Vettel looks a racing certainty to wrap up fourth F1 world title in India

Sebastian Vettel almost certain to carry number one on his car again in 2o14

Sebastian Vettel almost certain to carry number one on his car again in 2o14

Never mind ripping up the form book, it would have to be thoroughly shredded – and the remains pulped for good measure – for Sebastian Vettel to be denied a fourth successive Formula 1 title at the Indian Grand Prix.

Everything indicates that Red Bull‘s 26-year-old German ace will become the sport’s youngest quadruple champion, in what may well be Formula 1’s last appearance in India for the foreseeable future.

Since the race made its debut in 2011, Vettel has led every racing lap in India and arrives chasing a hat-trick of poles and wins at the Buddh International circuit in Greater Noida, south of the capital.

With a 90-point lead over Ferrari‘s Fernando Alonso and four races remaining, the German may not even need to finish on Sunday, to become only the third driver to win four titles in succession.

Sebastian Vettel with fans

Sebastian Vettel with fans

Alonso is the only man who can keep him waiting for the second race in a row and even victory will not be enough if Vettel takes at least fifth place. If the Spaniard retires, the matter will be settled on the spot.

Vettel has retired only once this season and finished at least fourth in all the other races. Even if the German fails to score, Alonso must still finish first or second to stay mathematically in contention.

The Red Bull driver is on a roll that could lead to more rewriting of the record books after he notched up the fifth of five successive race wins in Japan earlier this month to become the first driver since Michael Schumacher in 2004 to perform that feat.

Nobody is ruling out the German winning the remaining races of the year to take his tally to nine in a row and equalling a record set by Italy’s Alberto Ascari 60 years ago.

“If he doesn’t have any reliability issues, I am willing to put money on it,” lamented Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton after Suzuka.

Fernando Alonso concedes the title to Sebastian Vettel some time ago

Fernando Alonso concedes the title to Sebastian Vettel some time ago

Alonso meanwhile has not won since his home race in Spain in May and although he has finished second on five occasions this year, Vettel took the chequered flag ahead of him in four of them.

The last time the Ferrari driver finished in the top two with Vettel drawing a blank was in Valencia in June last year – 28 races ago.

Alonso can hope to be third time lucky, after finishing third in 2011 and second last year, but India is very much Vettel’s track and Ferrari’s main concern now is to beat Mercedes and hold on to second place in the Constructors’ Championship.

Ferrari is only 10 points clear of Mercedes, with Lotus a further 23 adrift after outscoring both teams in the last two races, in a battle that is about prize money as much as paddock status.

Red Bull can also retain the Constructors’ title for the fourth year in a row on Sunday as an added bonus.

Red Bull are likely to celebrate two title wins in India - here they celebrate victory in Japan

Red Bull are likely to celebrate two title wins in India – here they celebrate victory in Japan

“So far everything has always gone perfectly for us in India. There is also a very nice trophy at the end of the race – so it would be great to hold one again this year,” said Vettel earlier this week.

It could be the last chance anyone has to get their hands on it. India is not on next year’s calendar and although local organisers are talking about a return in 2015 few paddock insiders are optimistic.

The teams and organisers have been vexed by taxation issues while also wrestling with financial problems and slow ticket sales after drawing a big crowd to the inaugural event.

“I think it is very difficult once you leave a country to come back to it – especially where we have not really managed to establish the sport,” said Sauber’s Indian-born principal Monisha Kaltenborn. (Reuters)

Subbed by AJN.

  • bobw

    I wish F1 would come back to the Glenn in the US instead of flocking to the big money locations because the crowd would not be big enough and there are no luxury hotels for the super stars.

  • BoycotttheBoycott

    Until Vettel’s tyres fail, lol.

    @bob the Glen is too small and doesn’t have a Grade 1 rating. Besides the USA has two races next year.

  • CHL

    Hey Bob,
    The Glen was a great venue and I followed F-1 there from the beginning to the end. Jo Bonnier drove a Maser 150F there in ’58, the year I was comissioned. It all ended in ’80 and now we have a splendid track and venue here in Austin. Austin is a great town and The Circuit of the Americas is a really great track, I would only put it second to Spa. So, you and Boycott come on down and see the race.
    Check out the Ferrari Club Barbeque at Camp Mabry. If you do, ask for Cool Hand and I’ll buy you all a drink.