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Are Red Bull prepared to hand the title to Alonso?

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Andrew Benson | 10:00 UK time, Thursday, 11 November 2010

Red Bull appear to be having a bit of fun with the watching world ahead of the deciding race of the 2010 Formula 1 world championship.

With their drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel both trying to chase down the championship leader, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, the big question heading into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend is whether Vettel will help Webber win the championship if the German cannot do it himself.

This is quite a likely scenario, given the positions of the three drivers in the championship standings.

Alonso leads Webber by eight points and Vettel by 15. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton is still mathematically in contention 24 points behind the Spaniard but is realistically out of the running, with only 25 points available on Sunday.

There are any number of potential permutations and if you want to explore them all fully, Spain's Marca newspaper has produced a fun tool that does the job nicely.

On pure performance, Vettel, Webber and Alonso are likely to occupy the top three positions in Abu Dhabi, just as they did in Brazil last Sunday. If that happens, the permutations are relatively simple.

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If Webber wins the race, Alonso must be second to win the championship; if Vettel does, the Ferrari man need only finish fourth.

But what if Vettel is leading going into the last lap and Webber is behind him and Alonso third or fourth? Would Vettel hand the lead to the Australian?

Given the fractious relationship between the two men at times this season, it would not be an easy thing for Vettel to do. But both he and team principal Christian Horner hinted after the Brazilian Grand Prix that he would.

"In that scenario, it is something you will think of," said Vettel. "I think it's clear."

Horner added: "Of course, if we find ourselves in a position where one of the drivers can win the world championship, then the drivers will do whatever's necessary to ensure as a team we achieve the best result."

Since then, though, Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz, the man who founded the drinks company and has since made billions from it, has thrown in a curve ball.

The Austrian told Gerhard Kuntschick, a reporter from the Salzburger Nachtrichten to whom he is close, that if they cannot win he would prefer his drivers to lose out to Alonso "in the correct circumstances".

That is a reference to Ferrari's actions at the German Grand Prix, when the team gave Felipe Massa a coded message to let Alonso by into the lead so he could maximise his points in the championship.

Team orders are banned in F1. Ferrari's punishment, at the race and later confirmed at a hearing of the sport's governing body the FIA in September, was a $100,000 fine.

Without the extra seven points he gained at Hockenheim, Alonso would be leading Webber by only one point and Vettel by eight. That would have made the Abu Dhabi race a winner-takes-all scenario for Webber and Alonso, and for Vettel if he headed a Red Bull one-two with Alonso third.

Mateschitz continued: "To interfere with the drivers was never a possibility for us. The whole world condemned Ferrari after what they did in Hockenheim, but we have turned out as idiots because we did not act in this way."

Mateschitz said Red Bull had never considered getting one driver to back the other "as long as both our drivers remain in the hunt for the championship".

He added: "A second place under correct circumstances might be better than a win on grounds of orders and confirmations."

What does this mean?

Will Red Bull really refuse to intercede and risk losing the championship to Alonso? Will they leave it up to Vettel's conscience?

Does the phrase "as long as both our drivers remain in the running for the championship" mean that Vettel will let Webber by to prevent Alonso winning the title (on the basis that Vettel, at that point, would no longer be in the running for the championship)? Apparently not.

Could Horner's "best result for the team" conceivably mean what Mateschitz says - that it is better to lose the title because they have not resorted to team tactics, rather than win it because they have?

If Red Bull will not use team tactics, why not?

Is that a decision based purely on wanting to be seen to be competing in the right way - following the old adage that it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game?

If so, this is not, shall we say, a philosophy that is universally shared in the "piranha club" of the F1 paddock.

Or is there more going on here than meets the eye?

The cynics in the F1 paddock - and there are a lot - will have a field day with these conflicting messages from the leading figures at Red Bull.

Mark Webber takes a quiet moment to prepare for the Brazilian Grand Prix

Just how alone is Webber at Red Bull this weekend? Photo: Darren Heath

If Vettel is in a position to help Webber and does not, some will wonder if that is because Red Bull simply do not want Webber to win the title, and would rather wait another year for Vettel to become their first champion. If that is the case, why would they not want Webber to win? Is Webber, as was speculated in Brazil last weekend, leaving the team at the end of the year following his complaints of favouritism?

All of this adds an intriguing extra dimension to an already absorbing climax to one of the best F1 seasons there has ever been. And it seems fitting to be discussing it at the end of a season in which Red Bull's perceived preference for Vettel over Webber has caused so much heartache within the team, and drawn so much attention from outside.

There was the fall-out from losing a one-two in the Turkish Grand Prix following a collision between the two drivers, when the team initially appeared to pin the blame on Webber, when most of the watching world felt Vettel was at fault. And three races later, there was the decision to take the only remaining example of a new front wing off Webber's car at Silverstone and give it to Vettel.

What else has been going on behind the scenes that the outside world does not know about?

Horner has continued to insist throughout that the team have supported both drivers equally - he reiterated that view to me in Brazil last weekend - but it has not always looked that way. I have spoken to a number of people in F1 this season who believe there is evidence that some kind of team tactics have been employed behind the scenes at Red Bull.

After inflicting so much damage on themselves in Turkey, did Red Bull dictate that once a driver was ahead, the other was not allowed to race him? If not, what - to bring up just one example - did Webber mean after following Vettel home in the Japanese Grand Prix last month? "It was fun to bring the gap back down to Seb and after that track position is king," said the Australian. "I know the rules and that's how it is."

If there have been tactics to control Webber, though, there is no hope of them happening in Abu Dhabi. With the title on the line, there will be no dutiful holding of position from whichever Red Bull driver is behind.

Of course, F1 would not be what it is without this added dimension of intrigue and politics - it's part of what makes it so fascinating. Yet it is easy to forget that before any team tactics can come into play, there is a race to be run.

Red Bull enter it as favourites, for the race if not the championship. But Alonso - who has beaten them three times in the last five races - can never be discounted. Of the three main title contenders, he is the only one with the experience of being in this situation before - when he won his back-to-back titles in 2005-6 with Renault.

With the pressure on all the title contenders so intense, will that be a deciding factor? Or, with all the contenders worried about engine mileage under F1's eight-engines-a-year rule, will it be reliability that wins the day?

One thing seems certain - it is hard to believe, after such an extraordinary year of shifting fortunes, that there will not be one final twist in the tale.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Interesting article, but Red Bull will play no part in Alonso's third title because he will win at Abu Dhabi

  • Comment number 2.

    Seb will pull over should it be RBR 1-2 then FA.

    The drama leading up to that point is to sell soft drinks. Personally I am hoping for a three car pile up on the first corner so that Lewis can steal it.....

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Andrew,

    Firstly, a big thank you for all your blogs over this past season. IT has been a fantastic season with twists and intrigue every race, and I have thouroughly enjoyed it. And here we are at the final race of the season.

    I am looking forward to a race where the champion will only be known on the last lap, a fittiing way to end this season.

    I have said it before on here, and I will repeat it now if Hamilton cannot regain the championship this year, I really hope it is Webber that wins his first WDC.

    GO MARK!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 4.

    As Alonso is not well liked in the paddock due to his arrogance and petulant behaviour I wouldn't be surprised if someone 'sacrificed' themselves to take him off at some point - probably at the start. I think with the engine issues of the front three though tthere is an outside chance Lewis could nick it...her's to hoping anyway...

    If not Lewis then I'd love it to be Webber to stick two fingers up to Red Bull - if I were him I'd then buy himself out of his contract and pick his team. Horner and colleagues have been a disgrace with how they've treated him this year.

