is back in the championship. Take away the numbers and you see no evidence of actual racing whatsoever.

    11. Formula Zero says:

      Thank goodness for all the dramas this year. Otherwise we would’ve witnessed the most boring season in F1 history. Let’s hope the drama continues next year too.

      Just on a footnote, a true gentleman, courageous & very liked driver like Mark Webber deserves better from F1 in general. It’s understandable that Vettel is possibly the future face of F1. However, Red Bull, Horner & F1 in general owes webber for being a great fighter and role model. Well, after Webber leaves Red Bull in near future I’ve no doubt Red Bull will have to settle for drivers like Kovy to follow Vettel around throughout the year. That means, a lot less energy drinks sale.

      Go Webber

  5. jonrob says:

    I have a feeling that it’s going to come down to engines in the end.
    Re-using an old engine is restricted if it was changed during park ferme ie from leaving the pit lane in qualy to end of race; in that case it may only be used in the last race. Again of course a ten grid place penalty applies. Sporting Regs 28.4 a)and e)
    Is there a list of engines per driver somewhere?

    I have been looking in vain for the place that says you can change your setup on the grid on a second grid, as Mercedes did in Korea. The only reference I can find that allows this is when the race director officially declares a change of conditions. But in Korea did it not start wet and remain wet?

    1. James Allen says:

      No it’s there in the section of the Sporting Regs about Suspending a Race

    2. Andy C says:

      I think this is going to have a few more twists and turns yet.

      Don’t the mclarens have a fresh engine left? If so they might bevable to turn it up in quali.

      I personally think it’s down to webber and alonso.

      Although I’d be delighted to see Lewis win it (jenson is out of it now), I’d like to see mark get it. But if Fernando wins I will be the first to give him credit. His comeback has been really impressive.

      I think the reality on mclarens percieved lack of development compared to last year is a little misleading.

      Redbull and ferrari have really developed well this year, and mclaren have struggled with their diffuser development.

      And let’s not forget, when they gained such a large amount last year they started the year with a dog of a car, and the best kers system in the pitlane.

      I hope they push on for the last two races and at least take the fight to the ferraris and bulls.

      1. ETM says:

        Everyone is already running full rich and at the rev limits in today’s qualifying. There really is no such thing as an additional ‘turn it up’ option now that there are no turbos and we have rev limits. It really about how much they turn it down for the race for fuel consumption and longevity reasons.

      2. drums says:

        There is possibility on running the engine full rev along all of the Q3 last lap to get full use of the exhausts feeding the diffusor. This could probably fatigue the engine more than if not, in particular if it is put on use during the race for longer periods to gain advantage from the rivals. At least this is how I understand it. Lot of secrecy on it.

    3. Galapago555 says:

      I think that the article is 41.4:

      “41.4 Whilst the race is suspended :
      - neither the race nor the timekeeping system will stop, however, in accordance with Article 5.3 the length of the race suspension will be added to the maximum two hour period ;
      - cars may be worked on once they have stopped on the grid or entered the pits but any such work must not impede the resumption of the race;
      - only team members and officials will be permitted on the grid.”

      1. jonrob says:

        Yes you are quite right, I bow to your superior regs search.
        One wonders therefore why the rest of the grid did not also change to a full wet setup.

      2. Galapago555 says:

        I was asking myself the same question. First I thought that it was because they were not confident on having enough time to do the changes – that’s not the reason, you will find in the regs that a 10 min warning must be issued by RC before the restart of the race. So in my opinion it should be because the other teams expected the rain to stop on a short time and the track to finally get dry.

        I also think that probably all the front runners were watching each other just to make the same strategy, and change settings only if the others do so…

        Any suggestion?

    4. Steven says:

      I think Lewis and Jenson are on their last fresh engine. So they should be in good shape for the last 2 races.

  6. knoxploration says:

    James said:

    “With two races to go, and one driver 11 points off the lead with the other 25 adrift, logic would suggest that the emphasis would go behind the leading driver, but Red Bull has made it clear that this will not happen.”

    Categorically not true. Horner, since the last race (which clearly changed everything) has been quite clear in stating that they’re reevaluating their decision on team orders, and haven’t issued a verdict either way as yet.

    Speaking as a Vettel fan myself, issuing team orders in favor of Webber is absolutely the correct thing for the team to do at this point in time. Ferrari have had team orders for half the season now, and McLaren will unquestionably have them at the remaining two races, whether they’ll admit it or not. To attempt to win the championship from behind against rivals who are implementing team orders, without doing so oneself, is a strategy doomed to failure.

    Even for Mark to win at this point is a relatively big ask, with the deficit he has, and only two races remaining. For Vettel to win is near impossible in the real world.

    James continued:

    “Furthermore team boss Christian Horner expanded on his comments from last week on team priorities, when he said that the team would be built around Vettel for the future.

    Psychologically that is a tough thing for Webber to hear at this stage of the season.”

    Got to disagree here too, I’m afraid. Mark is a big boy. He knows that he’s among the oldest men on the grid, and near the end of his career. At best, he knows he’s got maybe two or three years racing left in him, where Vettel is among the youngest men on the grid, with most of his racing career still ahead of him. I don’t believe for one second that Mark would expect his team to tie their fortunes to an effort built around a driver who isn’t far from retiring, when they could instead build the team around a driver of similar talent and ample time to recoup the investment.

  7. James Mc says:

    How many times will you have to rewrite the end of your book for this year?

    Its just too close to call but im hoping and praying that Webber comes through.

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      This year, it’s not a book, an encyclopedia is required to review the season.

  8. Jason C says:

    “We will fight to the last corner of the last lap,” said a fired up Domenicali on Sunday night.

    No doubt he has painful memories of 2008.

    Who’d have thought that a season with one dominant team could end up so close?

    1. Damian J says:

      I suspect Montezemola also has painful memories of Brazil 2008. He subsequently admitted to smashing his television set in anger. Priceless!

  9. Damian J says:

    James,

    Do you know what checks Ferrari will doing to Alonso’s last engine to ensure that it does n’t go the same way as Vettel’s?

    1. vodka and orange says:

      Ferrari have already stated they have no concerns regarding Fernandos remaining engines, as JA said on here 2-3 weeks ago! #:) Stop your wishful daydreaming, or you could be accused of being unsporting after the scenes in the McLaren[mod] garage when Mark crashed out and Sebs engine spewed its guts all over the place! James, did Renoo supply Bullcrappers with a duff motor as a thank you gift to Fernando for 05 and 06?? Conspiracy theories abound in F1 dont they? Have you heard the 1 about Gerhard berger accusing Mark of deliberately trying to take out a rival after dropped it in Korea? #:)

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        FERRARI are really tight with the engine vodka. It’s not a daydream

      2. Stevie P says:

        I think you’ll find that when Vettel’s engine went boom, the cameras cut to a Ferrari team member who simply couldn’t hide his joy.

      3. Damian J says:

        Vodka and Orange,

        You obviously failed to notice the unsporting cheering in the Ferrari garage also at Korea at Webber’s crash and Vettel’s unlucky engine blow.

        You really should keep up to date with F1. Last week SD admitted hthat he had a few concerns about Alonso’s engine and we know why because they are forced into using the Monza engine.

      4. mtb says:

        “You obviously failed to notice the unsporting cheering in the Ferrari garage…”

        Yes, but it is already well established that Ferrari is an unsporting team. McLaren, on the other hand, is a paragon of nobility. ;)

      5. Peter C says:

        Did you not see the scenes in the Ferrari garage, or just choose to ignore it because it doesn’t suit the anti McLaren argument?

      6. AgBNYC says:

        Unfortunately – there was cheering going on in both Ferrari and McLaren garages…

      7. Damian J says:

        One might understand the McLaren reaction to Redbulls misfortune more so than the reaction by Ferrari as there have been three racing incidents involving a Redbull driver shunting into a McLaren this season. Could be crucial in the final reckoning for the WCC and WDC.

      8. mtb says:

        Danny Sullivan said that had Webber been eliminated in Singapore and Hamilton had continued then he would have recommended penalising Hamilton for not giving Webber enough room.

  10. AlexD says:

    Hello James. But Ferrari won the title in 2007 and it was under Domenicali, no?

    1. Rishi says:

      Domenicali became Ferrari team boss in time for the 2008 season so he has won a constructors’ championship (from that year) in his senior role but no drivers’ title.

    2. Kirk says:

      No, 2007 was Jean Todt’s last year as Ferrari team principal.

  11. Galapago555 says:

    We were discussing some weeks ago about the kind of leadership that Alonso has brought into Ferrari.

    In my opinion, you could find it in this two very different moments: one, after Silverstone disaster (the week after Valencia), on his slowing lap, when he told on the Team Radio: “guys, heads held high, we are going for the Championship”. And now, saying just the opposite: the Red Bulls are still the favourite ones, there is a long way to go…

    So hi was extremely optimistic when everything seemed lost, and now he is very cautious when everybody around is euphoric.

    In my opinion, this is the kind of leadership that Ferrari was looking for when they signed Alonso. And he is delivering.

    1. vodka and orange says:

      There is something called psychology, and there is another aspect called kidology! Fernando knows how to use both after the [mod] stuff he had to put up with at McLaren [mod] in 2007. Ferrari and Fernando both said before the start of this season that “The time is right for them to join forces”….all part of the psychology and kidology complex!! #:)

  12. Thalasa says:

    Hi James, do you think RB are 100% honest when they say they will be backing both drivers equally? Or do they say so because they think they have to?

    1. drums says:

      Probably it is a ‘no’ to your first question and ‘yes’ to the second one.

  13. Hobo says:

    Hopefully Renault (Kubica) and Mercedes (Rosberg) both get their deserved podium finishes before the season is over, thus docking crucial points away from the WDC contenders.

  14. Jo Torrent says:

    I think that the championship is a 3 horse battle. Lewis Hamilton has a slow car (end of story). Oh ! his car might look quick on Friday and breaks the speed of sound on straight line but it won’t last !

    The 3 horse result depends on one factor. Alonso’s engine. If his engine stands the couple of races, Vettel has 0 chance of beating him because he has to win a couple of races + other circumstances and recent history taught us that Vettel doesn’t win back to back races. Either he makes a mistake or something breaks in his car be it engine, brakes or whatever. The guy is cursed I garantee you. All the bad things Schumacher did are haunting the baby Schumacher.

