As engines fire up for second half of season drivers say next four races crucial 23 August, 2013 158 Spa-Francorchamps kick starts the second half of the season The 2014 ‘silly season’ may be hogging the headlines, but with out doubt the more important agenda is the imminent battle for this year’s Formula 1 World Championship as engines fire up to kick start the seocnd half of an intriguing season. After his dominance from pole in Hungary, many believe that Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is now a real challenger to Sebastian Vettel’s clear points lead. Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Mark Webber, however, is not so sure. “Lewis is always special in Budapest,” the Australian is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport. “So I wouldn’t read too much into it in terms of how Mercedes is going. F1 fans braced for tense championship battle “You have to look at how consistent Lotus is,” said Webber, referring to the fact that Kimi Raikkonen is actually closest to Vettel in terms of points. “Mercedes and Ferrari are more up and down,” the veteran added. Many question, however, if Lotus can keep up its form, given the superior resources of their title rivals, and the fact that a smaller team risks seriously compromising its 2014 programme if it continues to intensely develop its 2013 car. Webber said: “Because we have the best infrastructure, we can delay the complete move from 2013 to 2014 the longest. Whoever knows Adrian Newey knows that he does not give up. Top three in Hungary last time out “He’s also used to dealing with the coming season later than the others,” he added. It is for that reason that, realistically, that Red Bull’s rivals will make one final development push this year and then assess if sticking with 2013 still makes sense. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso agrees: “The next four races will be crucial. Spa is medium downforce, at Monza you run with minimum downforce, and Singapore is maximum [downforce]. “After that we will know where we stand,” he said. (GMM) Subbed by AJN.