  • Comment number 5.

    Great article as always Andrew!

    Here's my prediction for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:

    1. Lewis (no pressure) Hamilton
    2. Sebastien (I ain't movin over for noone) Vettel
    3. Mark (Korea will be with me for the rest of my life) Webber
    4. Fernando (I'm faster than you) Alonso
    5. Jenson (The car was fine in practice) Button
    6. Nico (I love beating Michael) Rosberg
    7. Robert (Hello, Ferrari, Hello) Kubica
    8. Felipe (Rob, what do I do) Massa
    9. Rubens (blah blah blah) Barrichello
    10.Michael (I'm enjoying it) Schumacher

    Which gives the title to Alonso

  • Comment number 6.

    Andrew, I too wish to thank-you for your excellent blogs during the season, very thought provoking!

    I think the intrigue and politics surrounding RB Racing, and who will do what is all about generating publicity and advertising for what is a retail giant - where any publicity is good publicity!

    I hope Mark wins, as this is porbably his only chance. And I am sure Seb will do the right thing when it comes down to it. And I think that is the point, this will be left to the drivers to make the decision thus RB can be justified in saying the "team" have not issued orders.

    Of course Alonso is not a double world champ for nothing, and he could upset the apple cart very easily!

  • Comment number 7.

    It's not the first time that the "wrong" driver might win the world championship. 1999, Japan - Irvine in with a shout of winning Ferrari its first world title in too many years. There was no doubt the hierarchy wanted Schumacher to lead their comeback not Irvine. Fortune favoured them that year, Irvine failed his test, Schumacher and Ferrari weren't put to the test. Equally take a look at McLaren's last couple of races with Hamilton and Alonso. It was clear that Hamilton was the man they wanted to win the Championship, not Alonso. Ron Dennis' comments regarding Hamilton's tactics in the race in China. Along the lines of "they were racing Alonso" - surely they were racing Kimi?!

    I think this year will be different. It's clear that RBR have the faster car and Vettel is currently the fastest driver. Bar crashes or reliance issues I see, coming into the last laps, Vettel, Webber, Alonso running in that order. Will RBR allow the "wrong" driver win the championship, or will they ruin it like McLaren did and Ferrari could have done?

    Also like to echo other comments Andrew - yours is probably my favourite sporting blog. Insightful, interesting, passionate, knowledgeable. Keep up the good work next year!

  • Comment number 8.

    If Red Bull Racing lock out the front row at Abu Dhabi, then Fernando should be shaking in his little cotton socks. WHO KNOWS what Red Bull's drivers would do, but it isn't out of the question that Vettel could assist Webber here. Alonso and Ferrari will not be able to tackle Red Bull purely on pace. If he's third, which he's likely to be, things will be fascinating.

    All it takes is for McLaren to have a decent race, and mess with Alonso, and the Spaniard is done for. Alonso is in a much more fragile position than he and his adoring fans seem to realise.

  • Comment number 9.

    As a Ferrari fan obviusly I want Alonso to win but wouldnt it be good if we just had a good honest 4 way scrap for the result?

  • Comment number 10.

    Both drivers know their role, if Vettel can not win it he will move over, this will secure him his drive at RBR forever whereas not doing so would actually put his job on the line at the end fo next year. As much as the team want Vettel to win, they will not tolerate a driver who does not do what is best for the team and in the end that will always be the deciding factor.

    More intriguing for me is what would happen if the order was 1.Vettel, 2.Alonso, 3.Webber going into the last lap? Would they instruct either driver to attempt to push Alonso off the road? Would Webber take a lunge up the inside to hand the title to Vettel?

  • Comment number 11.

    So...5 laps left, Vettel out front, Webber second and Alonso third. Vettel lets Webber through in a controversial 'Webber is faster than you' kinda way. Alonso then crashes, maybe a Hamilton take-out...would Webber let Vettel back through?? What a scenario that would be...

  • Comment number 12.

    I truly think that Vettel will let Webber through if he has no chance himself. And if they say its controversial and Webbers championship is a farce, then they should look at Alonso/Massa.. It would only be fair if Red Bull did the same.

    My prediction:

    1. Webber
    2. Hamilton
    3. Alonso
    4. Vettel
    5. Button

    Thus giving Webber the title :D

  • Comment number 13.

    Mateschitz said Red Bull had never considered getting one driver to back the other "as long as both our drivers remain in the hunt for the championship".

    What annoys me the most is that I feel Mateschitz really thinks that we are stupid or ignorant. Let me translate the exact meaning behind his words: we had never considered getting Vettel to back the other "as long as Vettel remains in the hunt for the championship". In other words, team orders will be issued if in the last few laps becomes clear than Alonso is winning the WDC.

    The truth is that this has nothing to do with integrity, honesty and professionalism. It has to do with favouritism and hypocrisy. But hey, this is just my opinion (shared by many of you out there).

  • Comment number 14.

    usedtobefast I totally disagree with you but of course coming from an UK fan I would not expect any less.

    "As Alonso is not well liked in the paddock due to his arrogance and petulant behaviour.."

    Alonso is very well like in the pits, the tracks and around the world a lot more than Hamilton. Most fans would say that Lewis is the one who is totally that way going back to his petty child behavior during his first season when he kept disobeying teams orders and stabbing Alonso in the back while McL kept backing up their golden crying boy who has been with the team since he was 14 yrs old and knew the car much better than Fernando. Lewis WAS NEVER A ROOKIE THERE he was given the best machine and an opportunity that very few drivers ever get. How about Hammy driving a 2nd tier machine and see if he can win titles ala Alonso, Senna or Schummie.
    The great Alonso, the best driver all around, should win his 3rd title and if any of the Red Bulls drivers take him out both drivers will be disqualified and then by a miracle, arrogant Lewis will win it unless he chockes which he is great at.

  • Comment number 15.

    I'm sure Vettel will let Webber passed on the last lap if required. But Webber would hate to win this way, not only will his crown be tarnished somewhat (although he can claim it is fair because it evens out what Alonso did earlier in the season), but Vettel will always have something over him: "You only won the WDC because I let you!"

    Having said all that, I wouldn't be surprised if one of the RBs breaks before the final lap, and hands victory to Alonso.

  • Comment number 16.

    It will be very very interesting. Imagine if Vettel lets Webber through (which I believe he will regardless of what the team say, and will massively increase the respect I and other fans have for him if he does!), then as I say Alonso goes out - it would literally have to be on the last corner to be safe. But, what if Alonso is right behind - it would be tough to let one through and not the other. It's a possibility, alhtough a slim one.
    Imagine the situation though - if they dont leave it til the last lap, Webber is about to take the title, and nothing Alonso can do about it because the RB's are cruising 1,2, because Vettel has let Webber through. If I was Alonso - I'd retire lol! That'd make an interesting debate in RB wouldnt it! :)
    Interestingly, I think Lewis is going to beat Alonso on this race, as on pace he has matched him the last two races, it is just he has pushed too hard with the Mclaren's lack of grip early in the race and let Alonso through. Barring any error's, Lewis could really throw a spanner in the works and actually win this race too though!
    Also, what will Jenson do with the pressure off? He could come into play.