    As for Webber, he has to be ahead of ALONSO and he has the car to be ahead and if he want to be a champion he’d better win at least one of the remaining races. Even if Vettel is ahead of him in Abu Dhabi, the team will let him through because Vettel won’t be able to clinch the title.

    Now if ALONSO has an engine issue, he’s out of the title and it is between the RedBull guys. If Vettel wins both races, he’s the champion but he won’t (he’s cursed remember !). Thus Webber is champion unless he gets tentative and behaves Buttonishly or worse Massily.

    So clearly for me the world champion is MARK WEBBER. If ALONSO’s engine holds he’s 2nd and Vettel is 3rd. If not it’s the opposite. I AM 100% SURE.

    PS : Lewis Hamilton might win the title if he puts “2007 lewis hamilton” in the FERRARI and both RedBulls.

    1. Albertini says:

      all its about the alonso´s engine?? of course, the red bull never breaks….

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        Albertini, are you the football playere ? I sense a FERRARI tiffoso here. I’m one too.

        ALONSO’s engine has done MONZA the hardest track on engines. He has to do BRAZIL with a long uphill straight and ABU DHABI where this week temperatures might exceed 30°C. These are not easy conditions for an engine.

        So FERRARI has maybe to go the safe way with cooling which might compromise their pace. They’ll be stressed for sure !

    2. vodka and orange says:

      this post gave me a headache! #:)

    3. Stephen Kellett says:

      Talking about Vettel: The guy is cursed I garantee you.

      [mod]
      Mark Webbers career, his entire F1 career has been cursed, he’d have mechnical failures, except this year, the one year he has had reasonable luck.

      They are both talented drivers, and possibly Vettel may turn out to be the superior of the two, but on balance, looking at their careers, Mark has by a large margin the worst luck of the two (if anything, worst luck of anyone in the pitlane).

      Interesting that years ago when Mark was pootling around in a rubbish Jaguar, Schumacher identified Webber as a potential serious player. He was right.

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        Agree Webber was unlucky in all his career. He was very lucky this year.

        I’m not comparing Vettel’s luck to Webber, I’m comparing it to the 5 title contenders and he’s by far the unluckiest of the bunch.

    4. Matt Cheshire says:

      Jo, I agree with your logic. But I think Vettel makes his own luck to a degree. Webber is the seasoned campaigner who has saved his engines and still had a new one for Korea, Vettel looks to be harsher with his equipment and pays the price. Not completely his fault but he probably invites problems.

      I think engines are the key here because Webber can push.
      His Korea engine is still fresh (surely the only silver lining from his spin).

      Is Alonso on borrowed time with his recycled engines? We don’t hear much about this because only the Ferrari mechanics really know the extent of the problem.

      Here’s my question- what will be the trigger for Vettel to be instructed to support Webber? Will it be Alonso’s qualifying position in Brazil? Or will it come mid-race if Alonso is 3rd or better? How else can they do it? It must surely happen in Brazil.

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        Great question, I think that Vettel will very likely do his own race in BRAZIL. Only in Abu Dhabi he will help Webber.

        Anyway, if a situation arises where he has to help in BRAZIL it won’t be before the race has well progressed.

  15. Fuller says:

    “We will fight to the last corner of the last lap,” said a fired up Domenicali on Sunday night.

    You see this is ferraris problem, they give up on the last corner and not actually at the finish line, I seem to remember it cost massa the drivers championship in 2008!

    1. vodka and orange says:

      duh!! very informative….wish Id said all that!

    2. Lev Piautzer says:

      well they did win the race. what more would you like?

  16. Danny says:

    Hi James,

    Another great post/article as usual. My question is around Massa’s psyche going into Interlagos. What is his psyche in your opinion? At South Korea he looked so despondent, very sad and detached.

    Any thoughts on why he looked so down?

    Thanks,
    Danny

    1. Kirk says:

      He has read the reports that Ferrari are looking to replace him for next year! He simply hasn’t performed anywhere near Alonso in the second half of the season.

  17. Rory Alex says:

    The problem with Red Bull, I realized is that it is hard to feel any sympathy or love for the team. You can’t be nostalgic or emotional about a team built on soft drink money, nor do their drivers (a la Schumacher during Benetton days) elicit any loyalty with their brilliance.

    Christian Horner moaning about his engines lacking power every interview does not inspire, and him being a pompous toff does not help either. If you aren’t happy with your engines, build your own, like your closest competitors! Stop cribbing about engines you have bought at a much lower cost than it would have taken, for example Ferrari to develop their own.

    Besides, I have never heard anyone complain that the Renault engines supposedly have the best fuel consumption of all the engines. Shouldn’t we have equalization of fuel consumption too? Also, how do you explain that the Renault works team have a competitive top speed and are equally competetive at all circuits, other than that Red Bull keep running a high downforce, high drag set-up?

    Stop crying, and be a man, Horner. Either accept responsibility for a collective failure to capitalize on the best car or fall on your sword. Either way, nobody will mourn Vettel failing to win this championship.

    1. vodka and orange says:

      I hope James tries to answer this post! I will wait with baited breath until he does! #:)

      1. vodka and orange says:

        but ill probably be waiting until mankind lands on Mars!!! #:)

    2. Stephen Kellett says:

      Horner, a pompous toff? I’ve always thought he is very composed and quite magnanimous in defeat and in victory.

      If you want pompous, try David Starkey.

    3. Jo Torrent says:

      Absolutely rubbish. They’re a great team and the fact they’re not proper constructors adds to their accomplishments.

      I agree that they shouldn’t criticize RENAULT publicly but that’s it.

    4. Peter C says:

      If you have a problem with ‘pompous toffs’ meaning someone with brains who happens to have had a good education, then its for you to deal with.

      Prove your point by going to run an F1 team.

  18. Harry Alexander says:

    Hi,

    During the race, on the laps after Petrov crashed, with a yellow flag deployed in the final sector, I noticed Alonso setting purple sector times in the last sector. Isn’t that a punishable offense? Was it an oversight that the Stewards failed to see?

    1. stoikee says:

      I thought they can still go full speed but not overtake? Besides, it was wet – he wasn’t really that fast.

      1. Adrian says:

        I think that’s the point. They have to show that they’ve acknowledged the yellow flag – perhaps by lifting off the throttle slightly or something – but because the track was drying it is possible that he could have done this and still set a purple sector.

        Much as I dislike Alonso (though I do like that so often he starts his answers to questions with “Yes…”) I don’t think he did anything wrong here it was just that track conditions conspired to give him purple sector times even with the yellow flag.

    2. alexander says:

      Very good point! They should punnish him harshly – as they’ve done with Hamilton in Valencia. Also in Monaco I’ve seen Alonso crossing the street in a place he shouldn’t have done – do you think Jean Todt needs to know this?

      1. Damian J says:

        It’s useful to note that Ferrari have received more than their fair share of lucky escapes from FIA penalties this year including Massa’s false start at Spa. So it’s very tiresome to hear Montezemolo’s regular public outburts seeking to point fingers in all directions except towards his own team’s failings when things don’t go his way.

  19. Andras F. says:

    James,
    When Vettel’s engine blew off some parts I saw some lose parts at the rear.
    Do you what could those could be?
    An article about the engine failures would be interesting to read.

    I am getting more and more familiar with the new point system but I have a calculation for the last year’s version too (Just for fun).
    Differences are really low at the front.

    1. Alonso 93
    2. Webber 88
    3. Hamilton 87
    4. Vettel 84
    5. Button 77

    1. vodka and orange says:

      check out F1 Fanatic for all the charts and graphs you will ever want….Keith is an F1 geek, so there is plenty there to keep you happy! #:)

    2. LT says:

      I would like an article on engine failures too. I would also like to see some pictures of blown engines though is is probably impossible due to the secrecy of the teams (and suppliers). I would love to see what Vettels engine looked like after that blow up!

  20. Tim says:

    This championship is already Alonso’s. Red Bull re their own worst enemy. McLaren ate too slow. Alonso will podium the last two races and that will be enough.

    1. Rob T says:

      Not if Red Bull make the sensible choice and work to make Mark win the last two races, then they clinch the title with Mark. Unfortunately Red Bull don’t make sensible choices….

      1. nickname says:

        As i’ve already said on this forum if Webber want the title he must win both races and the title is his, Vettel should not come into play. The real reason you Webber fans are so vociforously pleadind for Vettel to help is because deep down your know Webber is unlikely to bring home the two wins required and if that’s the case he does not deserve the title.

        Another good reason for the team to not support Webber is the question marks surrounding his loyalty. If he wins the title he will probably retire but will most likely leave RB, now link that to the predictable media narrative about how “he had to fight with one hand tied to his back” or “win in a team that openly favoured his team-mate”, Webber will in all likely-hood respond in kind and leave) with a ssmug parting shot similar to the one he uttered at the team back in Silverstone, those are my reasons as to why Webber shouldn’t be backed.

      2. Rob T says:

        …such passion nickname – I love it!

        Ferrari decided months ago that they would work with Alonso to win the title.

        McLaren are now calling on Jenson to support Lewis in the last two races.

        Ferrari and McLaren know how to win world titles.

        Red Bull have shown this season that Newey can still build cars that are the class of the field BUT they cannot strategise effectively.

        If you are correct about Webber walking away then wouldn’t Sebastian get drive around with the number 1 on his car next year if Red Bull made the sensible choice?

      3. Jo Torrent says:

        Webber has only to win one race and finish ahead of ALONSO twice. The title is his to loose. He doesn’t need team support until ABU DHABI.

    2. Kirk says:

      If Alonso places third at the last two races and the Red Bulls finish 1 and 2, then they could both beat Alonso in the WDC.

      And if Webber beats Alonso in the last two races, in all likelihood he will be World Champion.

      As you say, Red Bull are their own worst enemy – they should still win unless they conspire with themselves to lose.

    3. Steven says:

      You’re forgetting the intangibles, engine failure(like vettels), crash(like webbers), mistakes like Hamilton in 2007, loose wheels, tire punctures(Mansell’s tire blow out in 1986), pile ups in the first corener, the list goes on… Theres so much that can happen that any of the top 3 can still win it. If we lived in a perfect world, you’d be right, but this world is far from perfect.

