Start, IndyCar Baltimore Grand Prix, 2011

F1 may not have a close title fight but these five do

Why you should watch...Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Start, IndyCar Baltimore Grand Prix, 2011
Start, IndyCar Baltimore Grand Prix, 2011

Sebastian Vettel’s rivals have all-but conceded this year’s championship following his eighth win of the season at Monza.

So if you’re looking for a close championship battle, now’s the time to cast your gaze beyond Formula 1.

Here’s a selection of top racing series with rather more exciting championship battles.


Driver Points
1 Dario Franchitti 507
2 Will Power 502
3 Scott Dixon 430

In the past three races, Will Power has cut Dario Franchitti’s lead from 62 points to just five.

IndyCar’s mix of road, street and oval courses will play a role in deciding the outcome of this championship: Franchitti tends to do better on ovals, Power on road and street courses.

This weekend’s race in Japan was supposed to take place on the Motegi oval. But that was damaged during the March earthquake so the teams have switched to the road course instead, which could be good news for Power.

After that Power has two races on ovals to contend with, in Kentucky and Las Vegas. Last year he went into the final round 12 points up on Franchitti, but the title slipped from his grasp.

Will Franchitti beat Power again to claim his third championship in a row?

Adding more intrigue to the season finale, Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon will return to compete for a special prize. He’ll bag $2.5 million if he wins from last on the grid, with the same amount going to a fan at the race.

This one’s too good to miss, so we’ll be following the last two rounds on F1 Fanatic Live.

Races remaining: Three
Points: 50 for a win, two for most laps led and one for pole position
Will I be watching?: Definitely. UK coverage is on Sky Sports.

British Touring Car Championship

Driver Points
1 Gordon Shedden 182
2 Matt Neal 181
3 Mat Jackson 159
4 Jason Plato 147
5 James Nash 135
6 Andrew Jordan 121

After a few shaky years, the BTCC is well and truly back to its best. That’s why I’ve already been to four rounds this year, at Brands Hatch, Thruxton, Oulton Park and Snetterton.

Honda team mates Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden are at the front of the title battle and they’ve already collided earlier this year.

Mat Jackson slipped to third after a disastrous meeting in Knockhill.

Reigning champion Jason Plato’s hopes of retaining his crowd will be boosted this weekend at Rockingham as BTCC continues to fine-tune the current rules balancing the performance of the cars. Plato’s normally-aspirated Chevrolet will be unaffected, but several of his rivals will have less turbo boost and more weight.

The Silverstone finale is in the afternoon following the Korean Grand Prix and ahead of the IndyCar final at Las Vegas, which will make for a great day of racing on F1 Fanatic Live.

Start, British Touring Cars, Knockhill, 2011
Start, British Touring Cars, Knockhill, 2011

Races remaining: Nine (Three triple-headers)
Points: 15 for a win, one for fastest lap and leading a lap, and one for pole position for race one of each weekend
Will I be watching?: Unfortunately I can’t make it to any of the remaining rounds but I will be watching ITV’s excellent live coverage.

World Series by Renault

Driver Points
1 Robert Wickens 198
2 Jean-Eric Vergne 164
3 Daniel Ricciardo 125
4 Albert Costa 120
5 Kevin Korjus 118
6 Alexander Rossi 116

Robert Wickens, who had his first run in an F1 car with Virgin on Tuesday, has a healthy 34-point margin with 100 points to be won in the World Series by Renault.

But he’s up against strong opposition in the shape of Red Bull development drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo, both of which have British F3 championship titles to their name.

Ricciardo, runner-up in this series last year, is a creditable third having missed the first two races while on duty for Toro Rosso.

Daniel Ricciardo, World Series by Renault, 2011
Daniel Ricciardo, World Series by Renault, 2011

Now racing in F1 for HRT, he may have to miss the final two races which clash with the Japanese Grand Prix.

Races remaining: Four (two double-headers)
Points: Same as F1
Will I be watching?: If Eurosport are showing any of the races live I will.


Driver Points
1 Martin Tomczyk 50
2 Bruno Spengler 49
3 Mattias Ekstrom 29
4 Timo Scheider 29
5 Jamie Green 25
6 Mike Rockenfeller 23
7 Ralf Schumacher 21

Audi’s Martin Tomcyk leads Mercedes’ Bruno Spengler by a single point in Germany’s premier touring car series.

While five other drivers are mathematically capable of winning, it’s likely one of these two drivers will claim their first DTM championship wins.

Tomcyk came through to win in a wet race at Brands Hatch at the beginning of the month.

The championship may be close but it’s not been a sparkling year in the DTM for racing.

Martin Tomczyk, Audi A4, Brands Hatch, DTM, 2011
Martin Tomczyk, Audi A4, Brands Hatch, DTM, 2011

That will hopefully change next year with the introduction of new cars and the arrival of BMW.