    POn another note though - eople are saying Lewis winning requires a miracle. Not really:
    Alonso's well worn engine blows in the severe heat! The RB's have reliability issues (again particualrly in the heat) and can't compete. Jenson has a storming drive.
    Lewis wins, Jenson 2nd, Vettel still manages 3rd, Kubica/Massa/Rosberg/Schumi/one of the Force India's if they can get setup right to take advantage of their straight line speed. All could finish ahead of Webber.
    All it takes is Hamilton 1st, Vettel 3rd, Webber 6th and Alonso out, and Hamilton would be champion! I might have a sneeky couple of quid on it....you never know!

  • Comment number 17.

    It should be fairly easy to engineer the position of the 2 RBRs by using the method I think Webber was alluding to after last weeks race. Just tell the driver that he is marginal on fuel and to change the engine map to slow him down.

  • Comment number 18.

    My wishful prediction for the final race is this:

    Redbull lock out front row, Hamilton and Alonso take 2nd row.
    We have a processional 1st half of a race, Alonso decides to turn the wick up on his engine to try getting past one of the Red Bulls. Alonso's engine soon lets go. The Red Bull 1-2 then turns into a winner takes all scenario. They battle for the lead and they end up taking each other out (probably at the fault of Vettel).

    Hamilton cruises to victory and his 2nd World Title!! :-D

    Very unlikly, but at the same time totally possible given the season we've had!

  • Comment number 19.

    Here's my Prediction:

    Qualifying:

    1) Vettel, 2) Webber, 3) Alonso, 4)Hamilton

    Race:
    Vettel and Webber take each other out
    Alonso retires (engine failure)
    Hamilton comes second.
    Massa wins (but is demoted 5 places 3 hours after the race ends for Gear box irregularities)

    Could happen :)

  • Comment number 20.

    To return to 2007 AGAIN, if McLaren were going to favour Hamilton, why on earth would they bother signing Alonso in the first place? Credit to Button this season that he hasn't complained of favouritism in the team when he's been beaten fair and square my Hamilton.

  • Comment number 21.

    im realy hoping that it is vettel-webber-alonso on the last lap and vettel lets webber past, we'll see how alonso likes team orders then!

  • Comment number 22.

    Just further to my post, but back on Alonso - if he wins the title by less than 7 points over whoever of the other 3 it may be, then it will be a disgrace, and the FIA should hang it's head in shame!

    Another Hamilton point again...I know, not the subject of the thread, but bear with me - if Hamilton has the opportunity to let one of the other drivers through to stop another winning the title, what do you think he will do?????
    Imagine if he is in th eposition where Webber/Vettle getting past him would hand them the title insetad of Alonso....has anyone considered that? I think he is probably too professional for that and has too much pride, but I'm surprised there's been no conspiracy theories about that!

  • Comment number 23.

    If the order towards the end is Vettel, Webber, Alonso, then RBR have two choices:

    1. Swap their drivers, and face accusations of manipulating the championship.

    2. Hold station, and point out that they *could* have swapped but chose not to "do a Ferrari". This would destroy any claim Alonso might have that he won the championship in a sporting manner.

    I can't help but get the feeling that a lot of people in RBR might favour option 2. Tough on Mark Webber (I'd like to see him win, but think he'll have to find a way past Vettel on by himself).

  • Comment number 24.

    Firstly thank you Benson for the great blogs.

    Many of us (not just in the UK) eagerly await your articles, a breadth of fresh air among some sectors of the sport journalism.

    I hope you will carry on writing these during the race-dry months leading to the next season.

    Secondly, #14 John Sharp, great to you read you again in this blog!

    I couldn't agree more. It'll be interesting to see what the RB mix delivers on Sunday.. I personally believe that the outcome Vet-Web-Alo will never ever happen, probably the only one Mark has been hoping for as his best and only chance bar other less expected (albeit possible) permutations occured.

    I seem to recall you attended some of the FIA press conferences in the past. Will it be the case this time around?

    I really hope Fernando wins. It's been 3 years of us, his devout fans, wandering in the desert of desperately low performing cars, hoping for a car sufficiently good (not event the best) to carry him in his pursuit of his third crown. The greatest F1 gladiator, Fernando Alonso.

  • Comment number 25.

    What will happen if in the closing stages of Abu Dhabi, they are running 1,2,3 in the same order as last week.
    Vettel lets Webber by and then Alonso has a problem and drops out???

    Would RBR order Webber to let Vettel back past?
    Would Webber let Vettel past anyway?
    What would the FIA do if either of the 2 scenarios played out?

    It's a long shot but stranger things have happened in F1....

  • Comment number 26.

    What Mateschitz really means, is that because Webber leads Vettel in the championship, you may as well gift it to Alonso. However if Vettel was leading Webber, Webber had best do everything in his power to stop Alonso.

    That's what #1 in the Red Bull team means.

  • Comment number 27.

    @1: Jose Lorca

    Red Bull will play no part in Alonso's third title because he will win at Abu Dhabi

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Either you're Mystic Meg or you've put some sugar in Red Bull's race fuel… or just unbelievably cocky!

  • Comment number 28.

    #27, 'unbelievably'? really?, err... actually it's happened a few times this season..

  • Comment number 29.

    The Marca tool is a lot of fun. Its clear that Hamilton has a chance if everyone else blows up or crashes, or has lousy pitstops, or flats, or whatever. So no chance there.
    On the other hand, Ferrari could have a lousy weekend - its happened before - and gift RBR the title. Possible.
    As we never know whose engine is going to blow next, that adds another factor in, as well as the unexpected qualifying results that cause a pile up on the first corner.

    At the end of the day, its a combination of the Korean result and Ferrari's #taking the p???s# attitute to F1 regs that has given us the current positions and points.
    Had Webber not tripped over himself, and Vettel's engine not blown, the numbers would have been a lot closer.

    Its still anyone's championship. In theory. But Alonso needs a bad race compared to the others if he is not to walk away with it on Sunday.

  • Comment number 30.

    IF both Red Bulls make it to the end, I imagine Vettel will just run wide at the last corner and allow Webber to sneak up the inside. The chances of Alonso retiring with only 20 seconds to go is unlikely (but as Murray always says "anything can happen in Formula One, and usually does!")

    RBR will never be punished for this (certainly not more than $100,000 anyway) as Ferrari and the FIA have already set a precedence. And Ferrari won't be able to complain about the result either!

  • Comment number 31.

    What if Timo Glock is being lapped on the last lap.

    Vettel leads Webber from Alonso and Hamilton. Vettel lets Webber past, just in time to rear end Glock who moves over to stop the pass. This causes Vettel to "turn right" in to Alonso, and Hamilton skates past all the carnage and waves Glock a friendly thank you - just like Glock gave Hamilton the champtonship in Brazil a few years ago.

  • Comment number 32.

    @14 : Please, don't dig up the same old usual stories again. Alonso had the same car and the same teams of engineers and mechanics (which cycled in Round-Robin fashion), he couldn't beat an F1-rookie after being a double-WDC, get over it.

    As for the race itself, Red Bull will probably lock up the front row, as they always did, and Vettel will move over on the last lap if Alonso's still running third and Mark second. Drivers are selfish but Vettel and Webber are ultimately team-mates and Vettel knows that the team result is the thing that counts above all in the end.

    What would make a fun watch is if Webber is first and Hamilton is the driver running second and Alonso third. I can see some "accidental" tangles there. I just hope Webber takes the title, Hamilton can't win it unless all 3 of his rivals suffer engine failures.

  • Comment number 33.