    4. Jo Torrent says:

      I’ve written a post here where I show that WEBBER is the favourite to the title and he doesn’t need team support until ABU DHABI.

    5. Stevie P says:

      “Anything can happen in Formula One… and it usually does”

  21. Nando says:

    Mclaren have stayed largely static with regards to Red Bull and Ferrari for a while now, it was always a very tough task to catch the advantage of the Red Bull and Ferrari without going for a more flexible interpretation of the regulations.
    Maybe the cars fundamental design aspect for straight line speed doesn’t allow them to make that change with the freeze on chassis changes.

  22. azac21 says:

    James,
    about the engine usage.

    Is it only Alonso that will running the 3rd race on one engine in Brazil? Sure it will be the same for the rest of the drivers?

    1. SuperOsnola says:

      Alonso will be running the 2nd race on his last usefull engine (probably he will use an old one for FP1 and FP2) in Brazil, so in Abu Dhabi he will use an engine that will have been used for Monza and Brazil…

    2. Joe says:

      Not necessarily. Some of the drivers have fresher engines, because they stretched the use of earlier engines. But what everyone seems to forget is that there is 19 races, and 8 engines. Everyone has had to run at least 3 races on 3 of their engines (or even more). The fact that Alonso has an engine that has raced once, and needs to last 2 more isn’t as much as cause for concern as everyone seems to think.

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        Problem is one of those races is MONZA. You don’t wanna use the engine which did MONZA 3 times, do you ?
        Moreover, there’s ABU DHABI heat. This week, temperatures are around0 30°C.

      2. azac21 says:

        Thanks,

        I suppose the catastrophe for Alonso would be if he has a blown engine in Brazil. Then he will have the DNF plus a 10 place grid penalty in Abu Dhabi for having to use an extra engine. Very scary prospect.

        In a similar situation the other contenders will have spare engines to use so they wont get the grid penalty.

      3. Adrian says:

        Except that it is the engine that did Monza and now has to do Brazil with the long stretch up the hill…

      4. azac21 says:

        It is a Ferrari engine at least…

  23. Ben says:

    James, Domenicali was in charge of Ferrari in 2008 when they won the WCC.

    I am wondering, following the recent hint of a U-turn regarding their position on team tactics whether the announcement regarding Red Bull building the team around Vettel was a pre-emptive to keep him on board should they decide to back Webber.

    It is a way of saying to him this is your team, and we are committing to you for future championships – but this year we have to back Webber.

    It seems strange they would do something that would unsettle Webber right before suggesting that they about to back him.

    If Vettel collects two wins, he needs an average finish of 4th or lower from Alonso. As Red Bull can only guarantee he finishes 3rd with 1-2s it is obvious why they are considering it.

    However, I also sense there is a strong desire for them to make Vettel the youngest WDC. It would be a feather in their cap if the protege of their Young Driver Program achieved that record, and this is Vettel’s last opportunity to take it from Hamilton.

    1. Andy C says:

      I can understand the young driver programme wanting success.

      I was thinking back to button at Honda where he had a really good year (proor to ross going to the team) then the next years car was dire.

      Similarly kubica at BMW looked destined to succeed after winning but the prior year. The following season it didn’t go well.

      Even though rb have newey, there is no guarantee they will have the best car next year.

      If I was I’m charge I’d try to win it this year.! With the guy with the best chance and closest on points. I think Horner would back webber but it isn’t his call and as you said there are vested interests in trying to win with vettel.

    2. Dan P says:

      It’s almost as if Red Bull would rather lose the drivers championship than have Webber take it over Vettel.

      Red Bull were willing to back Vettel as long ago as Turkey and Silverstone because he was ahead on points and now with Webber the only one of the 2 with a realistic chance of winning the championship they still won’t back him.

      I have no respect whatsoever for Horner.

      1. Andy C says:

        Let’s not forget dan, that Christian co owns a race team with mark. I think behind closed doors over a beer he’d tell you he wanted mark to win :-)

        But he is employed by the team, and has paymasters like we all do.

    3. vodka and orange says:

      The same reasoning behind Ron Dennis`s disastrous 2007 season! Business and sporting suicide about to rear its ugly head again!! Some people just dont learn do they? #:)

    4. Syed says:

      It doesn’t matter if Webber is unsettled, because he can’t afford to be complacent. This is probably the very last chance in his life to win a WDC therefore even if RBR unsettle him, he’ll just have to get on with it and do his best. I’m just praying Alonso takes the title because he has proven to me that he is just very quick compared to massa who had spanked kimi in ’08. Even now when i watch qualifyings and races of that season, i am stunned to see around 3 tenths deficit kimi had on massa. And now for whatever reason.

  24. Rob T says:

    It amazes me that Red Bull haven’t removed the emotion from the situation and looked at who provides them with their best chances of winning the WDC. If Vettel wins will they realy sell more cans of Red Bull around the worls than if Mark wins or Alonso?

    What spoke volumes to me was that when Mark crashed on Sunday the only person on the pit wall to look visibly upset was Adrian Newey. At least one senior person in Red Bull would be happy to see Mark win.

  25. Joe says:

    Hi James,

    Nice piece, though I feel you should make more of a distinction between ‘what is probably going to need to happen’ and ‘what HAS to happen, mathematically speaking’…

    Your comment that: “Webber needs to finish ahead of Alonso in both the remaining races with a win in one of them” is wrong in two ways!!

    Webber does not NEED to finish ahead of Alonso in both remaining races and neither does he NEED to win one of them to win the title!

    Perhaps use of the words ‘likely’ or ‘probably’ would make it less misleading!

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      James is putting it from WEBBER perspective. If you were WEBBER, you wouldn’t wonder whether ALONSO has a bad day or not. You put yourself in the position where ALONSO is strong as he has been in the last 7 outings.

      From that point, you see what you have to do. And that’s what he has to do when he prepares his week-end. He has to keep in mind that he has to be ahead of ALONSO and win a race. If ALONSO has a bad day, it’s a bonus but you don’t build your title chase on what ifs, certainly not when you have the quickest car, do you ?

      So James was absolutely right in his post. He didn’t need probably or likely. It was perfect the way he put it.

  26. Alexx says:

    Recently i looked up some stats on the drivers competing in this years WDC,

    Webber is the only driver out of the contenders that has never won any title in his previous driving career, all the others have been champions in lower formula. The one time he was in contention, and then came 2nd in F3000, he failed to finish the last 4 races!

    He was also the first one to crash when the pressure got turned up in Korea!

    Hamilton, Alonso, and the rest have been champions in other categories.

    Does Webber really have the right-stuff?

    Just an alternative opinion to think about.

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      Nice suggestion ! I am surprised no one came with that among the media.

    2. TS says:

      Certainly, and that point has been raised before, however he has also had a far longer and more tortuous road into F1 than any of the others and the mental toughness that comes from that could certainly go some if not all the way to making up for not wining a title.

    3. Alex says:

      He won in Go Karts – and that was the last time he had a top motor – until 2010, and now he has the cars aero developed to his team mate’s driving strengths.

  27. Ben Miller says:

    Any thoughts?

    I have been surprised by Mclaren not getting new parts to work, especially given last seasons improvements. I am equally surprised by how well Ferrari have managed, bar an early season lull, to consistently develop their car and bring parts which seemingly work first time.

    Whilst last seasons Macca was a flawed design so the base performance was so low, perhaps it a gave a slightly skewed reflection of their development capability – but still, back of the grid to winning car (albeit with the help of KERS) is impressive.

    Ferrari in my opinion had a slightly weak technical team but appointing Azzollini from Toyota and more recently Fry from Mclaren, do you think this has contributed to Ferrari’s rate of development and execution this season? Also, with Fry leaving contributed to the problems at Mclaren. It may be too recent an appointment for his influence to have any effect but just a thought.

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      I don’t think that FERRARI is different from last year. What’s different is they have ALONSO. Look at the gap he managed to put between himself and MASSA. And that was straight from the start of the season in a team he wasn’t settled in.

      I know MASSA seemed to suggest problems with tyre temperature but Bridgestone seems to disagree. Next year, he won’t have the tyres excuse and we’ll know the truth.
      FERRARI would’ve seemed a struggly team without ALONSO this year as it did last year.

      Fry came very recently so he didn’t have effect on FERRARI. His lost might have affected McLaren but clearly not FERRARI not yet.

      1. Damian J says:

        Always a blow to lose a key engineer such as Pat Fry to a rival team. One wonders how many 2011 secrets may have been leaked to Ferrari. Simply open a cheque book to acquire secrets through the recruitment of rival design engineers because they can outbid the other teams with wages as they get paid more by F1.

      2. Jo Torrent says:

        You forgot that one key engineer from GREECE left FERRARI to McLaren not long ago. And that engineers leave from one team to the other and bring ideas with them.

        When you use some other teams software, data or documents (confidential documents moreover), that’s a different matter, isn’t it ?

      3. Damian J says:

        It’s a pity that FIA has never been consistent on the issue of information transfer (confidential or otherwise) between ALL teams through the decades, not least with the kangaroo court that was used to great effect against McLaren in 2007.

    2. azac21 says:

      I think Ferrari also had a problem when they first developed the F-duct. It took them a couple of races to optimise it. Although I agree McLarens have either failed to develop/optimise quickly or wasted precious effort chasing after oponents flexi-wings and floors.

  28. Lionel says:

    I think the man wo would be king is Vettel. Vettel will effectively decide who becomes the Champion. It will be either Alonso or Webber. Vettel has the capacity to win the last 2 races… and if he decides to take the wins, Alonso becomes Champion… by coming 3rd in both of the last 2 races ( I do not see any McLarens challenging him).. with Webber 2nd inboth. If he however lets Webber Win one of those races, Then Webber becomes champion.

    So it will be a case of strong Man Management from Horner to have vettel play the team game and let his team mate become Champion or he can be spiteful and rather have Alonso Win… We will soon find out!

  29. Alexx says:

    I believe that Buttons new goal for the rest of the season is to not get mathimatically behind Lewis in points,

    in order to not have to ‘play along’

    Maybe a battle to look out for?

    1. James Allen says:

      ..In the eyes of his countrymen

      1. Adrian says:

        Not all of them…!!

