How Vettel and Red Bull can win titles this weekend

2012 United States Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2012Sebastian Vettel can win the drivers’ championship this weekend but he’ll need a strong result over Fernando Alonso to do it.

And his Red Bull team are virtually guaranteed to win the constructors’ title for the third year in a row at the Circuit of the Americas.

Alonso and Ferrari cannot win the drivers’ or constructors’ titles this weekend – they have to keep the contest alive until the final round to get their chance. Here’s how the two championships can be decided in the United States Grand Prix.

Drivers’ championship

If Vettel leaves this weekend 25* points or more in front of Alonso, he will be champion. Here’s how that can happen:

  • If Vettel wins the race and Alonso finishes fifth or lower, Vettel is champion
  • If Vettel finishes second and Alonso finishes ninth or lower, Vettel is champion
  • If Vettel finishes third and Alonso finishes eleventh or lower (i.e., fails to score), Vettel is champion
  • Any other combination of results will mean the championship will be decided in the next race

However the situation can turn around quite easily. If Alonso wins the race, the only way Vettel can go into the final round ahead on points is by finishing second.

*If the pair end the season tied on points, Vettel will be champion as he will have won the most races.

Constructors’ championship

The only way Red Bull can fail to win the constructors’ championship this weekend is if they have a disastrous race.

The only team that can still beat them to the title is Ferrari, and they need to get both drivers on the podium with one of them winning to stay in the hunt.

  • If Ferrari finish one-two, Red Bull must score at least four points to win the title, for which they will need at minimum one car finishing eighth or higher
  • If Ferrari finish one-three, Red Bull must score at least one point to win the title, for which they will need at minimum one car finishing tenth or higher
  • Any other combination of results will make Red Bull the champions

If the two teams end the season tied on points, Red Bull will be champions as they will have won the most races.

Over to you

Which championships do you think will be decided this weekend? And who will win them? Have your say in the comments and cast your vote in this poll on the drivers’ championship:

Who will win the 2012 F1 drivers' title?

  • Sebastian Vettel (66%)
  • Fernando Alonso (34%)

Total Voters: 268

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83 comments on How Vettel and Red Bull can win titles this weekend

  1. Funny things have happened. We have seen 6 sixes in an over in cricket and we have seen Andy Roddick beat Jokovich. But in F1, car is utmost important. My heart says Alonso, but i fear, it would be vettel.

  2. Tomsk (@tomsk) said on 15th November 2012, 12:36

    I can see Vettel being the Austin maestro and running away with the USGP. The Ferrari’s not good enough for Alonso to dominate like that, but I don’t think Seb will beat him by 15 points to take the title. Not under normal circumstances anyway. I believe, and hope, it’ll go to Brazil.

    In the vote for the champion, heart says Alonso but head says Vettel…

    • Mariano (@mariano) said on 15th November 2012, 16:06

      + 1

      • Paulocreed (@paulocreed) said on 15th November 2012, 18:02

        Just as above. Heart says Alonso, head says Vettel. I voted for Vettel because Alonso has a slim chance of winning if RB and Vettel keep the pace they’ve had for the last 5 races.

    • Vettel seems to always be quick to adjust to new surroundings: in the inaugural race in Abu Dhabi he won from the front row (albeit with the help of a Hamilton retirement), in the inaugural race in Korea he would have won from pole had his engine not given up and in India he got his first Grand Chelem. The car has obviously helped but he does just seem to find speed very quickly.

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 16th November 2012, 9:26

        If he cannot adjust to a new circuit or new regs in 4 or 5 laps then he’s not a top driver
        That is very normal for guys like Hamilton Alonso Vettel & for sure Raikonnen
        Herman Tilke himself that this is one of the most difficult circuit to learn on the calendar but there is also guys that adapts very quickly

      • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 18th November 2012, 12:56

        And India 2011, and Suzuka 2009, where I believe he hadn’t raced before…

  3. Zubair (@zubair380) said on 15th November 2012, 12:52

    As much as I’d love to be highly optimistic here, I voted for Vettel.
    COTA seems like a track that the Red Bull will love. If they score well this weekend, it’s just a matter of “finishing the race”* in Brazil to make Vettel a three time world champion.

    *By finishing the race I mean an average-performance in Brazil, nothing special.

  4. Jake (@jleigh) said on 15th November 2012, 12:53

    I suspect Vettels impressive drive with a huge slice of luck cake in Abu Dhabi may have won him the title.