    If Vettel was ahead of Webber in the last couple of laps and DID NOT give the lead to Webber I'm betting that would be Vettel's career ruined in the minds of many, especially the other drivers. It would be a wholly selfish, vindictive and purely childish act. And while I think Vettel has at times - for someone who has had 4 years in F1 - been immature, and the worst moment (for me) was when he took Button out in Spa - I don't believe the man is a complete idiot. if he didn't let Webber past in the circumstances discussed, he would be a complete and total idiot without a foot to stand on.

    But RBR did the right thing it seems so far by not letting Webber through in the last race - though I'm certain things may have been different if Webber was ahead of Vettel with Vettel ahead in the championship - as Vettel still has a chance of winning.

    Given the unpredictability of the races so far, I'm not convinced things will be so straight forward.

  • Comment number 34.

    #30, it isn't a matter of Ferrari complaining (or the F1 fans - it's in the nature of the sport after all).. It is a matter of RBR spending months selling the seasoned F1 fan their propaganda of equality among drivers, only for the last lap of a brilliant F1 season to come to just that.. propaganda and hypocrisy.

  • Comment number 35.

    The most telling comment thus far is

    I'm sure Vettel will let Webber passed on the last lap if required. But Webber would hate to win this way, not only will his crown be tarnished somewhat (although he can claim it is fair because it evens out what Alonso did earlier in the season), but Vettel will always have something over him: "You only won the WDC because I let you!"
    That's probably what it will come down to as those RBR's are crazy fast around the Abu Dhabi circuit. I do not understand all the Alonso haters. Yes, he's focused and appears single-minded but he's also a double WC and throughly deserves the respect he has earned.
    Vettel is young and should have a chance to win in the future. But who knows about 2011? Ferrari amd Mclaren may be quicker. Hamilton and Alonso are, hands down, the best drivers in F1 and with a superior car they will be hard to catch.

  • Comment number 36.

    #31 - Glock was on dry tyres on a wet track, he did well to even keep his car on the tarmac, let alone anything else! Someone who doesnt like Hamilton very much obviously??

    #29 - As my post earlier showed - Hamilton doesnt need all 3 to have engine failures/retirements, just Alonso really - although Alonso could also finish outside the top 10! Vettl 3rd, with Webber 6th and Alonso out of the points will do it! Not that far of a stretch!

  • Comment number 37.

    Good article, and certainly covers most of the big questions.

    Couple of points, the engine worries are of course a factor, but are also relative. Vettel, Webber and Alonso could potentially all have fairly similar issues engine wise - thus effectively levelling the playing field. Assuming none of them actually blow, all of them could well be nursing the engines at the end. It may be likely therefore that the "engine factor" affects all three a similar amount.

    Also, IF Red Bull want a switch, they will do it over a slightly botched pit stop or have Vettel run wide. It won't be anywhere near as coarse as Ferrari in Germany. But, if Vettel is ahead, regardless of where Alonso is, I just can't see them doing it simply because they will always argue that Vettel still had a chance as Alonso could have fallen off.

    In the fastest car, you'd fancy Webber really. But IMO, he has the hardest task ahead of him out of all three, which is a shame. I think Mark will probably have to pray for a blistering lap in qualy and a clean first corner to make sure he's ahead of Vettel at the very least. If he can't get ahead of Vettel, I think it'll simply come down to whether Alonso has the pace to do enough to beat Vettel.

  • Comment number 38.

    Alonso has to be the favourite, but were it to come down to Vettel letting Webber pass then it won't be the wrong driver winning the title.
    If Webber wins and Alonso is 2nd then the wrong driver will have won the title thanks to team orders.
    If Vettel/Webber swap positions then it's one each for that and nobody can say Alonso deserved it more.

    Imagine this scenario for a moment, Alonso goes out early (be it engine failure or someone bumps him off), the red bulls streak away with Hamilton a distant 3rd place. Then we'd have the most interesting fight for the title possible between Webber and Vettel in a straight shootout.
    From a British point of view they could nicely take each other out again and leave Hamilton to pick up the pieces!

  • Comment number 39.

    Brian (post 31)

    "just like Glock gave Hamilton the champtonship in Brazil a few years ago.""

    I'm no Hamilton fan, but that's ridiculous. Glock lapped faster than Trulli on that final lap (also on dry tyres), and the in-car footage clearly shows him struggling to keep the car pointing forward. It was only because he didn't pit (like everyone else was doing) that Massa came so close to winning the championship. If he had gone in for wets he'd have come out behind Hamilton, who would have had a far more comfortable last lap.

    Given how close the championship was it can be argued whether Massa was a more deserving winner, but continuing to blame Glock for making the difference is utterly ridiculous and flies in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

  • Comment number 40.

    Agree with some of the comments above. Alonso is probably in the worst position out of the 4 contenders.

    Lewis has no pressure, he doesn't have to do anything and just hope that the other 3 do not finish. This is possible as Vettel and Alonso have engine issues. He has no pressure as he knows that it is not in his hand.

    Vettel is in somewhat of a similar position. Less pressure as he really has to rely on other results. He has the fastest car out there, so he can look forward to finishing first and hope for the best. His worst case scenario is to let Webber through on the last lap if Alonso is running 3rd.

    Webber really has to fight for it like Alonso. But like Vettel, he drives the fastest car. Plus Vettel will have no choice but to help him if Alonso is running third.

    Alonso does not have the fastest car. He knows that he has to finish second to absolutely make it safe but there are atleast 4 cars which are faster than his ferrari (2 RBs and 2 Mclarens). He also has the looming threat of an engine failure, which is being predicted by many since the last couple of races.

    So Alonso would really need nerves of steel to get through this one.

  • Comment number 41.

    Excellent blog Andrew,

    Some interesting comments from everyone on here today,

    I agree with the comment that Alonso by less than 7 points would be a disgrace and would make the FIA look dreadful.

    What’s more we wouldn’t be talking about team orders now if Alonso had been docked those 7 points as should have happened. Alonso would still lead the title race and would still be champion with a win and team orders from Red Bull wouldn’t have a part to play unless all three were down the field. So the FIA have created a potential problem for themselves now and have left the sport open to a potential farce of an ending if team orders do come in to play.

    I am supporting Webber for the title, I also feel Hamilton has zero chance of taking the title. I would say though fair play to Vettel or Alonso if they are good enough to take the title, as long as in Alonso’s case it’s by 8 points or more.

    I will end with one more prediction, that being that at least one of the four in contention for the title will either qualify awfully or make an early race error and find themselves well down the field or maybe even out.

    With all the pressure on all 4 of them something has got to give, I just hope three of them are fairly close on the track with 15 laps to go.

  • Comment number 42.

    there is a posibility that lewis could be very aggressive in the first corner at the start of the race knowing his chances are limited and he could possibly crash into any of the three front runners. i think alonso has the temperment to win on sunday. we are also all assuming the red bulls will be on the front row. that is not a given at this track. it has a long straight which should assist the maclarens and ferrari.

  • Comment number 43.

    #39
    also worth noting that season, that Ferrari got a massive helping hand from the FIA after Lewis gained an advantage by cutting a corner (despite the fact he let the Ferrari straight back through), and so the win was handed to Massa. Had that farce not have happened, Lewis would have won the title prior to Brazil!

  • Comment number 44.

    Considering Lewis's greatest achievement seems to be beating Alonso in his first season, this year has proved very disappointing for him.
    With such a feat, I would have expected Lewis to now be head and shoulders above Fernando. Sadly he seems to have stayed at the same level.
    4th place in the second best team over the season isn't really the stuff of legends.
    Perhaps if Fernando becomes 3 times world champion, he will be a bigger scalp for Lewis when he finds some consistency?