        I hadn’t up until now, but after Korea I firmly believe that Button should help Hamilton if he gets chance…it’s just so unlikely that the pieces will fall into place for Button to stand a chance of winning the WDC.

      2. Ed says:

        James,

        Surely as Jenson would be helping Lewis, who is also British, he would not be rounded on, in the same way that say, Felipe was in Brazil for allowing Fernando through in Hockenheim?

        Surely if Lewis was in with a a chance to win the championship and didn’t because Jenson refused to play ball then Jenson would be slaughtered in the media, especially by the red tops?

      3. James Allen says:

        It’s nothing to do with nationality. It’s timing. Massa moved over in July. If Button helps Hamilton in the final rounds ( or any other team mates for that matter) then it’s understandable

  30. B.Ware says:

    James,
    I’m disappointed with your characterization of Felipe Massa’s noble gesture as “shame”. I totally agree that Ferrari were wrong to ask him to move over. But as difficult as it must have been for him, he kept his word to his team, unlike one whining egotistical twit who’s father/manager tells him that he only has to honor his word if it is in his own best interest. There is no shame in keeping your word and being a gentleman.

    1. Canuck says:

      I am not a LH fan, but ruthlesness is something that all F1 champions had in common.

      That is why the perception of Massa’s character has taken a hit.
      He still has plenty of years to reverse that opinion, though.
      Sadly, he also has a few years to confirm the opinion that he is not a top driver (he has worked to this end so far in 2010).

      I don’t rate Hamilton as the top tier driver he is hyped into (for now).
      He didn’t have to spend years in middle-field cars to learn the trade, so he is learning it in a top tier car (and this makes his big mistakes that much more noticeable – such as throwing away championships).

      But in a few years, he will be a force to be reckoned with.

      This is from a Ferrari/Alonso fan thoroughly enjoying the moment.

  31. David says:

    Hi James, great article.

    What do you think of the idea of Alonso changing his engine after qualifying in Brazil? As one of the circuits most conducive to overtaking, surely the disadvantage would be minimal? The frightening possibility of having an engine blow in the race and then having to take a ten-place drop in Abu Dhabi is surely enough to make Ferrari consider this as a viable option?

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      It’s a suicide mate. If he manages a point or 2 from there, he’s a hero.
      Afterwards, ABU DHABI won’t matter anymore. If his engine cries enough, his title is over.

      1. AgBNYC says:

        The engine scenario is very intriguing and Webber seemingly has a big advantage.

        I believe Vettel is in an even worse situation than Alonso with engines. I read something interesting in the Italian press where they say Newey ditched the Ferrari engines in favor of Renault because the radiators Ferrari insisted on were too large for his design philosophy and that the RB6 still is VERY marginal on cooling. Additionally that the software to feed the diffuser even off throttle (to varying degrees – more so in qualifying) raises the temps even further…

        If Alonso does blow an engine in Brazil, he may still have access to a seasoned unit and avoid the 10 place penalty in Abu Dhabi – though I don’t know how confident they are in the previously raced units at their disposal.

  32. guy says:

    I did some research and discovered that Mark Webber has 6 wins, 6 fastest laps, and 6 pole positions! Coincidence? I think not! Shortly after taking the title I predict that he will be elected world leader and make a series of decisions that will lead to the end of civilization as we know it.

    1. The Ram says:

      He also drives car number 6! He must be the devil in disguise.

  33. Dave says:

    Nothing will be decided until the last 25% of the race at interlagos. If Vettel is leading, Webber 2nd and Alonso 3rd then I imagine Red Bull will work it so that Webber wins the race. A potential 15 point deficit going into the final race for Vettel (or 1 point for Webber) when Alonso has finished no lower than 3rd in 6 of the last 7 races is too much and one thing is clear Mateschitz will not allow them to hand the championship to Alonso. Horner has already said they need to look at the mathematics before Brazil and the pit wall, drivers and even Marko will know the score. This all depends on where Alonso is tracking though.

    Alonso’s 8th engine (and subsequently Vettel’s 8th) is the question. Despite only completing Saturday and Sunday at Monza (around 500 km’s)it is one of the toughest circuits on the engine; Interlagos is hard on the engine as well and by the completion of the race weekend Alonso’s 8th would have completed an additional 450 km’s. Would you rather take a 10 place grid penalty at Interlagos where overtaking is possible (a la 2009) or risk taking an engine that has already completed 2 strenuous GP’s to Abu Dhabi where you know you will need to push to the end in air temps of around 35 degrees and track temperatures much higher potentially following behind another car in hot dirty air for 300 km’s and risk a failure….

    There is a lot more to this story to be played out – as Webber said “bring it on”

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      I agree that in the last part of the race something might be decided, but I don’t see Vettel giving his win if he’s ahead of WEBBER because he’ll be with a chance if he wins in ABU DHABI as well.

      I see more VETTEL giving his 2nd or 3rd to WEBBER if they are in that position. Giving the victory looks unlikely to me.

      As for ALONSO’s engine, I share your concern. But I don’t think he can mange anything if changes the engine after qualifying. He’ll start at the back of the grid and from there any hope will be gone.

      1. Dave says:

        They wouldn’t change it post qualifying as without a valid reason to do so would result in a start from pit lane. If they were to change an engine it would be post FP3 and pre qualifying.

        Starting position 13, 14 or 15 might not be so bad at Interlagos as we saw last year where positions 3,4 and 5 at the end of the race came from grid positions 17, 15 and 14 respectively.

        Yes there were retirements which helped as well as refuelling but with a short lap and strong possibility of a safety car it’s not that bad a proposition to know that come Abu Dhabi you have a strong engine for Practice (#8) and a relatively fresh engine for the race (#9). Alonso should be able to finish 5th or 6th given a starting position of 13-15.

    2. Stephen W says:

      I,ve thought this to,maybe Ferrari will wait and see where Alonso qualifies at Brazil before opting for a new engine,though i,m not sure whether they can after qualifying unless the existing unit expires.

  34. James says:

    If Massa finds his form again in the next two races, then we’re going to see a classic lesson in how a team wins a driver’s title by supporting one driver over another. Are you watching Red Bull? It’s not fair. It’s not pretty. But it will get you the title that people remember. Who really remembers the constructors titles?

    1. alexander says:

      What about Jenson? Can he suddenly become 2s per lap faster then anybody else like last year and win title himself or help Hamilton? I’m not against Massa but it’s time to stop dreaming. Alonso vs Massa in Q: 13 vs 4. 2 out of those 4 are because of car problems (crashes). Sorry – it’s humiliating.

  35. Snowy says:

    Does anybody seriously think that if the positions were reversed at RBR, with Vettel 11 points behind Alonso and Webber 25 points behind, we’d be hearing the sort of nonsense from them that they’ve come out with this week?

    Of course not – the team line would be that the lead driver should be favoured as all it would take would be for him to win both events, which should be possible given the speed of their car, then everything else that happens behind them is irrelevant. The WDC and most likely the Constructor’s Championship would be theirs.

    What more should a team want than to have their destiny entirely within their own hands and not having to rely on external events, and yet here they are saying they’re happier to give up that advantage, to what end? Clearly Vettel is still favoured. It’s an absurd situation.

    Ferrari rightly or wrongly (in terms of fairness to fans/spectators) put their efforts solely behind Alonso some time ago and now the way RBR are going they’re going to hand him the WDC on a plate by not adopting a similar sensible approach at this stage of the season.

    Unless they’re playing a double bluff and actually planning to favour Webber in order to secure the title but simply not alerting their competitors to their position. I find that highly unlikely, however, given their stance to date.

    Finally, here’s an interesting hypothetical scenario – imagine in the last race of the season, Vettel is leading with Webber second and Alonso behind somewhere. A win will give Vettel the championship BUT only if Webber finishes a place lower. Do you think perhaps an “issue” would arise with the car necessitating a pit stop? Or maybe he’d have to turn down the revs thus making him vulnerable to being passed.

    Or another scenario – Vettel is leading with Webber third. If things finish like that Vettel is the champion, but if Webber can make up a place the title is his. Would we see similar “issues” arise or Webber being told to hold station to ensure the title is secured for Vettel?

    Lots and lots of possibilities there. Only one thing seems to be certain and that is while Vettel has even the remotest mathematical chance of winning the championship he will be backed to the hilt. Don’t say you haven’t been warned about it in advance IF it does happen in Abu Dhabi!!

    1. Craig says:

      Or how about if Vettel is 1st, Webber 2nd, Alonso 3rd and Vettel takes the championship only if Alonso doesn’t take 2nd. Would Webber spin/crash/lift to let Alonso through as payback to RedBull for their treatment of him this year?

      1. alexander says:

        If we are not counting Germany – what are Ferrari favours of Alonso to Massa?

  36. Craig Curtis says:

    Whichever way you look at it, the title fight is now between Webber and Alonso. Christian Horner can sugar coat it all he likes but the reality is if he doesn’t tell his golden boy to help Mark and it goes oopsy for both of them then the fallout will be massive. Moments like this call for a sensible head, and I feel Red Bull are too inexperienced for a situation as tense as this.

    1. Stevie P says:

      So, MW and FA qualify at the front in Brazil and then fighting for the lead take each other out – what then?

      I’m not defending RedBull’s policy here (or advocating that of Ferrari), I’m just saying there are too many variables and the drivers championship is too close\convoluted to call – which for me has made this years championship ‘amazing’, ’scintillating’ and ‘wonderful’ (just my personal opinion Moschum).

      Personally, I think championship strategies will be made somewhat on the fly; depending upon firstly where each teams driver qualifies and then how the races pan out.

  37. James Bon says:

    Mark Webber has had 2 retirements this year due to this own mistakes. In Valencia, he smashed into Kov (typical Mark Webber style) and in Korea, he spun out in the rain (just like Silverstone a few years ago).

    Vettel have as many as 5 problematic race. Bahrain – half broken engine, Melbourne – Broken brakes, Turkey – he collided with Webber, Belgium – he smashed into Button, Korea – Engine broke.

    Looks to me both drivers have equal amount of faults, I think Red Bull should have use team strategy like Ferrari or Brawn GP. I know both Barachello and Massa would not agree on this. But at the end of this year when Alonso wins (I think he is gonna win), these two Brazillians will understand.

