Red Bull and Vettel titles a formality now focus is on battle for best of the rest

Battle for second place is between Mercedes, Lotus and Ferrari

Battle for second place is between Mercedes, Lotus and Ferrari

With Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull heading to the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Formula 1 titles with ease, the biggest remaining question of 2013 is the lucrative battle for second in the Constructors’ Championship.

A country mile behind the Red Bull juggernaut, grandee teams Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus are all separated by just over 30 points. Their battle is worth many millions in income distributed by Formula 1′s commercial rights holders.

At the centre of that battle is a figure like Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, but he has already turned his attention beyond November’s season finale.

The podium in China - Kimi Raikkonen (second)  race winner Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton (third) - was one of the rare occasions when Red Bull were not on the podium

The podium in China – Kimi Raikkonen (second) race winner Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton (third) – was one of the rare occasions when Red Bull were not on the podium

Asked what he’s looking forward to most in 2013 now, the Briton admitted in Japan: “Christmas.”

For the fans, it’s a similar story. Perhaps Vettel’s march to all-time records will stimulate their interest.

For instance, the German has just won five grands prix on the trot. Not even the great Michael Schumacher won more than seven in a row.

If Vettel wins in India – sealing his title – and then Abu Dhabi, Austin and Interlagos, it will match Alberto Ascari’s 60-year-old record.

He would also equal Schumacher’s record haul of 13 wins in a single season. Hamilton thinks he could do it.

“If [Vettel] doesn’t have any reliability issues, most likely [he will],” the Briton said. “He’s just walking it.”

Sebastian Vettel's win in Japan was his ninth of the season

Sebastian Vettel’s win in Japan was his ninth of the season

And, like Hamilton’s impatient wait for Christmas, Lotus boss Eric Boullier also gave a resigned smile when asked which of the remaining races he is targeting for a win.

“Winter testing!” the Frenchman replied.

Including 2013, Red Bull has won the last four Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships. McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said on Sunday that success has been powered by “a lot of money”.

“It’s a very important factor,” he added.

Boullier told Speed Week: “I would guess teams like Red Bull and Ferrari spend € 250 to € 300 million a year.

“At Marussia it’s maybe € 60 million, but to be competitive, you can hardly have less than € 120 million.”

But according to former Mercedes boss Norbert Haug, it’s too simplistic to say that Vettel is just driving the most expensive Formula 1 car to easy victory in F1.

“He is clearly the best,” he said on German television Blickpunkt Sport.

“He works the hardest, is involved the least in politics, he takes care of his mechanics. Even if you have the most money, the F1 title is not just mailed to you,” Haug insisted. (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Angela

    I really used to like McLaren, but I just cannot stand Martin Whitmarsh. Yes, Red Bull invest a lot of money, but McLaren also have one of the largest budgets. They pay Button more that RB pay Vettel, for God’s sake, and Button is not even half as good as Vettel!

    Why can’t Whitmarsh just accept that he’s doing a bloody awful job as Team Principal and that the technical team is rubbish this year? I think a lot of people will just appreciate it if he’s honest for once!

  • Bob Wheeler

    I don’t know where everybody else has been but I have been watching the battles up and down the grid instead of bitching about Vettel.

  • Adriana

    Finally somebody that knows and been involved in F1 has a good opinion with RBR and Vettel , and I agree with you Angela The money that is’s been pay to Button is just a waist , big time , a wouldn’t pay him more than 700 000 a year !