    I think next year has the potential to be a much better season, it's only really controversy and errors that have made this year exciting.
    I seem to remember the experts not being particularly impressed when Damon Hill nearly made a hash of 1996, but that's exactly what Vettel and Webber have done this season.

  • Comment number 45.

    #34 - I think everyone agrees there have always been team orders in F1 and always will. I do think there's a difference between helping your team mate once your are mathematically out of the title race (as with RBR) and having a clear 1-2 for your drivers from the start of the season. That's just my personal opinion. Ferrari have adopted this approach since Schumacher joined, Kimi was supposed to be No 1 when he joined, but seemed to have lost interest in the sport by then, and then Alonso was brought in as their No 1 driver. I can understand why they operate like this, afterall people remember and talk about the drivers championships a lot more than the constructors. But it's a shame because the only time you really get to compare drivers abilities is when they are racing the same car. For example, Vettel is clearly a very fast driver, but how can we compare him to Alonso and Hamilton when he's clearly had the fastest car all year? So it's nice to see two team mates be allowed to compete, at least until one cannot win the WDC any more.

    #35 - Yes it will be interesting to see if this season is the start of RBR dominance for a few seasons, or if a change in tyres and other rule changes (not sure what they are for next season), shuffle the pack again. The real champion this year? Adrian Newey!

  • Comment number 46.

    Regina, please brush up on your F1 regs! How can the scenario of Vettel choosing to let Webber through on the last lap be 'hypocrisy' on Red Bull's part??? If you didn't know, the rule states that TEAM ORDERS are band. If Vettel receives no TEAM ORDER, but instead chooses to let Webber through on his own accord, then Red Bull are NOT breaking any rules - nor is Vettel for that matter!

    "32. At 12:40pm on 11 Nov 2010, _MikKar_ wrote:
    @14 : Please, don't dig up the same old usual stories again. Alonso had the same car and the same teams of engineers and mechanics (which cycled in Round-Robin fashion), he couldn't beat an F1-rookie after being a double-WDC, get over it"

    Totally with you on this! El che, how can you say it was Hamilton being the childish petulant one?!?! Was you watching a different race formula with a differen Fernando Alonso racing in it?

  • Comment number 47.

    #38 Ben, your prediction couldn't be any more similar to my earlier prediction! ;-)

  • Comment number 48.

    #34, on your own line of argument, Hamilton should've described as having won his 2008 WDC thanks to team orders and therfore a shame? or is it not the case?

  • Comment number 49.

    Andrew,

    I'll join the others in saying that your blogs this season have been great and keep up the good work!

    I love the prediction from #5 with the added comments; made me chuckle.

    Considering the season we've had it would be foolish to think that there will not be another twist or turn. My head thinks that Red Bull will be running 1 and 2 throughout the race but Alonso will be running 3rd or 4th, therefore Vettel WILL do the right thing and allow his team-mate to pass before the chequred flag, handing Webber his maiden WDC (which I wouldn't begrudge him).

    However, something tells me there will be a cat amongst the pigeons, and that "cat" is likely to be Hamilton. He showed last year that he is good around this circuit and I can see him finishing in 1st or 2nd. This could seriously dent RBR chances of getting the result they need, therefore handing the title to ever consistent Alonso (probably by less than 7 points!!!).

    Finally, it could get interesting if Alonso's engine packs in with a lot of the race to go. It will be a simple battle between the Red Bulls and we all know what happened in Turkey! Hamilton, who was pipped to the 2007 title, might just pip Alonso, Webber & Vettel, to the 2010 title and as a Brit I'd love that!

    However, that is perfect scenario and I cannot see it happening.

    Bottom Line: Alonso will be World Champion in 2010.

  • Comment number 50.

    Someone mentioned the rule changes for next year. I know one of htem is to ban the F-Duct! Hmm, I wonder why that is - would that be the FIA's continuing pursuit to benefit anyone other than Mclaren (ie allowing Ferrari's team orders without points deduction, Red Bulls flexi front wing). If they are going to be fair, then the rear blown diffuser should also be banned next year - after all, why does one teams biggest advantage get taken away, yet another's not?

  • Comment number 51.

    Here's a thought...

    Start of quali 3 and Red Bull fly out of the pits with both cars logging stunning laps, faster than anybody else for the whole weekend - Vettel 1st, Webber 2nd, as has usually been the case when they've been 'on it'.

    Fernando Alonso knows his engine is 'delicate' and that he has no hope of beating either RBR onto the front row. He could & should qualify 3rd but that leaves him in that perilous situation that everybody's looking forward to / dreading (depending on whose flag you're waving) - RB racing in formation from the front with the option of letting Vettel move over for Webber at any stage should the need arise. 3rd is no good for Alonso in that situation (unless he can pass one of them which would be no mean feat, especially if they are really dominating)

    So - to throw the cat amongst the pigeons - he decides to use the prime tyre in Q3. And deliberately qualify further down the grid (5th/6th). Now he's shifted the goalposts a bit for Red Bull. All of a sudden, both drivers are in with a real chance of the title but only if they finish ahead of each other. Instead of worrying about keeping Alonso third and maintaining control, the emphasis is now on which RB emerges from turn 1 in front. And the ensuing battle.

    Meanwhile, Alonso can start on the prime, stay out of trouble, protect the engine, let Vettel/Webber/Hamilton get in each others way (preferably with Button and/or Massa in the mix to help as well) while keeping the option tyre available for the last 10-15 laps (assuming it lasts that long) for when everybody else is starting to struggle. I can't imagine Red Bull will want either car having to floor it in the latter stages of the race with its reliability record.

    Obviously this all depends on the relative pace of the cars when they get there but if RB have the same performance advantage as they've had at most other tracks, this tactic could be the only way that Ferrari & Alonso can use that sticky RB rivalry to their benefit.

    Thoughts?...

  • Comment number 52.

    Everyone speculating on Vettel letting Webber passed and then Alonso going off should realise that Vettel would only let Webber through on the last corner, if then. It wont happen 5 laps out for sure. Does no one believe Webber will actually beat Vettel fair and square? I could see it, he is more consistant.

  • Comment number 53.

    #46, please read my post carefully. What is hipocrisy for RB is to sell and shout to the world the following: 'WE TREAT OUR DRIVERS EQUALLY, NOT LIKE FERRARI', only for drivers to swap places during the last lap of the last race (regardless of whether there's or not team radio transmission or what words or lack of those used..).

    At RB they know already what everyone has to do come the crucial time, and to inform drivers' positions will probably be sufficient.

    You may wished to be fooled by that and say that such situation isn't a team order. Actually, in my view, it is. Regardless of when of where is taken.

  • Comment number 54.

    @28

    That Alonso has won several times this season is not the point. For someone to state, categorically "he will win" without consideration to outside influences such as chance, is as unbelievably cocky as it is ridiculous. Nothing in life is guaranteed, except that we all die one day!

  • Comment number 55.

    pete.s. if vettel moves over for webber its because he has already been told to do so before the race has started, so no need to use the radio's. that in my eye is still team orders. the drivers are employed by the teams and they will do as they are told. being a ferrari fan i only want a certain winner but if webber won thru default then so be it. he might be called upon to do the same next year. all four contenders have had car problems or crashes this year so anyone in my mind is a worthy winner.

  • Comment number 56.

    The two main points of interest for me are:

    1). Lewis Hamilton. A potential spanner in the works for the top 3 placings.

    2). Could the Red Bull drivers end up taking each other out again, or even Alonso?

  • Comment number 57.