  38. Lynn says:

    Hah so Alonso is going to do a Kimi & win in his 1st year with Ferrari.

  39. Alb says:

    James,

    Do you have an online reference that outlines Christian Horner’s comments about building the car around Vettel in the future?

    Thanks,
    Alb

      1. monktonnik says:

        Thanks James, I was wondering about that too.

  40. Mark V says:

    I like the Red Bull drivers and team a lot but they should have sewn up both championships by now. I am not a fan of Alonso but he deserves a lot of respect for where he sits despite the various challenges this season including having only the third best car on the grid for many of the races.

    On a separate note, Button’s problems heating the tyres seems to be a very crucial, recurring theme these past several seasons in particular, and the undoing of some champions such as Button, Schumacher and perhaps Raikkonen in 2008.

    James I would like to see a technical article here on the science behind how the tires work/don’t work, and particularly how teams attempt to influence this via the way the car is engineered and setup both overtly and covertly. (eg; can brake heat somehow be purposely transmitted to the tyres?)

  41. monjimike says:

    It truly is a wonderful championship battle this year. I couldn’t agree more

  42. Harv says:

    I thought it was intriguing that the BBC commentators mentioned the first thing the Helmut Marko did when Vettel’s engine blew up was get on his mobile. I wonder if when it looked like Vettel would win, that he’d already been on the phone to Mateschitz to get his agreement that they could now focus solely on Vettel, only to realise that once his engine blew that the same argument could now apply to getting behind Webber. Mateschitz said earlier this year that all he wants is the WDC; he’d probably prefer Vettel for marketing purposes, but the WDC is the ultimate goal. They’ve had CLEARLY the best car all season, and Vettel is considered one of the fastest drivers, yet they are behind in the championship. That shows just how difficult it is to win one – it could be years before they are in a similar position. This is why I think in public they’ll be saying what they are currently saying, but in private, if Vettel is leading Webber with Alonso 3rd in Brazil, that Mateschitz will want Vettel to move over.

  43. Arya says:

    James, I would like to knwo how does this work! I am quoting you-”Vettel could do with winning both races to be sure, but even then he’ll need another car between him and Alonso.

    Even if Vettel wins both the races and has a car between him and Fernando; still he cuts down 20 points only. I am sure you can calculate the rest.

    For Fernando, it will be good enough to finish 3rd in next 2 races if Vettel heads a RBR 1-2.

    1. stoikee says:

      I think what James meant by “another car between” is another car besides Mark.

  44. Harv says:

    Another storyline that could be very interesting is whether at some point, if Massa finds himself in front of Alonso, which isn’t so far fetched considering he is excellent in Brazil, whether he would move over for him? He’s already been condemned in the country for doing it this year, why would he do that in front of his home fans, no matter what might be written into his contract? He could potentially help RBR by taking points off Alonso!!

    1. Gaz says:

      If Massa did find himself in that position I don’t envy him. He would have to move over for Alonso, but I think he would need an escort out of the circuit.

    2. Thomas in Australia says:

      Great point, I could see a fired up Massa ignoring the boss and putting an end to his Ferarri tenure in spectacular fashion.

      I would have nothing but respect for him if he did it!

    3. Gid says:

      This is a strong point! I got into the discussion to post it myself, actually.

      With Massa 1st and Alonso 2nd, Fernando is winning WDC only if Webber scores less than 4 points (means 9th or worse) and Hamilton no more than 14 (means 4th or worse); out of this scenario – daydream for Ferrari, but hard to realize without a failure for Webber – Ferrari should not allow Massa to remain in front.

      In my opinion, this is more a burden over Domenicali’s head rather than Massa’s: it’s up to him to make it clear to Felipe that, unless maths states Alonso as a champion, he should give him the place, and to face the huge critics this is going to create in Brazil.

    4. drums says:

      Then Ferrari could act as in Brazil 2007, when Massa yielded his leading position to Raikonnen in a well programmed pitting. Then Raikonnen won the race, Massa got the second place, Raikonnen won thereafter the 2007 WDC. It has to be remembered again and again, as human memory is too weak, I’m afraid.

      1. Arri says:

        Exactly…Massa relinquished his position for Kimi in Brazil 2007 and it was no problem then was it? and Kimi returned the favor the following year which was also no problem. What has happened this year is no different to all the others except for one thing…all the media hype…and lets not forget the open air radio transmissions had a lot do with how it affected everyone. As Luca Di M said, this years behavior from the other teams and some fans towards what happened in Germany was hypocrisy at it’s best. Ferrari just did what all teams have been doing since the beginning of F1, they just went about it the wrong way…I don’t see Massa having a problem relinquishing position to Fernando in Brazil should the need arise…but I doubt it will come to this.

      2. Damian J says:

        The issue is whether Massa will feel more pressure from the home crowd to respond as a Brazillian national or to perform as a Ferrari employee should there be a conflict of interest between the two positions.

      3. Arri says:

        well I guess that would depend on whether Felipe feels he no longer wants to drive for Ferrari and given his history with the team and the fact that he has arguably the best seat in F1 plus earns a whack of a salary I would say its a no brainer :-)

      4. Damian J says:

        Massa did not look a happy bunny after Hockenheim. Probably felt a knife was plunged into his back after being denied a win and the opportunity to make a claim for the WDC. Loyalty cuts both ways.

  45. Syed says:

    This is something i am posting again, the one thing i’ve noticed in this decade of Formula One is that the driver winning the opening race of the season has gone on to win the title except for only ‘03 and ‘05 season. Here’s for the record : –
    2000 – Australian GP won by M. Schumacher
    2001 – Australian GP won by M. Schumacher
    2002 – Australian GP won by M. Schumacher
    2004 – Australian GP won by M. Schumacher
    2006 – Australian GP won by F. Alonso
    2007 – Australian GP won by K. Raikkonen
    2008 – Australian GP won by L. Hamilton
    2009 – Australian GP won by J. Button
    2010 – Bahrain GP won by F. Alonso

    It goes to show that Alonso is on course to winning his 3rd title(hopefully) and this theory is further strengthened after he won the Korean GP.

    1. Harv says:

      Doesn’t seem too startling a statistic since winning the first GP of the year would indicate having a good car, and indeed the first 5 years you mentioned the winner had the best car and a team mate who supported, rather than challenged, him.

      1. moschum says:

        and how did ferrari stop barichello from challenging schumacher, race after race – turn down his engine? slow him down in practises, qualifying, and all of the race? every race? for all the races they were together?

        or maybe…..about 3 races out of a season was barichello anywhere near the pace of schumacher that he could even think of challenging him.

        one of these 2 paragraphs are facts, and it ain’t the first.

      2. Harv says:

        Fair enough, I know Barichello wasn’t anywhere near as fast as Schumacher, but my point was, even at tracks where he was, he was usually required to yield in some manner. Wasn’t attacking Schumacher, was just point out that the stat wasn’t especially surprising.

    2. Mark Jordan says:

      Certainly interesting to look at. Im completely biased here but considering the first race wasnt in Australia, then i think its fitting that an Aussie wins it :)

    3. Curro says:

      If you continue back into the 90s you’ll find more of the same…

    4. Tom (London) says:

      Yeah only DC and Fizzy have broken the trend. In the back of my mind I have had Alonso down as the WC just because he won the first race.

  46. Paul Hage says:

    McLaren a “grandee team”?
    I’m afraid not.Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault are the only ones in the sport at the moment.

    1. Andy C says:

      I’m sorry, are saying that mercedes and Renault are much higher in status than mclaren?

      And what about redbull?

    2. Damian J says:

      McLaren, not a grandee? The second most successful team in the history of F1!

  47. Nick4 says:

    Well said Ben. It seems as though James was referring to the WDC, as opposed to the WCC. All the hype is centered around the WDC at the moment, even if the likes of Frank Williams in the past was only ever focused in his mind on the WCC!
    Unless there is a pile up at either of these races, the odds lie clearly with Ferrari and Red Bull. Apart from the momentum lying with Ferrari and Alonso, Red Bull’s two contenders with Adrian Newey’s input, make the latter a tough competitor for Alonso whose engine situation must add a lttle more pressure. However, Alonso, who reminds one so much of Prost in these situations, has resolutely and shrewdly kept his goal of taking podiums his most realistic expectation. If a race win comes his way as it did at Korea, then he was in the right place at the right time just as Prost was in 1986. There is more pressure on Red Bull than Ferrari at the moment not least it being their first possible WDC and the youngest with Vettel, but that they have two contenders in the mix. McLaren blew it in 2007 by trying to back two drivers to the bitter end in the quest to to get a rookie WDC. One wonders if Red Bull have already signed off the WDC to Alonso by dithering over which strategy to follow, or perhaps they have made a decision. Whatever, this has been a cracker of a season and thanks to all the particpants for making it so. Can’t wait for Brazil.

  48. Selwyn Clyde says:

    Fantastic article! It certainly makes the next 2 rounds more thrilling! A little off-topic but don’t you think they should, at the next race weekend, highlight or commemorate Michael Schumacher’s amazing last drive at Brazil before he retired @ 2006? I know he didn’t win and he has suffered several problems during the race but we all know he made a fantastic drive to try and recover. Here he is back at the track where he raced his final lap before retiring back at 2006.

  49. PaulL says:

    For me this has been the most dispassionate and dull Grand Prix season in my 16 years of following the sport. It might have been great under 2008 regs.

    Nonetheless I am a great Alonso fan so it will be good to follow him home hopefully to a third world title.

  50. Baart says:

    Excuse me for little off topic, but who is a manager of Fernando Alonso ? Is it Luis Abad or Flavio Briatore ?

    1. alexander says:

      Luis Garcia Abad – for many years already

      1. Baart says:

        thanks

  51. Merk says:

    Pretty surreal to read Webber fanatics demand Vettel must help Webber win the title…doing what, give Webber the talent Vettel has? Take out the opponents by crashing them out? Sabotaging the engines of Alonso and Hamilton maybe at night?

    They are both already getting the same material, Webber should just do his job and be the fastest and he will win the title? I know it’s a crazy idea!

    Not by making an amateur mistake a la Petrov and fly off the track, then trying to take Alonso with him, but taking Rosberg instead.