  5. McGregski (@mcgregski) said on 15th November 2012, 12:55

    Austin will be interesting, if Ferrari get their gearing right like they did in Korea then then could be fast this weekend. On the flip side – Red Bull may have learnt a bit from the change of approach for Vettel in Abu Dhabi so could try and more race-pace-based set up for this weekend.

    Hopefully grosjean will think it’s the first US F1 stock car event and take out Vettel to ensure the championship goes to Brazil.

    I want Alonso to get the WDC this year, I don’t like him much, but I like Vettel less :)

    • brny666 said on 15th November 2012, 16:57

      I reckon if Gro takes out any of the top drivers he can kiss goodbye to his F1 hopes, which would be a shame.

  6. ScuderiaVincero (@scuderiavincero) said on 15th November 2012, 12:58

    I certainly hope that isn’t the case in Austin, or indeed this year. I’m still rooting for Alonso, despite the odds.

  7. KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 15th November 2012, 13:01

    Who will win the 2012 F1 drivers’ title?

    Unfortunately, I find it difficult to see Vettel losing this championship now. After everything that’s happened this year, Alonso deserves this championship more than he’s deserved any other.
    Not taking anything away from Vettel, he’s done incredibly well (as demonstrated by the fact he’s leading the championship) but Alonso has deserved this year more than 2005-7 and 2010…

    Heart says Alonso, head says Vettel. The wording of the question meant I had to go for Vettel…
    Hope to be proved wrong though!

  8. I voted for Vettel but if you remember 2007 (and especially 2008) we know it isn’t over till it’s over.

  9. I wish for Alonso to win, but I dont expect him to finish higher than webber, never mind Vettel.

  10. Girts (@girts) said on 15th November 2012, 13:32

    It will be a big surprise if Alonso finishes ahead of Vettel this Sunday. Why?

    1) It won’t rain this weekend
    2) Pirelli’s tyre allocation is conservative
    3) Vettel is usually strong at Tilkedromes (as I understand, CotA is not 100% Tilke’s work though)
    4) It seems that Alonso’s performances have become slightly less impressive in the 2nd half of the season, while Vettel is on a winning streak
    5) There were no signs in Abu Dhabi that Ferrari was reducing the qualifying gap between them and Red Bull

    Lotus, Williams and McLaren seem to be strong as well so I think that Vettel might not win the race but he’ll most likely leave Austin with a bigger points advantage over Alonso. I don’t think that Vettel will clinch the title at Austin but I think that this is what Ferrari might play in their pits on Sunday evening (instead of ‘Fernando’):

    And I almost made it but not quite
    Now you’re flying out of sight

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 15th November 2012, 13:40

      It seems that Alonso’s performances have become slightly less impressive in the 2nd half of the season, while Vettel is on a winning streak

      it is not because that Alonso didn’t won in the 2nd half of the season that means his performance is less impressive he made the best of every situation Monza Singapoor Korea India & Abu Dhabi

      • Girts (@girts) said on 15th November 2012, 14:00

        At Suzuka, Alonso was eliminated in a start crash that was a racing incident but he could have been more careful, considering his position in the championship.

        In Korea, Felipe was faster and had to be held back by the team.

        According to Autosport, “there was a nagging feeling that the Spaniard should have at least split the McLarens in qualifying” in India.

        Alonso didn’t manage to improve his lap time in Q3 at Abu Dhabi, even though the track conditions had improved and almost every other driver beat their previous times. Moreover, he was a bit asleep during the restart after the first safety car on Sunday.

        Alonso has undoubtedly been great over the last races as well. But I think that, while the first half of the season could be rated 10/10, the last few races have been more like 9/10.

        • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 15th November 2012, 14:44

          he could have been more careful

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XITdDRpx4Ss
          I’m not putting the blame to anybody that was a racing incident Alonso defended his position Raikonnen misjudged Alonso’s rear tyre , he was not the one that should have been more careful he was just taking the corner

          Alonso didn’t manage to improve his lap time in Q3 at Abu Dhabi

          Alonso himself said that he repeated the lap 3 times one in Q2 & two in Q3 & the times were identical 1.43.5 & if he did it 100 time he will not improve that’s the F2012 limit

        • stirper said on 15th November 2012, 15:01

          At suzuki it wasn’t fault of anyone…**** happens
          In Korea he had the best result possible…
          In India he had more than the best possible, he should had finished 3rd but he finish 2nd…
          Alonso try 3 time in a row in Abu Dhabi with the same tyres but nothing improvement in time (ferrari had a temperature problem as i hear)… he had beat Massa in all the qualification this year (except monza when he had a mechanical problem).While Webber had beat some time Vettel in quali. Massa had beat Raikkonen in a 3 year of ferrari.