    I do think there is a not so subtle difference between Massa “letting” Alonso through to gain one place in a mid-season race and Vettel handing the WC to his teammate on the last lap of the final GP. Although Alonso could, and should probably, have overtaken Massa legitimately they are in the same car with the same straight line speed, handling, etc. Alonso is relying on Massa effectively letting him past by not contesting an overtaking maneuver. Ferrari eliminated the need for any potential problem by the not-so coded message!! I have no problem with what Ferrari did. What’s the point of having teams if you cannot operate as one? Similarly, I have no problem with Vettel moving over on Sunday if the situation allows. It just means that Webber didn’t win the title himself

  • Comment number 58.

    #51 - it's a fair point, but I think Alonso will want to stay well out of the battles lower down no matter what. Last thing he wants is for a pair in front to be scrapping and spin/crash, taking him out (Rosberg in Korea anyone??).
    For the sake of 2 or 3 laps at full engine capacity, there is no way he wont take the risk IMO. Lets face it - if the engine can't manage full titl with very low fuel, how's it going to manage, following in someone's exhaust air, with a full fuel load weight!
    Also, better off it going in Q3 and starting 13th/14th with a brand new engine, than have it go in the race.

  • Comment number 59.

    For the neutrals the best thing to happen is Alonso to go out on the first corner. The resulting scrap between Webber and Vettel would be brilliant, especially if Hamilton is sniffing behind waiting for them to take each other out.

    It would interesting to see what Red Bull would do if Webber was leading Vettel in the above situation. Maybe a horrendous pitstop to give Vettel some breathing space?

  • Comment number 60.

    53 - Regina, your posts seem to suggest that RB would be behaving even worse than Ferrari if they employed team orders, because they were being hypocritical? I know you're an Alonso fan but that's stretching things a bit too far! At most, you could say it evens things out because Webber and Alonso would both have gained the same number of points unfairly.

    I'd prefer not to see team orders, whether it be in Hamilton's, Alonso's or RBs favour. I'd also like Alonso to race with a more competitive team mate so we can assess further the claims that he is currently the best F1 driver, but I can't see it happening any time soon!

  • Comment number 61.

    #53 regina, firstly it seems like you are merging the two issues of 'Driver equality' and 'Team orders'. Secondly, if on the last lap Vettel CHOOSES to let Webber through so RBR can have WDC, this does not really any relevance to either issue of driver equality or team orders.
    A) Team order's TECHNICALLY would/should not even happen (and yes I share your view point that team orders will take/will have taken place 'behind closed doors'. Your post acts as a very clear reminder of why the team orders rule should not even exist!!)
    B) This also is not a case of RBR favouring Webber over Vettel (and indeed is contrary to the season long suspicion that RBR favour Vettel), rather the driver's using their brain to get the best possible result for their employers!

  • Comment number 62.

    First let me make this point very clear: I am in favour of team orders. After all, they have always existed and they will always exist (and it is stupid to deny it).

    Second, and this is to all the hypocrites out there (yes, mainly all those anti-Alonso supporters - if you can consider an ‘anti-whoever’ to be a supporter): if Vettel gives way to Webber, the same ethical principle that you (not me) are defending now, will be broken. Imagine the finish as a result of team orders is Webber, Vettel and Alonso. Webber beats Alonso in the driver's championship by a margin of 2 points. You guys complain that if Alonso wins by less than 7 points it will be a disgrace. Well, if you are honest with yourselves and not a bunch of hypocrites, it would also be a disgrace if Webber were to win by less than 8 points (if Vettel lets Webber overtake him). Now, let's see your true colours, surely the colours of hypocrisy.

    It seems to me that the only satisfactory ending to this fascinating season would be a Hamilton triumph.
    If Alonso wins by less than 7 points – team orders
    If Vettel wins – the team has been favouring him
    If Webber wins thanks to Vettel – team orders (even though the anti-Alonso community will keep quiet finally)
    If Hamilton wins – he was the most deserving championship contender…

    So, what’s going to be? Don’t tell me

  • Comment number 63.

    I will not write off any of the top 4 ............ but the 1st corner will give 75% some indication and the balance 25% suring the pits, and who knows .......... Remember Raikannan from nowehere!!

    If i make the call ......... Alonso for sure ..... he is a born champ, wont make silly mistakes like vettle

  • Comment number 64.

    "55. At 1:40pm on 11 Nov 2010, franksm1 wrote:
    pete.s. if vettel moves over for webber its because he has already been told to do so before the race has started, so no need to use the radio's. that in my eye is still team orders. the drivers are employed by the teams and they will do as they are told. being a ferrari fan i only want a certain winner but if webber won thru default then so be it. he might be called upon to do the same next year. all four contenders have had car problems or crashes this year so anyone in my mind is a worthy winner."

    I acknowledged this issue in post #61! :)

  • Comment number 65.

    @53:

    The difference being, Red Bull will have treated their drivers equally for a LOT more of the season than Ferrari have done for some years.

    Its one thing (and quite logical / acceptable in most peoples' view) for a driver to help their team mate in the closing stages of the season, if one is better placed to win the title.

    Its something else entirely for a team to back one driver over another from the start, or halfway through a season. Ferrari are of course entitled to run their team how they wish, but calling yourself a champion, when your team mate is not allowed to race you, is very hollow IMO.

  • Comment number 66.

    And now I hear of rain forecast for qualifying....could be a further twist in the tail (nb Andrew, tail rather than tale)

  • Comment number 67.

    For all the Lewis fan boys who keep going on about him being a rookie. Did you know that he raced before that year and has been in Mclaren for some time? He knew the car and more importantly the bridgestone tyres far better than Alonso so had the technical advantage. As for mental, Lewis had nothing to lose and when he did, he bottled it. Alonso started well until the team clearly started favouring the Brit, that would effect anyones performance.

    Alonso is much higher regarded than Lewis in the paddocks, there have been plenty if drivers who have said that. Only people that consider him all the things mentioned are english tabloid reading sheep.

  • Comment number 68.

    #63, I agree with you partly.
    A) I fully agree. It is a stupid rule that doesn't work and therefore unenforceable. They should get rid of it frankly - and soon. They opened pandora's box months ago due to some British media outcry and Whiting and the FIA probably still regrets doing it. I am like John Sharp in favour of them.
    B) RB situation would be no different to Ferrari. Or is it the case that the Ferrari's drivers weren't acting in the best interest of their employers in Germany?

    #65 - Remember 2008 - (of course there was no outcry then..) so Hamilton should NOT call himself a champion in your line of thought..

  • Comment number 69.

    Q - Are Red Bull prepared to hand the title to Alonso..?

    A - Sadly YES. Would love to se Webber (Red Bulls No2 driver) win it, but Red Bull politics dictate otherwise.

    Bad Mick

  • Comment number 70.

    One fact about team orders which is often forgotten is that any order given which interferes with the race result is not allowed i.e. telling drivers to stay in same position and not risk taking each other out. It could be argued that RBR should have implemented this in Turkey. There are so many ways for team orders to be disguised, that the rule is totally unenforceable and should be removed (which i expect it will be for next season)

  • Comment number 71.

    Dear whoever it may concern (Mr B Ecclestone Esq),

    If Fernando Alonso wins the World Championship by less than 7 points, I (and i hope a lot more join me) will never watch Formula One again.

    I hope Red Bull do a bit of team orders to win it, after all it is only a $100,000 fine, pocket change in F1!

  • Comment number 72.