    Suddenly everyone who accuse others of being amateurs because of mistakes are totally silent about the rookie way Webber threw it away, how he cracked and faltered because of the pressure.

    If Vettel had done that, all hell would be cast on him, and you all know it.

    In the rain we saw yet again who is the special talent of them all…Vettel drove around there like it was a dry track, over the kerbs, full throttle, leaving Webber 1 second per lap behind. Even Brundle (close friend of Webber who defends him come hell or high water) was shocked at the way Vettel went.

    F1 ‘fans’ are not F1 fans if they demand one driver who can still win the championship, serve another. That is a pathetic request. Now if Vettel could not win it anymore, then it would be normal to demand that.

    Take away the mechanical problems all drivers had and Vettel would be leading with 50 points now easily, already crowned champion.

    1. Andy C says:

      But he had those problems and he didn’t win those races.

      If redbull want to win the title they have to pick one guy and back him to the hilt.

      It doesn’t take a mathematician to work out who has more points.

      I’m a button fan, but I think his championship run is over and he should help Lewis if he can.

      If vettel is as good as you think he is, he should win it next year of redbull have the car.

      Sometimes teams who win need to think with their heads. Whether drivers like it or not.

    2. Grey says:

      It may have been Mark’s error (admitted by him), but “then trying to take Alonso with him, but taking Rosberg instead” is a ridiculous statement.

      Let’s not forget that Mark could still be leading this championship if his team mate didn’t crash into him in Turkey.

      Vettel may be fast, but only with a clear track in front of him. Just ask Jenson.

    3. SB says:

      And note that webber has never mentioned wanting help from his team mate…. So what, vettel is a wet weather specialist, and can win races from the front. Dont ask him to overtake anyone…. I thought Webbers race in Singapore showed how good he is. To make the strategy work for him. Put vettel in 4-5th place and ask him to overtake… To be honest i actually dont remember vettel overtaking anybody this year (without crashing into them). I think you will find that the people suggesting the team back webber are not necessarily webber fans, just people using a bit of logic… It would be easier for the driver with more points to win right? If vettel had significantly more points then webber right now then the team should back vettel.

  52. Mr Squiggle says:

    Horner needs to re-assert his right to give team orders to protect the lead Constructors Championship. Detrich M and Dr Marko have painted ‘horner into a corner’ in this regard.

    There are many Brazil GP scenarios that would require him to request a ‘hold position’, regardless of whether Webber or Vettel is in front of the other.

    This is his way out of the bind that statements of ‘no favouring one driver over the other’ has put him in.

    With regard to the WDC, there are scenarios where either Webber or Vettel could be asked to hold station.

    The best thing RB could do is say team orders are back on the table, and that they could benefit either driver, depending how the day plays out

  53. Rafael says:

    I feel incredibly sorry for Mark Webber; it’s as if the team’s top management would rather throw away a genuine shot at winning the title bec. it’s not Vettel who’s poised to take it. Christian Horner really needs to man up and do his job: which is, to guide the team in winning the world championship. Right now, Webber is the team’s most realistic and most logical shot.

    Remember back in 1999, even Ferrari ordered Michael Schumacher (then the Scuderia’s favored son) to support Irvine’s title bid, because the German was (well and truly) out of it. When Schumi showed signs of reluctance, di Montezemolo laid down the law and reminded him of who he worked for. Yes, Sebastian Vettel is still not out of the running, but RBR are being incredibly naive – and idiotic – when they’re hoping for a change of fortune to throw the Golden Boy back into the title hunt. As Ferrari have shown back in ’99 and ’08 (even if they didn’t win), you back the driver who represents the strongest possible chance of bagging the title – regardless of whether that driver is the “chosen one” or not. That policy won’t guarantee you the championship, but it will sure make things a lot less complicated and more manageable.

    This is why, after having followed F1 for so long, I still cannot see RBR as a team to be taken seriously. They act like they’re just around for the “extreme image” of the sport and for marketing purposes, rather than to win the World Championship.

    1. Dirk says:

      Webber just dropped 25 points on his own, in the allegedly best car in the lineup – while Vettel was pulling away at > 1sec lap (which was the reason for the crash i assume, trying to match Vettels speed in the wet).

      At least Vettels crashes had been racing incidents. And I believe that the fancy aerodynamics in the RBR was a least partialy to blame for the Button crash.

      If Webber wants the WC he should win races, at least his material doesn’t sabotage him.

      1. moschum says:

        conveniently forgetting some of webbers dominant wins, especially in monaco, and vettels idiotic moves, such as in silverstone and turkey.

        thumbs up for a well balanced comment.

      2. Grey says:

        Agreed Moschum.

    2. Cal says:

      No offense, but maybe if Webber hadn’t binned it in an amateur fashion in Korea, no one would need to hold his hand to help him win the championship?

      Any driver who won the championship because he had a second driver backing him, in my eyes, is not a real champion. He must fully and with the same material BEAT his teammate until the last race.

      Demanding a driver who can still win the championship, to serve another is not sportsman like, it is weak and ‘fake’.

      No real F1 fan who loves the sport would support it, only the very biased ones would who make a huge political event out of it, including bigoted Germany jokes…which I am glad to see isn’t on JA site…but other forums and sites…

      Just race to the end and who has the most points gets it, easy concept. No one is stopping Webber to be the fastest on the track, he has the best material, so he should just deliver and easily win the title.

      On a British racing forum we had a poll and the result was that 89% who at the moment were against Alonso being backed by Massa (who is out of the title hunt), were for Vettel backing Webber. The irony and hypocrisy is enough to give the unbiased a headache.

      The fact is, Webber fans know he doesn’t have what it takes to do it on his own, and you know very well Vettel can win the 2 races and depending on the others’ performance, win the title.

      Is why you all are stressing and panicing how RBR should order Vettel to help Webber win the title…in what way? Drive his opponents off the track? Webber should first try to keep up with him and not make amateur mistakes.

      He has been driving around like a scared mouse since Monza, trying a Button 2009.

      Vettel is just unlucky with mechanical problems or we would have crowned him champion 2 races ago.

      Next year, when RBR finally work out the intelligent decision, which is to build the team around Vettel, like Renault is now doing with Kubica (look at their success, relatively speaking), we will see an era of Vettel, like we had of Schumacher (who also accomplished this because the team was built around him exclusively..just like Renault was built around Alonso in 2005-2006 and now at Ferrari too).

      RBR is actually the only team that is respecting the rules of the sport as much as possible. If they just forced 1 driver to back the other while he could still win the championship like you lot want? That would be the real joke.

      1. Andy C says:

        If vettel had not smashed into webber and button, he would also be in a better position…..

        The difference with Fernando and Michael at Renault and Ferrari/benetton is they were clear number ones. Vettel is yet to prove he is consistent enough. He definitely has pace, but so did Montoya and he didn’t win the wdc.

      2. P says:

        Actually, Red Bull also practiced team orders this year, one way or the other. In Turkey, they connivingly told Mark to lower his engine revs while Sebastian was ordered to raise his, so that he could overtake the Australian. And then there was the front wing swap in Silverstone. As David Coulthard once said, team orders don’t necessarily mean ordering one driver to cede his position, it can come in many other forms.

        So you say champions who were served by their teammates are “fake”? So does that mean you consider Schumacher, Senna and Fangio, to name a few, as fake “champions” given their championship bids were aided by their teammates playing second fiddle at certain point?

        Team orders aren’t pretty, but they’re part of the sport. Maybe not so in the lower/other racing categories, but it is so with F1.

      3. Grey says:

        He wouldn’t need ‘hand holding’ if Vettel didn’t take him out of the lead in Turkey either…

        I don’t believe Mark needs any assistance from Vettel to take the WDC apart from not being taken out by him.

  54. AP says:

    James,

    if Vettel wins both races, he still needs *two* cars between him and Alonso to be champion. One car does not do the job.

    Vettel: + 50 (2 wins)
    Alonso: + 25 + 30 (2 3rds)

    and Alonso wins by 5 points :)

    1. drums says:

      Said in other words, if Alonso (now 231 pts.) gets 3rd in both races ads up to 261 pts. The only driver who can overtake him then is Webber (now 220 pts.), either getting two wins (=270 pts.) or else with one win plus a second position (=263 pts.). Of course this is an ‘if’of the many possible.

  55. Dan says:

    I am a huge Mark Webber fan and I hope he wins the championship! This season I have lost all respect and credibilty for the Red Bull team and especially Christian Horner for the handling of the team orders saga and what information has made it to the media. James, did Mark really think he couldn’t get another decent contract to race in another team next year, instead of resigning with Red Bull? Surely it’s not all about the money? I really hope he wins the championship and shows them what true Aussie Grit is. Bring on Brazil.

  56. smellyden says:

    James,

    Slightly off topic but http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-sport/webber-accused-of-deliberately-crashing-20101027-173hf.html

    On the link shown we have Gerhard Berger accusing Webber of deliberately trying to do this. While is he trying to destabilise the situation there? Any thoughts

    1. kam says:

      I doubt it. Webber binned it on his own accord, and probaly had brain fade when rolling back (trying not to stop on the circuit).

      Even in karting you are always told to stamp on the brakes when you are off, other drivers need to know the driver is not going anywhere else.

      1. Harv says:

        Horner has since said that Webber was trying to spin back around, hence was probably getting on the throttle rather than the brake, and explains the 1-2 seconds it took for him to roll back and get hit. Irrespective, it is a pretty serious allegation to make when a simple enquiry to Red Bull before running his mouth off would have made more sense.

    2. Peter C says:

      I can only assume that Gerhard Berger has lost it completely. He must think that Webber has amazing talent to roll back across the track in a disabled car, just in time to take out Rosberg.

      That’s the Rosberg who happens to fly under a German flag of convenience (nautical term), when IMO he should really be from Finland, like his Dad!

      On the other hand,it may be Berger’s sense of humour. The same Gerhard Berger who took a photo of his bum & stuck it in Ayrton Senna’s passport just before they had to go through passport control.

      Funny man.

      The only driver I can imagine doing something like that now is perhaps Jenson Button.
      They all take themselves so bloody seriously!

      1. Dirk says:

        >That’s the Rosberg who happens to fly under a >German flag of convenience (nautical term), >when IMO he should really be from Finland, like >his Dad!