          It sound strange but he (Alonso) to me seems like the perfection of driving. I never thought that i will say this for any driver…I’m not a driver fan i dont like alonso, ham, vet, karthikeyan, schumi or senna. I’m fan of cars and a Ferrari fan. I will always support ferrari drivers no matter who they are…but like Montezemolo said i never had seen something like Alonso before…i start watching f1 from 1996. If someone ask me to design the perfect driver, i will not be able to design something different from Alonso. I hope that in the future i will see something better than him, as i consider that the next generation is always better physically and mentally…

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 15th November 2012, 16:20

            At Suzuka, he moved across Kimi who was there. Not a major error, but an error nonetheless, but he was punished for it, with the DNF.

            At Korea, 3rd may have been the best result possible, but it wasn’t the best performance possible, much like how people like to point out the mistakes that didn’t cost Vettel 3rd at Abu Dhabi, which from 24th was also the best result possible.

      • stirper said on 15th November 2012, 15:04

        “That’s a nice PR line but I’m not convinced. We all know how track evolution works and almost every other driver in Q3 improved their time.”

        Yes but not the Ferrari’s drivers, in plural… maybe it was a ferrari problem

  11. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 15th November 2012, 13:32

    I think the only way Fernando can win this championship is that Vettel doesn’t win this weekend & hope for a rainy weekend in Brazil i can’t see Ferrari improving in qualifying in the remaining 2 races so maybe this time Fernando will need a favor from his old rival Lewis Hamilton

    • @tifoso1989 – if Vettel were to no-score and Alonso win he’d have a 15-point advantage, so unless Ferrai screwed up I doubt he’d need a wet race. Qualifying has seemed to be a particular weak point on the F2012 and Austin looks to suit the Red Bull, with a high downforce first sector and some traction zones as the lap progresses. He’ll need to use his race craft to minimise the points deficit in my opinion.

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 16th November 2012, 9:22

        That’ exactly what Alonso said he need to stay in the battle until interlagos in other way limit the damage Interlagos is not 100% sure that Ferrari will win but a wet race is their only chance to win this championship

  12. Juan Pablo Heidfeld (@juan-pablo-heidfeld-1) said on 15th November 2012, 13:34

    Voted for Fernando out of hope :'(

  13. MW (@) said on 15th November 2012, 13:41

    I went for Alonso, I think if he can put his Ferarri anywhere near Vettel on the grid Alonso’s immense ability and desire to win the championship at this point will play havoc with the redbull’s electrics.
    Ferarri who have been using their wind tunnel to measure this phenomenon will be aware of the issue and their car will be unaffected :)

  14. MahavirShah (@mahavirshah) said on 15th November 2012, 14:09

    It must feel so strange being Alonso right now. By virtue of some good drives early in the season he managed to pull an extremely uncompetitive Ferrari into giving him the WDC lead. Over the second half of the season as Red Bull and Mclaren have made a strong comeback of sorts, he now finds Vettel in the lead. At this point he must be caught between having to believe that he can do this, being 10 points behind and 2 races to go, and at the same time despairing over the fact that the car is not good enough to beat Red Bull on pace. Would he have given up to luck and fate or will he still be able to flog that Ferrari for 2 races more? Realistically, I think Vettel has this one in the bag.

    • mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 15th November 2012, 14:20

      ‘extremely uncompetitive’ is extremely out-of-touch with reality ;-)

    • andae23 (@andae23) said on 15th November 2012, 16:03

      It wasn’t the car that was uncompetitive. It had more to do with the midfield being closer to the quickest car. Therefore a mediocre car appeared to be a poor car. So claiming that the F2012 was ‘extremely uncompetetive’ at the beginning of the season is exaggerated to say the least.

    • His Ferrari at times was more competitive than the Red Bull; after the Spain update it was certainly a vastly improved beast and no longer a “dog” as it is often still cited as.

      • Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 16th November 2012, 0:13

        Lets all calm down here.

        @mahavirshah
        The car was uncompetitive at the start of the season, but after Spain, the car became much better and the race pace improved significantly. However, the single lap performance still isnt there, and if Gary Anderson claims to have figured out why, I wonder why Ferrari havent!

        Ferrari need improve their wind tunnel, and I believe this is happening now. Hopefully in years to come, they will have a car capable of good single lap pace.

        Although Fernando wont win the title this year, I think he deserves driver of the year for sure. He has been on it from the go, making very few mistakes and has been calm and collected throughout. Gotta feel for the guy though, since 08, he hasnt had a car with clear outright pace. Ok, the 2010 car was fast, but then again, he only managed to take the title to the final race thanks to all the fumbling at Red Bull.