Races remaining: Three
Points: Ten for a win (same as F1’s 2003-09 system)
Will I be watching?: I’d give it a look if I could but it’s on ESPN in the UK.


Driver Points
1 Kyle Busch 2012
2 Kevin Harvick 2012
3 Jeff Gordon 2009
4 Matt Kenseth 2006
5 Carl Edwards 2003
6 Jimmie Johnson 2003
7 Kurt Busch 2003
8 Ryan Newman 2003
9 Tony Stewart 2000
10 Dale Earnhardt Jnr 2000
11 Brad Keselowski 2000
12 Denny Hamlin 2000

If F1 used NASCAR’s ‘Chase for the Cup’ the championship would look very different.

In NASCAR the points are reset with ten races remaining so the highest 12 drivers in the championship have near-equal tallies, and only they can claim the crown.

Jimmie Johnson has made the Chase his speciality and could claim the title for an astonishing sixth year in a row this season.

So should F1 use something like the chase to keep the championship alive until the end?

I don’t think so – for me, the champion should be the driver with the best result over a full season’s racing. Even if that does mean wrapping things up early, as will almost certainly be the case in F1 this year.

Races remaining: Ten
Points: 46 for a win, one for leading a lap and one for leading the most laps
Will I be watching?: Even if it was on anywhere I could see it I wouldn’t bother. For various reasons, NASCAR isn’t my cup of tea.

Other series

Start, NASCAR, Richmond International Raceway, 2011
Start, NASCAR, Richmond International Raceway, 2011

The World Touring Car Championship is a close affair between Yvan Muller and Rob Huff. But, like the DTM, the races haven’t been great this year. That said the end-of-season race at Macau is always worth a look.

What was shaping up to be a great battle between the two Sebastiens in Citroen’s World Rally Championship team – Loeb and Ogier – had the edge taken off it after Citroen began using team orders to favour Loeb.

In Superleague Formula, the football-themed series which morphed into an A1 Grand Prix-style countries’ championship, the major point of interest late in the season is which races will actually take place.

Having held six races at Assen and Zolder this year, it has postponed a round in Russia and cancelled races in New Zealand, Brazil and a planned second event in South America.

Are you keeping tabs on the championship battles in other series like Moto GP, Formula Two or others?

Tell us which racing series are you watching over the closing months of 2011 – the more obscure the better!

Why you should watch…

Images ?é?® IndyCar/Shawn Gritzmacher, BTCC, Renault, DTM, Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR

87 comments on “F1 may not have a close title fight but these five do”

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  1. Is he really called Will Power ? JHC!!

    1. His full name is William Steven Power.

      So yes. Will Power is his name.

    2. No; Keith is part of an internet-wide conspiracy to conceal his real name William Fiddlididdles.

    3. And he’s got a younger brother called Max…

      He’s the man who’s name you’d love to touch
      But you mustn’t touch
      His name sounds good in your ear
      But when you say it, you mustn’t fear
      ‘Cause his name can be said by anyone…

      1. And he’s also known as Handsome B. Wonderful.

    4. Yes and Mark Webber paid Penske for him to keep his drive 2 years ago (i think it was 2 years ago) when he ran out of funding before the end of the season

      1. I’d like to see Power have a go in an F1 car. He looks like the real deal.

  2. Comments seem to support the theory that people follow the motorsport that is available to them. I would love to be able to follow WRC but US coverage is spotty at best, I watch if I find it. I would also love to follow the Isle of Man TT, but the whole week comes to HD Theatre channel in hour long segments played about 3 times a day over a month or so with no other information than “motorcycle racing from the Isle of Man” it also is repeated about every 3 months so you never know what you are going to see if you decide to tune in. I follow MotoGP and WSBike as well and occasionally will watch Indycar if I know it will be a roadrace, the circus that is oval-racing depends on multiple safety car re-starts for scoring and entertainment value, no doubt made necessary by the reduction of danger on the track.

  3. The MOTO 2 championship (motogp support) is really hotting up. Marquez has won I think the last 5 races to close the gap to bradl to less than a win. The action is almost always insanely close as they run a control 600cc Honda engine in custom chasis. My favorite motorsport this season by far.

  4. The Scandinavian touring car championship (STCC) has one race left this year and it’s a real nail biter at the top with 3 drivers that can clinch the title

    1. Fredrik Ekblom – Vw Schirocco 194p
    2. Rickard Rydell – Chevy Cruze 192p
    3. Tommy Rustad – Volvo C30 eDrive 168p

    we also have drivers like Colin Turkington, Rickard Göransson, Robert Dahlgren (guest apperance), Gabriele tarquini (guest), and James thompson did 2/3ds of the season for Volvo =)

    Finale is at Mantorp Park next weekend

  5. don’t forget moto gp. that’s good racing too.

      1. yes it is :P

  6. I started out this year trying to watch the entire Indy Car season, but once I moved, I no longer had cable and have been missing races :C. I really ought to make an effort to catch their live website feed for these last ones.