        You do know that he doesn’t even speak finish, right?

      2. smellyden says:

        Or maybe just thier PR people keeping them in check?

    3. Cal says:

      Not only Berger but Rosberg also mentioned it, questioning in his Twitter why Webber didn’t brake, and it was crazy of Webber to do it like that, coming back to the racing line. All Rosberg’s words…is he also losing it? No.

      Again, why didn’t Webber brake, in any way before and after hitting the wall but let the car roll into the racing line while staring at the cars coming at him? He even throttled, listen to the audio.

      Look at the footage without your Webber glasses on.

      There are only 2 options left:

      1. He did it on purpose to take out opponents.

      2. He is a huge amateur that is a risk to be driving around in those cars, not knowing where the brake pedal is.

      Every racer knows that is no coincidence, I have raced for 7 years now. He did it on purpose, just like he on purpose squeezed Vettel and Hamilton too much because he knew he lost the place.

      He is very good at making others look like they are to blame though, playing the gent role, and most people fall for it.

      1. Harv says:

        He throttled (which Horner mentioned) to spin back around, that the ridiculous concept that he either purposely wanted to hit someone, or was too “amateur” to stop is quashed. It took a maximum of TWO seconds (watch YouTube) for him to roll back and be hit by Rosberg. Combine the fact that he might have been slightly disoriented by the impact (maybe took 0.5 seconds) then tried to get on the accelerator, which didn’t work, which he only would have realised as Rosberg hit him, and that easily explains the time between hitting the wall and colliding with Rosberg. Anyway, even if he could have, where is the sense in braking, stopping in the middle of the WET track and risk getting speared directly in the side, potentially getting seriously injured?

    4. Curro says:

      Hmmm I can see the Marko-Berger connection somewhere behind those remarks – trying to destabilize Webber, maybe? Good ol’ Gerhard, he must be bored :)

      1. TS says:

        Agreed, when I first heard what Gerhard said I was like “What!!! how dare he imply that” and then after a little while I thought hang on this is such a ridiculous comment to make and then the penny dropped after remembering Bergers comments earlier in the season. Its actually a rather clumsy and desperate attempt to unsettle Mark at an obviously crucial juncture in the championship fight, Im sure with all that has happened this year he knows this and will shrug it off and get on with the job

      2. scott says:

        webbers car was stuffed after hitting the wall. it was leaning heavily on the left side popping the front right wheel off the ground.
        from the footage it looks like webbers left rear is punctured although i havent seen a photo of the left rear to prove this.

  57. Peter Jones says:

    James,
    I’m wondering if you or anyone else has calculated how the drivers championship would look this year if we had last years point scale in place.

    thanks,

    Peter

    1. JLS says:

      ive calculated it using all the historic points systems. it looks the same, even the medals system. whats interesting is looking at aggregate finishing time and comparing that to the points system. schumacher, massa and, barrichello all do quite well. (4th, 3rd, 6th)

  58. Luke A says:

    James,

    Seeming as the F-duct will be so vital for the long uphill straight at Brazil. Do you think this will give McLaren and Renault an advantage. I think Ferrari have never been particulary strong on the F-duct (shown by Spa and their constent back to backing of it even at tracks when it is an no brainer to most teams). I know Fernando got the best Sector 1 time at Korea, but as you well documented, this was because he nailed the breaking perfectly, not because of his top speed.

  59. Harvey yates says:

    I agree that this season is not a classic. There have been few really memorable races, no one car or driver has stood out. However, I’ve got to say that I find it riveting. (Remember rivets in F1?)

    It is a shame that the final races have been away from home bases as the upgrades have seemed anything but. But even so the fact that there are three in with a shout is remarkable.

    Both Championships were there for RB to throw away and that would appear to be what they might well do.

    Unless it is all decided in Brazil the final race will probably have a record audience.

    And nice comment from Berger. I was no fan of his when he drove some of the fastest cars on the grid and did nothing. Shame he doesn’t maintain that performance level with his mouth.

    1. Andy C says:

      Chuckling at the Berger comment. Comedy genius Harvey :-)

    2. Nuno says:

      It´s clear that we don´t share the same opinion
      concerning the level of this 2010 F1 championship. Each one of us see and leave F1 in different ways.

      I believe that this has been a very very good F1 year. Very good drivers, a lot of action on the tracks, great races in the wet (remember the start of the year ??) and also in dry conditions. It has been quite challenging for the teams and none of them had time to rest.

      Two races to go, and the competition for the title is super high. Come on, we don´t have this kind of stuff every year. I am enjoying a lot, and believe me, I have seen F1 for several decades and you won´t get much better than what you have got this year.

      1. Harvey yates says:

        Nuno,

        Sorry if I gave the impression I wasn’t enjoying the season. I am. I think it is thrilling. There can be few who are not fascinated by such a tight run in to the WDC/WCC.

        And something else that stands out is the lack of politics. Todt, much to my relief, has proved to be an excellent president. So far of course. Both his predecessors started quietly. But then he is probably concentrating on the new Concord Agreement.

        But whilst there have been one or two decisions of the stewards (and one from the FIA’s own council of course) that have not met with universal approval shall we say, we have been able to concentrate on the racing.

        No, I’ve enjoyed and am enjoying this season, despite the poorish performance of ‘my’ team.

  60. Blade Runner says:

    Hi James,

    Could you tell me what is the situation if an engine is wrecked in a crash?

    Does that still count, and if so, what is to stop drivers backing their cars into walls if they know the engine is about to let go in a race?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes it still counts, I’m afraid

  61. Dirk says:

    I have a question regarding the moderation in this blog.

    If a posting is deemed unfitting (i assume James is doing the moderation himself?), will i get notified via email?

    I miss one of my postings in this thread…

  62. malcolm.strachan says:

    Regarding team tactics, I was thinking about it the other day…

    What is Red Bull’s main objective? To sell cans. The method they aim to achieve that objective is partially to win, but also to gain fans. Therefore, even if they let their drivers race each other to the end, and ensure there are no team tactics, there are many fans that would prefer that.

    Assume Monster Energy Drink had an F1 team as well, but they were solely focused on winning both titles, and used team tactics from the fourth race of the season. That would anger many of people, and more fans would likely cheer for Red Bull over Monster. From that, Red Bull would likely sell more cans because their F1 involvement than Monster would. The principle works for any team, and their respective sponsors, even in non-competing industries. The basic fact is that if you gain more fans, your sponsor will sell more products or services.

    Beyond the popularity aspect, I believe Red Bull should back both drivers. Given how Red Bull have had many DNFs from excellent starting positions this season, it would be silly for them to pull one driver aside for the other, as it would put that driver at risk of losing more points. With the larger gap in points between first and second, comebacks are easier now. If Webber screws up twice more, Vettel could win the title. If Vettel screws up twice more, Webber could win. If both screw up, Hamilton and Alonso could win.

    With such uncertainty, why hurt one driver by preferring the other when that other driver is just as likely to throw it into a wall, crash into someone else’s sidepod, take out his teammate, or grenade his engine? It’s not like the Schumacher/Barrichello days, or late 90′s Hakkinen/Coulthard days, where they knew they were both going to finish, and they knew both were likely to be on the podium and definitely in the points for the next several races. Red Bull has had some serious ups and downs this season. Given that their drivers are so close, why make the mistake of backing the wrong driver if he ends up crashing or having a failure?

    James, I agree with you that this year is awesome. In relation to the old points, the current tally is like the top four being within a mere TEN points of each other, and there are two races to go! I believe the shift to 25 points for a win has made many people think the gap is bigger than it really is. Kimi was 20 points behind with two races left in 2007 and won (which is the equivalent of 50 points in today’s scheme), so any of the top five have a shot, and the top four are all in a great position for the title.

  63. chris says:

    very well said !

  64. Andy C says:

    Hi James,

    Two of vettels issues were crashes too. When he drove into the side of messrs webber and button.

    Had he not stuffed up those moves he would also be in a lot better shape.

    I am massively looking forward to the races now.

    P.s how was the Joe saward meeting. You said you were meeting him for a coffee in Korea.

  65. gaston_pdu says:

    “Webber in contrast has had just two retirements and both were accidents, in other words under his control.”
    Sorry to correct you, there has been three retirements. The accident with seb, the accident with kovalainen and the last one in corea.

    1. soulknight says:

      if you think turkey,i believe he did not retire :

      http://www.f1-pics.com/turkey2010_race.jpg

    2. Ayron says:

      He didn’t retire after his “accident” with Seb in Turkey. He dropped from first to third behind the two McLarens and Seb retired from the race.
      One of the most exciting races for the season at that point.

    3. Matt says:

      Webber survived the accident with Seb and finished 3rd in Turkey.

    4. DK says:

      Sorry to correct you, Webber finished in Turkey with P3.

      1. Xman says:

        Thats what i call a correction bombarment!!! hahah by the way, webber finished 3rd in Turkey

    5. gaston_pdu says:

      My mistake guys, Web did finish the race. That’s makes only 2 retirements. Thanks for the correction.

  66. RickeeBoy says:

    James,

    As your banner changed before Korea ….
    Are you still happy with your banner of Alonso / Webber / Vettel as the 3 contenders left in race ????

    1. James Allen says:

      We have a very different one for Brazil..

      1. monjimike says:

        Am exited,

        Can’t wait, I check banners every week :-)

      2. Damian J says:

        Can I hazard a guess that the next banner for Brazil will feature Massa with Alonso?

  67. Nigel says:

    “Brazil is quite tough on engines, being at altitude..”

    Is that true ?
    I thought that running at altitude limited the amount of air you could get into the engine, and therefore the maximum power, so if anything, the engines are less stressed.

    1. Andy C says:

      I’d assume less atmospheric pressure and air density would mean less effective air cooling in radiators?

      But if I’m wrong someone will tell me :-)

  68. Chilli_Burger says:

    There seems to be a lot of fuss over Alonso and his engines. Such as his engine will suffer because of the altitude and the uphill straight.

    At altitude the air pressure is lower. This means that the engine gets less air into it’s cylinders each revolution.

    The air/fuel ratio must be kept constant otherwise the engine will not get it’s optimum performance. So less fuel is fed in.

    Less fuel, less air means lower torque and lower horsepower, leading to less stress on the engine.