        I wonder if Adrian Newey has a secret fantasy of working at Ferrari someday..hehe..I mean at least he could than claim to have worked for all the greatest Grand Prix teams in history…looks like none of the other boffins up and down the pit lane (sadly including Ross Brawn) are able to crack the formula as well.

  15. So in essence – unless there’s some sort of divine intervention Red Bull will win the constructors title this weekend and most like the drivers will (mathematically) be determined in Brazil but Vettel is well and truly in the driving seat

  16. I think Red Bull will be stronger this weekend because the characteristics of the circuit appear to suit their car better. However Alonso, as has been pointed out in this forum, is a Bull Fighter and will not give up easily so I bet he will follow Vettel closely. Ferrari (as a team) I think will approach this circuit cautiously due to the fact that the car’s behavior will be unknown and they will prefer to score enough points to take the championship battle to Brazil than risk an aggressive strategy that may or may not work. They definitely have a score to settle in Brazil after Massa losing the championship there in 2008 like he did. Also Brazil is well known to them and the shorter laps should cause trouble for all drivers when lapping, so chances of accidents happening will definitely be high. They will be aggressive there.

    Unless of course they manage to show up with such upgrades in Austin that will put all others to shame and cruise to first place from pole! McLaren did it, Red Bull did it, even Mercedes, so maybe it is Ferrari’s turn to lead the development race for a change?! One can only hope. As the saying goes, It ain’t over till the fat lady sings!

  17. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 15th November 2012, 14:28

    I think only mistakes from Vettel or Red Bull can keep them from extending their lead towards the very comfortable this weekend. In normal circumstances, Vettel won’t qualify lower than P3, whereas Alonso struggles to do better than P5.

    It would be good for Alonso if Hamilton can take the pole instead of Vettel, but it remains to be seen how competitive McLaren will be. They had a very good car in Abu Dhabi, but that was basically the same car they had in India and Korea, where it was pretty uncompetitive, and COTA probably resembles those two tracks more than Yas Marina (although at least they won’t have to struggle with the soft tyres here). At least McLaren have had the young driver’s test to develop their car, but so have Red Bull – but not Ferrari.

    Ferrari’s rain dance for Brazil had better be effective, because last year the Red Bulls obliterated the field there in the dry.

    • MW (@) said on 15th November 2012, 15:38

      Every time I see COTA I think of “Comment Of The Attosecond”.. Not the most prestigous of accolades given that an attosecond is 10e-18 s :)

  18. Like I’ve been saying in the past three or four months, I think Vettel will win the title. Now is too late for Alonso to recover the ten points’ deficit, he should have been leading the championship now, not before, unfortunately.
    In fact, the idea that Alonso might fail to win the drivers’ title by a small margin again this year, and perhaps once again in the near future, causing tension between him and Ferrari and causing the two to split, ending what could have been the second-best era for Ferrari and the best for Alonso, and also preventing Alonso from winning any other world crown, has jumped in my mind recently.

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 15th November 2012, 15:37

      causing tension between him and Ferrari and causing the two to split

      Forget about that Fernando will finish his career in Ferrari no matter what happened it’s true that no other driver will do the same that Alonso did & will do to Ferrari but it’s also true that Fernando will not be treated by any other team like Ferrari
      First he’s the highest paid driver in the sport ,remember Chris Dyer& Aldo Costa lost their jobs because Fernando Felipe Massa kept his seat also because Fernando
      Alonso has more power into the team i think than Michael has at his best , Montezemolo said (& he’s not always right but that doesn’t count because he’s the boss) that alonso is the best driver he ever had at Ferrari in term of commitment & work
      All the team including his team mate are pushing for WDC rather than WCC i can’t really imagine any other team doing the same for his driver

  19. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 15th November 2012, 15:09

    The odds are not really against Alonso, given they finally get those parts working they might be able to hook onto the back of those Red Bulls. One good DRS on the straight is all ALO needs to get past VET. The weakness that might wreck such a chance is qualifying. ALO needs to be second or third on the grid! If he doesn’t get it there VET is just gonna cruise to victory. If that is the case then he needs to finish higher then fifth as Keith has pointed out.

    Basically Alonso needs to finish this one on top because i can’t see that Bull failing to finish the race.

  20. Well, we know one thing, at least. Alonso will not win the title on pure performance. He has to hope (and he is doing it quite well, I have to admit) that Vettel will have some problems in the next couple of races.

    If not, I can’t see Vettel not winnig the title.

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