Monday, November 08, 2010


As is with the end of any Formula 1 season, there are a variety of gongs up for grabs.  Some are yet to be won, others have already been decided.

Constructors' Championship
Firstly, yesterdays' grand prix saw the 2010 constructors champions crowned.  This honour went to Red Bull Racing, in only their sixth season in Formula 1.  Austria becomes the sixth nationality of a winning Formula 1 constructor.  Red Bull become the 14th team to take top honours, and also this is the second year in a row which has seen first time champions.  As an engine supplier, Renault have won the championship for the ninth time.  This puts them in third overall, with 1 win behind Ford.

Below is the current standings as of the penultimate race:

1.  Red Bull Racing - Renault              469 Points        WORLD CHAMPIONS
2.  Vodafone McLaren Mercedes          421 Points
3.  Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro               389 Points
4.  Petronas Mercedes Grand Prix        202 Points
5.  Renault F1 Team                         145 Points
6.  Williams Formula 1 - Cosworth      69 Points
7.  Force India - Mercedes                 68 Points
8.  BMW Sauber - Ferrari                   44 Points
9.  Scuderia Toro Rosso - Ferrari        11 Points

 DHL Fastest Lap Competition

The next issue to be resolved is the DHL fastest lap competition.  This is awarded to the driver who has gathered most fastest laps over an entire season.  So far this has yet to be won, but only two drivers are in the reckoning.  With one race left, this is how it stands:

1.  Alonso            5 [Bahrain, Britain, Italy, Singapore, Korea];
2.  Hamilton         4 [China, Spain, Belgium, Brazil];
3.  Webber           3 [Australia, Malaysia, Japan];
3.  Vettel             3 [Monaco, Germany, Hungary];
5.  Button            1 [Europe];
5.  Kubica            1 [Canada];
5.  Petrov            1 [Turkey].

*As a side note - did you know, Mercedes have only ever won two constructors championships as an engine supplier.  The last with Brawn GP last year, but before that 1998 with McLaren.  They would have won in 2007 had McLaren not been disqualified for Spy alligations.

Drivers' Championship

The top five contenders for the 2010 Formula One championship posed for a photo at the Korean International Circuit in Yeongam, South Korea, in October. Yeongam was host to Korea's first Formula One race on Sunday Oct 24, won by Fernando Alonso. Pictured from left, McLaren Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain, Red Bull Formula One driver Mark Webber of Australia, McLaren Formula One driver Jenson Button of Britain and Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany.
The five condenders are now down to four.  From l-r:  Hamilton, Alonso, Webber, Button and Vettel.
Now the biggy.  The Formula 1 Driver's World Championship will go down to the wire in this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.  It will be contested between four drivers:  Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.  Of the four drivers, only Fernando Alonso (2) and Lewis Hamilton (1) have won world championships. 

Last year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was won by Sebastian Vettel with Mark Webber second and Jenson Button third. 
Interestingly, if the championship was completed using last year's result, Vettel and Webber would be even on points with Alonso 3rd.  Alonso finished last year in 14th place, however he was in a rather inferior Renault then.

Now I shall attempt to list each permutation or possibility of how each driver can win the championship this weekend.

For Fernando Alonso to win the 2010 Championship:
  • If Alonso wins, or finishes second, he will become World Champion, regardless of where his opponents finish.
  • If Alonso comes third, he must hope that Webber does not win.
  • If fourth, Alonso must also hope Webber doesn't take top spot.
  • If he finishes fifth, he must hope that Webber does not come in the top two, and Vettel does not win.
  • If sixth, he must hope that Webber does not finish on the podium and Vettel does not win.
  • If seventh, he must again hope Webber doesn't come in top three, and Vettel does not win.
  • If eighth, he must hope that Webber doesn't finish in the top five, and Vettel cannot win.
  • If Alonso finishes ninth, he must hope that Webber doesn't finish in the top five, and Vettel in the top two.
  • If tenth, he must hope that Webber doesn't come in the top five, Vettel doesn't come first or second.
  • If Alonso fails to score, he must hope that Webber doesn't finish in the top five and Vettel in the top two.  He must also hope that Lewis Hamilton can't win.
"The main goal for us is to be on pole on Saturday and then win the race on Sunday.   If we cannot do that, if we are not quick enough, then we will try to be second. With that, the problem is finished."   Fernando Alonso

Official: Mark Webber Stays With Red Bull For 2011 mark webberFor Mark Webber to win the 2010 Championship:

  • He must win the race and hope that Alonso finishes third or below.
  • If he comes second, he must hope that Vettel does not win and Alonso finishes below fifth.
  • If he comes third, he must hope that Alonso finishes seventh or below and Vettel does not win.
  • If he comes fourth, he must hope that Alonso does not come inside the top nine and Vettel does not win.
  • If he comes fifth, he must hope that Alonso does not finish ninth or better.  Vettel must also not come in the top two.
  • If he comes sixth or below, Webber cannot mathematically become world champion.
“P1 [in Brazil] would have been nice but it was not possible. But I’m still in the hunt and it’s nice for me to come back after a poor race in Korea.   I’m still in with a big chance, so I’ll go [to Abu Dhabi]  and do my best.”  Mark Webber

For Sebastian Vettel to win the 2010 Championship:
  • If he wins, he must hope that Alonso finishes no higher than fifth.
  • If he comes second, he must hope that Alonso finishes ninth or below and Webber finishes below fifth.
  • If Vettel finishes third or below, he cannot mathematically become world champion.