    I think everyone has to agree that this season has probably been the most exciting in living memory for a large number of fans!

    For what it’s worth, my two-penneth:

    F1 fans and teams alike have a very short memory. I was not a big fan of the Alonso/Massa team orders issue this year (regardless of the sporting morality, it’s against the rules at the moment) but I fear if Alonso wins the title this weekend by a couple of points, the press/pundits and glory hunting fans in red will quickly forget this and he’ll be hailed ‘as good if not better than Schumacher’. That may well be the case as he is an awesome driver but with all his antics, he has moved himself into the position where a large proportion of fans see him as the new ‘hate figure’ (a la Schumacher in his Damon Hill side-swiping and ‘people letting him win’ days).

    There’s no love lost between Hamilton and Alonso. Clearly he was used to being the number one in a team and expected nothing else at McLaren. His problem is he deals with it in a very childish manner in front of the world (e.g. holding up Hamilton in the pits). His radio transmission in Hungary following the Hamilton/Safety Car incident of “If you do nothing else today, I want you to hound the stewards” was a childish, unprofessional act which unfortunately bore fruit as Hamilton was given the drive-through. These are the incidents which people forget but seal his position in the paddock as someone who has the arrogance to feel they have a divine right to be the best. The fact that after the Massa “Alonso is faster than you, sorry mate” incident he had the gall to celebrate at all speaks volumes.

    If he wins this weekend, Alonso is a worthy champion. He has 5 wins, Webber & Vettel have 4 each and Hamilton has 3. If it comes down to the wire, I would hope that Vettel does the right thing. He has many years ahead and many people sense that Webber will never get a chance like this again. If Vettel yields to Webber on the last lap, I would love to see the reaction by Ferrari.

    P.S. I’m secretly hoping for the mindgames scenario written by ‘RondoTheMagician’ – an excellent idea!

  • Comment number 73.

    #53.
    Ferrari have set the precedent themselves and shown the rule regarding team-orders counts for nothing (team orders have always existed, some teams have a more elegant way of proceeding, at least compared to Ferrari).

    It will be quite fitting, and thoroughly ironic, if Ferrari were to lose the WDC to a team that employs the same sort of team-order they set a precedent on at Hockenheim.

  • Comment number 74.

    The cat amongst the pigeons, Kubica will pop in, maybe cause a riot. Would love Webber to win, he was my second choice when Coulthard was driving. Vettel will have other chances, so it just seems right Webber to win.

    1. Webber
    2. Hamilton
    3. Kubica
    4. Button
    5. Alonso
    6. Massa
    7. Heidfeld
    8. Barrichello
    9. Kobayashi
    10. Alguesuari

    DNF - Vettel and Kubica scrap, Vettel runs wide as he is to keen to outpace him, Kubica calmly goes through, Alonso has nowhere to go, clips his wing, but takes off Vettel's back left tire. Hence Alonso 5th place.

    But we shall see, we shall see, a true nail-biter! and what a belter, hopefully better than that follow the leader race in Brazil! :D

  • Comment number 75.

    There is no doubt that the end race has the potential for be exciting. But all this "best season ever" nonsense is unbeleivable. If it hadn't been for the rain this year I fear it would have been dullsville.

    The point of Vettle letting Webber through is not a matter of team orders since it will be entirely his decision (all the team have gone to great lengths to ensure that there are no team orders lol).

    Should Alonso win I hope it is by more than 7 points otherwise it will surley be tainted but I suspect he wouldn't care.

  • Comment number 76.

    There's two things I'm thinking that not many else sem to be.

    Firstly, how much respect and credibility would Red Bull generate if they refused to alter the result!!?
    We'd all take out hats off to them... even those who dont like the team. It would also simmer any hostility between the drivers for next year. Could be a good move... in terms of marketing hoo hah.

    Secondly, If Vettel was to reluctantly hand the win to Webber, then Webber happily stays at Red Bull next year and supports Vettel from the outset... since he owes him one and it'll be his last year in F1 anyways probably.

    If Vettel does let Webber through, be sure he'll do d it in blatant fashion. Last corner, almost coming to a stop. Just to rub it in. Maybe Webber will do a Red Bull Xtreme loop over him Kovaleinen style, and slide over the line.


  • Comment number 77.

    Did anybody consider a Redbull front row with Vettel first-quite likely. Webber will probably push to pass Vettel at the 1st corner so as to avoid the team order situation and not be indebted to Vettel. Knowing the 2 of them it would be quite possible that they take each other out before Alonso even comes in to play. Hope they hold their heads. The other possiblity nobody said is Redbull switch their drivers in the pits. surely this will be easier on the drivers! Any thoughts?

  • Comment number 78.

    @regina:

    What about 2008?

    Are you trying to insinuate that Hamilton was favoured over Alonso in some way? Typical bitter Ferrari / Alonso fanboy! If anything McLaren could be forgiven for favouring Lewis after the way Fernando behaved, threatening to go to the press about certain members of the team being in possession of Ferrari technical data (although it was NEVER proven they used it and the personnel in question were quickly removed from the team).

    In the final analysis, the 2008 title was decided in Brazil, where Alonso had no bearing on the outcome, so put your dummy back in...

  • Comment number 79.

    Incidentally, it seems that another British media campaign against Alonso has already started.

    From reports that seem to start appearing, Fernando was again the subject of a quasi public firing by squad at the FOM conference today in Abu Dhabi.

    It seems Fernando was again responding questions in the most polite manner, without losing one bit of his calm and cool.

    Shame they never ask him about his gesture of hand writing a letter to each member of the Ferrari team after his crash in the saturday practice at Monaco this year, when he wrote: "I am sorry. I promise I will come back to fight for the title". Then he handed the note to each one personally. No, they never ask about these things..

  • Comment number 80.

    I'd love to know the last time a F1 blog has not been taken over by people slating Ferrari/Alonso...

  • Comment number 81.

    QUOTE "68. At 2:15pm on 11 Nov 2010, regina wrote:
    #63, I agree with you partly.
    A) I fully agree. It is a stupid rule that doesn't work and therefore unenforceable. They should get rid of it frankly - and soon. They opened pandora's box months ago due to some British media outcry and Whiting and the FIA probably still regrets doing it. I am like John Sharp in favour of them.
    B) RB situation would be no different to Ferrari. Or is it the case that the Ferrari's drivers weren't acting in the best interest of their employers in Germany?

    #65 - Remember 2008 - (of course there was no outcry then..) so Hamilton should NOT call himself a champion in your line of thought.."

    I assume this was aimed at my post #61. The RB situation on the final lap of the final race is a MILLION miles different to Ferrari in Germany!! Firstly, in Ferrari's case it was mid season, Massa still well in the hunt for the campionship, and the team CLEARLY FAVOURED Alonso over Massa. With RB on the final lap of the season, Vettel will be mathmatically out of contention, so the act of swaping their drivers would be entirely for the benifit of the team, i.e. the only way to win the WDC!! How can you say this is an act of favoritism? Your comment becomes even more rediculous when you consider that any evidence of favouritism within RBR this season has been on the side of Vettel.

    In a nut shell, if Vettel lets Webber past on the last lap, how can anyone accuse RBR of being hypocritical just because Horner has earlier come out claiming, and I quote regina, " 'WE TREAT OUR DRIVERS EQUALLY, NOT LIKE FERRARI' " THERE IS NO ISSUE OF DRIVER EQUALITY IN THIS SCENARIO!!

  • Comment number 82.