    1. I really ought to make an effort to catch their live website feed

      I think you’re in for a disappointment – I’m pretty sure they don’t offer it any more.

      1. D:

        That could be the dumbest move they’ve made of recent

        1. Th Indycar site still has live timing and scoring, with audio feed from race control, but no video. And you are right, for a series that is struggling to rebuild it’s fan base this move really makes no sense.

          1. If you want income from TV broadcasters you can’t give footage away for free online. I’m not surprised they did it.

          2. Yes, but Indy Car is currently suffering from what I think is one of your worries about F1 splitting the season up to be on Sky. It’s difficult to follow unless you’ve got a high end cable package. It’s kind of a chicken-and-the-egg problem in this case because they need the money from the broadcasters, but the also need to keep building their fanbase.

  7. Will Power win, or will Franchitti? =)

  8. For me MotoGP has been pretty good this year. As an Australian, it’s great to see Stoner back at the top, and due to the reduced field, it’s more essential than ever to get good results in every race, and not crash out.

    The Bradl – Marquez situation is interesting too, reminds me of Vettel’s come from behind championship last year. Amazing how much more interesting a title race can be if the best driver/rider/car/bike combination has a poor start to a season.

    That bring me neatly to V8 Supercars, which has been dominated by the Vodafone Team in recent years (apart from last year) but former champ Craig Lowndes is looking strong at the moment and could overhaul his team-mate, and also former champ Jamie Whincup, only about 100 points behind (150 points for a win, the weekends are double headers)

    Sadly we don’t really get a lot of DTM, BTCC or the lower open wheeler categories here.

  9. I’ve been following V8 Supercars for two years, and I think this year will be another tight championship fight. Although I don’t know how much TeamVodafone will let their drivers race (most likely quite a lot). Lowndes might win one or both of the next endurance races, so that will close the gap to Whincup.

    WRC was turning out to be Seb-Seb battle, but after the last round it looks like Hirvonen is the main challenger again. But as there are two tarmac rallies and just one gravel event left, I wouldn’t bet against Mr. Loeb.

  10. Definitely the WRC. Hirvonen snatched a win in Australia which throws a bit of a spanner in the works for Citroen. I’ll try catch F2 and DTM but I think that’s about it.

    1. Hirvonen snatched a win in Australia which throws a bit of a spanner in the works for Citroen.

      It didn’t quite go to plan – Loeb was in 10th and was winning the power stage, so he was good for four points. Ford sent Jari-Matti Latvala out with instructions to win the stage and limit Loeb’s points haul, but he wasn’t quick enough and Latvala pushed Hirvonen out of the points position.

  11. Nascar’s points system is stupid.

    1. TheScuderia (@)
      16th September 2011, 2:45


  12. In don’t or won’t be able to watch them all but I guess Moto GP too will have a close finish this year.

    1. Moto 2 too – Rookie Marc Marquez is on stellar form and has more or less outpaced championship leader Stefan Bradl. Though having crashed multiple times in the early season races, the relatively inexperienced and 17-year old Spaniard has trimmed Bradl’s lead to just 25 points with 6 races remaining!

  13. This IndyCar article on surprised me:

    The times are still some way off the 1m35s pole mark for the recent Formula Nippon event at the track.

    If Formula Nippon is similar to GP2 (?), does that imply that IndyCars are only as fast as GP2 cars?

    On a final note (if you look at the times table in the article): Come on girls!

    1. While they have an engine not far off a F1 engine in power output, they are far heavier (about double the weight) and have less downforce, as the current chassis was originally develloped for oval racing only and has just been tweaked to do road tracks.

      And it is only the training so far, just remember how much the F1 cars improve their times from friday to qualifying.

  14. The v8supercars are an amazing series to watch the 500 Kilometere endurance race is on this weekend at philipisland and The Bathurst 1000 is on in about 3 weeks time. Some good footage of some of the typical racing here of tge finish of the 500 kilometer race a few years back (at a different track though): Na dbathurst a few years ago amzing to watch:

  15. I don’t understand what the excitement is in bringing Dan Wheldon to start from the back at the Las Vegas mega prize IndyCar race. Positions do not seriously matter in an oval race and Wheldon is somewhat of an oval master winning the Indy 500 twice. Why would he find it so difficult to achieve? The plan was to bring in a non-IndyCar regular (probably a well known driver from another series or even from a different dimension of motorsport). How does Wheldon fit the bill?

    At the beginning of the year I was happy with IndyCar’s concern for the fans and the things they were doing. But now they’re beginning to disappoint again. First they say that there won’t be multiple bodywork styles for 2012 in striking contrast to what they announced earlier, and now they disappoint in their failure to bring in drivers from other series for the much hyped Las Vegas mega rewards race.

  16. Ever tried v8 supercars, comes down to the last round pretty much every year, has decent length races including the Bathurst 1000 and a 500km race every year

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