"In my case, it is pretty straightforward - all I can do is optimise my result, ideally repeat the result we achieved today and then it depends where those two guys are.  For sure, you will have to judge according to the situation. Both of  us, we know how to react. We had some moments we're not very proud of and which we don't want to repeat."  Sebastian Vettel

For Lewis Hamilton to win the 2010 championship.
  • He must win the race and hope that Alonso fails to score, Webber fails to finish in the top six and Vettel fails to finish on the podium.
  • If Hamilton fails to win the race, he cannot mathematically become world champion.
"We weren't quick enough here and we won't be quick enough in Abu Dhabi.  Realistically, we need a miracle.”  Lewis Hamilton

As it stands:
1.  Fernando Alonso        Ferrari        246 points
2.  Mark Webber            Red Bull     238 points
3.  Sebastian Vettel         Red Bull     231 points
4.  Lewis Hamilton          McLaren    222 points
5.  Jenson Button            McLaren    199 points
6.  Felipe Massa             Ferrari        143 points
7.  Nico Rosberg            Mercedes   130 points
8.  Robert Kubica           Renault       126 points
9.  Michael Schumacher  Mercedes   72 points
10.  Rubens Barrichello   Williams     47 points

Key - 1st - 25 pts, 2nd - 18 pts, 3rd - 15 pts, 4th - 12 pts, 5th - 10 pts, 6th - 8 pts, 7th - 6 pts, 8 - 4 pts, 9 - 2 pts, 10 - 1 pt.

The most interesting championship permutation is if Vettel wins, Webber second, and Alonso fifth.  That would mean that each of the three drivers end the season equal on 256 points.  In such a scenario, the champion would be decided by countback of wins, then seconds, then thirds, and so on.  Vettel and Alonso would be equal on wins, equal on second places, equal on thirds.  Then as Alonso would have 2 fourth placed finishes, and Vettel 3, Vettel would be 2010 world champion.

This is just one of around 1000 possibilities of how the championship will end.

The final race of the season is in Abu Dhabi this weekend.  Qualifying is at 12:15 on Saturday afternoon (BBC1).  The race itself on Sunday afternoon at 12:10. 

More build up to the championship finale will be posted here throughout the week. 


The Brazilian Grand Prix is usually one race looked forward to by drivers, teams and media.  It is a unique race in that for the past five consecutive years, it has crowned the drivers' world champion.

This year, fresh from a streak of stunning performances, Fernando Alonso will have been hoping to add to that list.  However, much to the delight of all except Ferrari, that was not the case.

Practice was inconclusive as the championship protagonists (and Robert Kubica) traded blows at the top of the leaderboard.  Friday night ended, in the same way Saturday morning began.  With rain.  Rain was the last thing that Alonso, Webber and Vettel would have wanted, yet the McLaren drivers (Button and Hamilton) wanted to use it to their advantage, to claw their way back into title contention. 

Whilst the first qualifying session saw the usual six drivers eliminated alongside Adrian Sutil of Force India.  It was the latter, who came away from the session the least happy.  He nearly crashed as his team mate Liuzzi, spun and rejoined right in front.  Both were unpunished, however Sutil carried forward a five-place grid penalty for unsporting driving at the previous race. 

The surprise ommision from qualifying three was Jenson Button, however that would have been the least of his worries shortly after the session.  He was involved in an attempted mugging.  He escaped unharmed alongside his manager, trainer and father. 

As the rain eased for Q3, the teams considered the use of dry tyres.  They gave in eventually, and it was Nico Hulkenberg who had the upper hand.  As team after team, and driver after driver set lap times, they were absolutely obliterated in the end bu the german rookie.  He set pole position with two laps capable of fastest, and a healthy one second lead over Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.  Hamilton was fourth and Alonso fifth.

On Sunday morning, the rain had completely stopped.  This left a lovely blue sky and dry track.  At the start, Nico Hulkenberg could not maintain his lead, and was behind Vettel even before the first corner.  Webber was next through shortly later.

At this stage, Alonso had passed Hamilton and was now right on Hulkenberg's tail.  Yet, somehow, the clearly inferior Williams was still ahead.  Lap in, lap out, Hulkenberg was holding off Alonso on the main pit straight, by taking the tighter line into the first corner.  Eventually, Alonso changed his line.  He decided to go slower through the first corner, letting him run closer through turn 3, and had a better slipstream on the back straight.  This did work, and Alonso ducked through on Hulkenberg at turn four.  The move was described as "beautiful" by race engineer, Andrea Stella.

Held up in the same train of cars led by Hulkenberg was Jenson Button.  Having started eleventh, Button had worked his way up to tenth, including being passed by Schumacher.  He decided to take the risk and completely alter his strategy by pitting first, or pulling the trigger as it so happened.
The reason for this analogy is that over the next three laps, all drivers from Hulkenberg to Liuzzi in sixteenth, with the exception of Hamilton, Schumacher, Rosberg and Sutil, pitted.  This proved to be inspired for both McLaren drivers, as they ended fourth (Hamilton), and fifth (Button).

The race didn't really settle down from its frantic pace, until Liuzzi had buried his Force India in the hedge on lap 49.  Before this moment, local heroes Massa and Barrichello had both being having terrible races, inflicted by two wheel related issues.  As the safety car entered for its moment of glory, both Button and Hamilton chose to pit again.  This may have been a risk, had it not been for the colossial gap behind to Rosberg.  They aimed to charge down Alonso with fresh tyres.  This did not really pay off for the team, as they lost time navigating well over half of the field on the restart. 

After the restart, it became an easy victory for Vettel.  With Webber trying to close him down before the end, it was apparant that an engine issue would pay claim to his hopes of winning the race.  In third at the finish was Alonso, who's slender lead would continue into the final race of the season.  In fourth, Hamilton, fifth, Button (who's championship reign was ended), and sixth Rosberg.  Rounding out the points were Schumacher, pole sitter Hulkenberg, Kubica and Kamui Kobayashi.

A further blog will be up on this site with the state of the championship heading to the final race in Abu Dhabi next weekend.