    #78, I kindly refer you to recent F1 history. You're mixing your years I'm afraid.. or your anti-Alonsitis is stopping you from seeing that in 2008 Hamilton was favoured over Heiki Kovalainen..

    #73, it won't be 'fitting and ironic' - it'll simply be hypocritical

  • Comment number 83.

    It would be a four way with Button instead of Hamilton had the team not stopped him passing him at Turkey and Brazil. And if his team hadn't failed him in Monaco and Vettel hadn't been an idiot in Belgium. Think about that.

    I personally hope Webber wins it as this could be his one shot at a championship. He seems the most human of the the THREE contenders, and he has been fighting the team all season.

    I believe that Mateschitz- a drinks company owner- doesn't want team orders as it could badly effect the reputation of the RedBull brand. Whereas Horner- A racer- just wants to see one of his cars win the title no matter what. Never mind Vettel, it could be Mateschitz that decides the fate of this year's championship.

    However, I feel Webber will freeze and Alonso will beat him to second place in the grand prix, with the aussie, Jense and Hamilton(if he finishes) third, fourth and fifth.

    Whatever does eventually happen though, what a fabolous championship it has been in every sense of the word.

  • Comment number 84.

    Also regina, I'm not sure I understand your comment RE Hamilton in 2008?? In my trail of thought?? What are you getting at exactly? Hamilton was not a part of team orders nor was in receipt of any clear favoritism from Mclaren...

  • Comment number 85.

    If Red Bull are in a position to let Webber grab the world title, and then don't, then that will be an utterly shameful act of favouritism, and I wouldn't know how the team could live with themselves. Not least, I don't know how any driver could come in there as an equal to Sebastian Vettel.

    I don't think it will happen.

  • Comment number 86.

    #84 - Hockeinheim 2008. Hairpin. Heiki is told that Lewis is faster. So Heiki moves to let Lewis past him.

    Lewis win 2008 WDC by 1 point..

  • Comment number 87.

    I think it's interesting that the old team orders controversy only really raises its head if Vettel doesn't let Webber through. If they do then both Webber and Alonso have cheated once and the loose ends are tied up. If they don't then Hockenheim becomes a big issue all over again. I personally hope to see Webber on pole to put this all to bed!

  • Comment number 88.

    Just wanted to give my prediction (or at least what I would love to happen):

    Going into last lap race order 1. Vettel 2. Webber 3. Hamilton 4. Alonso, Vettel about 2secs up the road from Webber coming into the last few corners, Alonso already celebrating his victory. Vettel "accidentally" locks up and runs wide allowing Webber through to claim the title. :)

    Or in an ideal world Alonso's engine blows in Q1 has to start from last, Vettel and Webber take each other out Hamilton wins and Alonso finishes 11th, that would be drama of the highest order!!!

    Basically I don't mind who wins so long as its not Alonso as even though I believe he is a better driver than both Webber and Vettel can't take the team orders fiasco and the lame "punishment" handed out by the FIA.

  • Comment number 89.

    " 4. At 10:51am on 11 Nov 2010, usedtobefast wrote:
    As Alonso is not well liked in the paddock due to his arrogance and petulant behaviour I wouldn't be surprised if someone 'sacrificed' themselves to take him off at some point - probably at the start. I think with the engine issues of the front three though tthere is an outside chance Lewis could nick it...her's to hoping anyway..."

    yes, Button could give his car to ... (I'm thinking).... Ron Dennis!!


  • Comment number 90.

    How about this:

    Final lap is Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Hamilton, plus 10 other cars on the same lap.

    Vettel lets Webber past, Alonso "stops" his car before the finish to make Vettel agonise over his decision. Webber wins the WDC.

    Then later, the FIA decides that RB used team orders and disqualifies them from the race (we all know how consistent the FIA is), the WDC goes to Hamilton, and Alonso agonises over his decision to not finish!

  • Comment number 91.

    My prediction.....The FIA change the points system before the race meaning that Alonso wins the title...well they are the Ferrari International Assistance afterall.

  • Comment number 92.

    91 - My prediction.....The FIA change the points system before the race meaning that Alonso wins the title...well they are the Ferrari International Assistance afterall.

    Rules cannot be changed during a season without unanimous support from teams so not very likely now is it.

  • Comment number 93.

    90 How about this: wake up!

  • Comment number 94.

    Regina, I havn't at any point declared myself against team orders, infact i've stressed the contrary. So why, in my trail of thought, should Hamilton not be a worthy champion?

    I initially questioned your orignal comment RE this as I thought you were illuding to Glock letting him past to win the title in Brazil....

  • Comment number 95.

    Anyone but Alonso. What I want is for someone to plough into his car just after the pit straight or do what Vettel did to Jenson and blow his radiator.

    Alonso may deserve to be in front but he doesn't deserve to be so far in front and karma will sort that out.

  • Comment number 96.

    #94 - hello? where did I say that?
    What I mean is that team orders and team orders and therefore you cannot pidgeon hole them as 'good team orders' or 'bad team orders' as you, forgive me if it isn't the case, you seem to suggest..
    So for RB to do it in Abu Dhabi, if need be, is no better or worse than Ferrari in Germany 2010, or Mclaren in Germany 2008

  • Comment number 97.

    Alonso has to be the favourite, but were it to come down to Vettel letting Webber pass then it won't be the wrong driver winning the title.
    If Webber wins and Alonso is 2nd then the wrong driver will have won the title thanks to team orders.
    If Vettel/Webber swap positions then it's one each for that and nobody can say Alonso deserved it more.
    ----------------

    Actually no, well sort of no, true Alonso winning by less than 7 would be wrong but so would switching between the RBRs now as the 7 points Webber would gain (and Vettel lose) would be no more deserved than Alonsos and if neither had happened then Vettel would actually have been champion.

    Were Alonso's 7 points removed (as they should have been) and the race finished in the order Vettel, Webber, Alonso in Abu Dhabi then it would actually be Vettel who would have been champion with 256 points and 5 wins versus Webbers 356/4 and Alonsos 254/5.

    So in that situation (Vettel leaving Webber through) Webber's title will be as equally tainted as Alonsos as if neither event had happened neither man would have won, Vettel would have done instead. I'm surprised that nobody has seemingly worked that out by now.

  • Comment number 98.

    Regina

    If Vettel personally decides to let Webber through, so therefore Webber wins the title, it will NOT be hypocritical in any way shape or form. Only an Alonso/red-tinted glasses fan could think that.
    Even if the team decide to switch them, it would not be hypocritical, as they would only be doing it because only one of their drivers could win the title full stop - when Ferrari did it, Massa was still well in with a chance of winning the title.

  • Comment number 99.

    For all the Lewis fan boys who keep going on about him being a rookie. Did you know that he raced before that year and has been in Mclaren for some time? He knew the car and more importantly the bridgestone tyres far better than Alonso so had the technical advantage.
    ----------

    Hamilton had NEVER raced an F1 car before his debut season. Some minor amount of testing yes, some simulation work yes, but never actual racing. He'd also never worked under anywhere near the pressure level he expereinced in F1. He was probably the best prepared rookie ever but was still most definately a rookie.

  • Comment number 100.

    It would be a four way with Button instead of Hamilton had the team not stopped him passing him at Turkey and Brazil. And if his team hadn't failed him in Monaco and Vettel hadn't been an idiot in Belgium. Think about that.
    ------------
    Stopped him passing in Brazil? Hamilton was faster for the entire race than Button both before and after the SC.

    And funnily enough they had no problem with him passing Hamilton in Japan which was well after Turkey.

 

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