    Less stress on the engine means less likelihood of it blowing up.

    I am sorry if this upsets McLaren and Red Bull fans, but I would much rather see a clean run-in to the end of the championship than have it settled by whose engine blows up.

    1. Damian J says:

      “I am sorry if this upsets McLaren and Red Bull fans, but I would much rather see a clean run-in to the end of the championship than have it settled by whose engine blows up.”

      Engine blows up have already had an influence, not least in Korea so any more engine blow ups at either of the last two races is par for the course. That would still be a “clean run-in” more so than driver swaps mid way through the season when BOTH drivers still had a realistic chance of winning the WDC.

  69. Rich says:

    Hi James!

    Off topic but just wondering if there is any truth in Jonathan Legard leaving the BBC team at the end of this year..

    Cheers,
    Rich

    1. Peter C says:

      Yes, there are quite a few blogs on other sites about the Beeb replacing him, based on the fact that people find his commentaries both boring & annoying at the same time!
      The main criticism is that he is more of a general sports commentator (I believe he did football) without specialised knowledge of F1.

      Certainly his manic shouting (IT’S JENSON BUTTON, JENSON BUTTON IS GOING TO COME FIFTH/ TWELFTH,JENSON BUTTON HAS BEEN FORCED OUT BY VETTEL. or IT’S HAMILTON !!! Etc.

      Names in the frame are Anthony Davidson, Karun Chandhok, but both are drivers & that’s Martin Brundle’s job. The most likely would be David Croft from FiveLive who is nearly always factually correct & doesn’t panic.

      Others have been mentioned, although without much enthusiasm!

      1. Peter C says:

        Sorry. P3 Certainly his manic shouting……..

        is extremely annoying.

  70. David Newsome says:

    Jenson Button: “I’ve always said I’ll fight until it’s mathematically impossible for me”

    He is 42 points behind. It seems to me that Button’s logic is that “this is less than 50, so I’m still in it”. Actually, to get the 43 points he needs to win means a second and a win with Alonso (and the others scoring no points). This is his minimum. A tie would of course see him with two wins less than Alonso, so he can’t win it that way either.

    The sooner he accepts he is out of the championship, the better for McLaren. I’m amazed Button has hung on for so long, to be honest.

    I don’t think he can help Hamilton, particularly; for the same reason Massa can’t really help Alonso: he’s almost guaranteed to be quite far behind him on pace and on the racetrack.

    1. Canuck says:

      As many others, you are thinking that the only way for a teammate to help is by letting the championship contender driver (Alonso/Hamilton in their respective teams) through.

      The fact is that if Massa/Button were to help their teammates, it would even begin in the factory.

      Then the tests they carry out on Friday would be to help the driver in contention, from trying bits, to testing and choosing setups, to usage of tyres (the one not contending for championships would be using the most rubber, if needed).

      Then Quali saturday is everyman for themselves.
      The help a teammate out of contention would provide is more or less the one we see on the TV feed: try to get track position over rivals to disturb their race, and same for Sunday.

      So, my point is that the help Massa or Button would be able to provide far exceeds what many are pointing out.

      I am not sure how much it would be worth over a race distance, but I guess a lot.

      That is why many are still ok with having a #1 driver in a team, it betters the show as in the years of Mika/Schumacher.

  71. Andy C says:

    James,

    Do you think there is anything in the talk about about a possible link between group lotus and Buying Renault f1? I believe the link I’d through one of geniis stakeholders in petrochem.

    Four lotus renaults on the grid next season :-)

    Probably also adds to the high court battle over team lotus! Anybody know the date at which that is due to be settled?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not really. But I hope to have more on the Lotus story in a few weeks

      1. Andy C says:

        I thought it was unlikely.

        To me it seems fairly clear that lotus racing now own the rights to ‘team lotus’. The legal title was sold.

        But then the high courts judgements can swing like a pendulum.

        It will be good for both parties if it is resolved.

  72. Peter Abatan says:

    I’ll put my neck on the line and proclaim Webber the 2010 champion.

    1. matt says:

      that is the bravest thing i have ever seen

  73. Robert says:

    Earlier in the season Ferrari gave Massa a new contract and then moved him over for Alonso.

    Does any one think that Horner was codedly saying we will build a team around Vettel in the future but for the next two races he is Webber’s wingman? A carrot for him to be able cope with having to say goodbye to the championship this year.

    Just a thought

    1. soulknight says:

      It didn’t sound like it from what i heard but it would seem a reasonable deal IF it had been dne earlier.
      Mark is no idiot and knows vettel is the rising star and that he has for himself 2010 and 2011. in 2012 Redbull has to promote one of their young driver program otherwise that programs is pointless if it’s just to end up at toro rosso(much like if ferrari drivers academy would only lead to Sauber with no hope of driving an actual Ferrari)
      So a deal like this would seem acceptable to me :
      “ok mark, you are leading this year so seb will help you in 2010 and you will help him in 2011 in return”

      the only problem is that such deal is accepatble if it means the team trusts you and not when it has no choice. Proposing this after brasil will not be a deal, it will be an insult (actually it was after SPA that this deal would have been ok)

      now, they(RBR) can only hope Mark or Seb end up in front of Fernando , the only scenario that makes the “no number1″ choice a good choice.

    2. Andy C says:

      That’s an interesting theory. I hadn’t even thought of it that way.

      Not if good old helmut has anything to do with it.

      I think Dietrich wants to win at all costs behind closed doors, so it will be fascinating won’t it.

      The intrigue of it all. And having so many team mates in the title mix just makes for great debate on this forum.

      As an aside, and as someone who had followed this forum pretty much from the beginning of this site, it would be great to see the moderator not have to spend their time deleting offensive nicknames and words that some people seem insistent on putting in their posts….let’s keep the debate at a higher level than name calling. That’s why most of us enjoy this forum.

  74. Col72 says:

    If massa is in a better position regarding engines, what is to stop alonso & massa swapping cars ? I believe engines are alocated per car number for the season … . .

    1. Steven says:

      That would be dumb. Each driver is given 8 engines, period. And drivers can switch car numbers

  75. Marlon says:

    I have a feeling Hamilton is going to payback Ferrari for stealing the championship in 2007. I had this situation in my mind from mid season and could not see it happening but it looks like everything is playing into his hands…. Watch this space everyone who thinks it’s between the red bulls and Alonso

    1. Tim. says:

      The only problem with your theory, it means LH must catch the Ferrari.

      1. Marlon says:

        Not a problem, it’s been one of those seasons and what a spectacular end that would be (even more spectacular if Jensen did it)

      2. Tim. says:

        That would be good for him.

  76. Nadeem says:

    James just a quick one. If Webber weighs the same as Vetell do you think that he would have out qualified him in Suzuka and Korea as they were that close in times? The cars are the same weight but being lighter and smaller was always a bonus I ma lead to believe.

    1. James Allen says:

      The margins are so small, he believes that this is the case

      1. Andy C says:

        Funnily enough I was looking at the picture of the five of them sat on the pitwall for that picture.

        Jenson is pretty tall compared to a lot of the drivers, and Mark is like a giant isnt he.

        Presumably even though the total weight is no more (as Mark has less balast in his car), being able to place it low down and where you want it must offer a better balance opportunity.

        I’m putting my neck on the line here…. Webber is going to be WDC. Come on Mark!

      2. Tim. says:

        I read something that MW is six foot two inches and weighs in at 158lbs…not sure if that is correct, and cannot for the life of me remember where I read it…..wish they would print the drives specs in NONE metric…once:)

      3. matt says:

        another person putting their neck on the line, we have a comment section full of brave warriors

  77. Baktru says:

    Interestingly…

    If both remaining races end as:

    1) Vettel
    2) Webber
    3) Alonso

    Then Alonso takes the title. But if the RedBulls get two 1-2′s and each driver wins once, Webber gets the WDC.

    It would be interesting to see if RBull can keep their ‘No Team Orders’ philosophy under such circumstances..

  78. Michael S says:

    I am glad to see James pointed put that Vettel’s car has died 3 times on him mechanically. Whereas, Webber’s 2 DNF’s have both been his own doing by wrecking.

    1. j says:

      vettel also has 2 non finishes via his own mistakes – turkey and spa.

    2. Tim. says:

      What difference does it make…..

  79. BMG says:

    Jack Brabham,one of Webbers biggest supporters has said Mark has blown the WDC.

    I still can’t believe he would make such a rookie mistake in such an important race.

    He may start driving like he did earlier in the year now the pressure is off him.

    I still can’t bring myself to watch the rest of the race yet, I’m still mourning.

  80. The F1 Girl says:

    The last two races will be very interesting. I’m quite disappointed at Hamilton’s lackluster performance this 2010. I’m still a fan though. Hope he gets more points and more confidence at the Brazilian GP.

  81. ronmon says:

    All you Alonso haters are going to have to face facts and come to grips with reality. Earlier this season, he, and his team, made some crucial mistakes and it put him behind in the championship title run. Lately, he is back in form. The botched pit stop in Korea almost set him back, but Golden Boy’s mistake set things right.

    Fernando will only lose this title if he makes a mistake or parts fail.

  82. Brad says:

    Alonso will only win if the Red Bulls have more mechanical problems and/or Vettel won’t concede to Webber if it comes to that..

  83. Sergio says:

    State of play

    Please Mr. Allen Would you give a look to Autosport Magazine?

    Ferrari team orders in Korea? am I wrong when I talk about English lobby in F1 trying to disrepute Alonso in a really bad way?

    You only need 5 seconds to review the race to dismiss this lie, but it seems Autosport doesn’t have them.

  84. Neil says:

    Red Bull would appear to rather Alonso wins the WDC than Webber! Vettel appears to be the only person thay want to win a WDC for them.

    To be honest, if Webber wins, what happens in 2011? The “wrong man” is the defending champion? And the team is “built around Vettel”?

    And if Webber doesn’t win, then he is unlikely to be motivated, knowing that if he beats Vettel then the team won’t really support him.

    Webber to retire at the end of 2010 whatever?

    Neil.

  85. Geckko says:

    Err, James,

    You seem t forget about those other two “retirements” of Seb Vet. Certainly under Seb’s control.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Top Tags
SEARCH News
JA ON F1 In association with...
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer