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. 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!

  2. 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 :)

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Suave (@suave) said on 15th November 2012, 15:43

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

    Mathematically is it not possible for Alonso to win if they are tied on points at the end of the season? If Alonso wins this weekend and in Brazil, and then each of them would have 5 wins. Alonso currently has more second and third places finishes than Vettel, so the crown would go to him.

    • MW (@) said on 15th November 2012, 15:46

      If Alonso won in Texas and Interlagos he would be leading on points regardless of Vettels position.
      I’m sure Keith thought of this :)

    • @suave
      If Alonso wins the next two races he will have more points than Vettel.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th November 2012, 15:52


      Mathematically is it not possible for Alonso to win if they are tied on points at the end of the season?

      No, as the quick-on-the-draw @mw and @yobo01 have already pointed out.

      Vettel has five wins to Alonso’s three, Alonso four second places to Vettel’s two and four thirds places to his two.

      Therefore if they were tied on points the only way Alonso could beat Vettel would be if he won the two final races. Assuming Vettel achieved the best available result after that (two second places), that would put them on five wins each, four second places each, and Alonso ahead on four third to Vettel’s two.

      But those two wins would put Alonso ahead on points anyway, 295 to 291. Therefore in any points tie Vettel is the winner.

  7. The Constructors’ championship chances are but mathematical for Ferrari. If they win the Constructors’ I promise to down twenty pints of beer on the 25th.
    The Drivers’ Championship is looking set, but actually it is on a knife’s edge. Yes the momentum is with Vettel and he’s got a fast car and all, but if there’s anyone who can win the championship from this position, it is Alonso. Yes, maybe the Spaniard is struggling to qualify well, but he generally moves up to the best possible position to take advantage from any mistake or misfortune on Vettel.
    One thing is for sure. If Vettel fails to close out the championship in Austin and if the gap is somewhere around 10 points(as opposed to 20) going into Interlagos, it will be tough.

  8. I expect Vettel to win the championship; not this weekend (unless Alonso crashes out) but certainly I think he will increase his points advantage over Alonso this weekend.

    If Red Bull don’t win the constructors this weekend I will freely admit my support of Ferrari (and I am willing to say that because of my absolute belief that both Red Bull won’t fail to score more than 4 points and that Ferrari are unlikely, given recent form, to finish 1-2/3)!

  9. Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 15th November 2012, 16:06

    Unfortunately, I can’t see Alonso winning the WDC. Red Bull are on a roll, McLaren will be a force this weekend (especially with the DRS zone down the long straight) and if Lotus can sort out their below par qualifying, Alonso will have to perform some serious magic to win this years WDC. Let’s not forget that Maldonado is also capable of pulling a result out the bag (especially during qualifying), and then there’s the Saubers…

    Fact is, Alonso’s chances were well and truly scuppered at Abu Dhabi. In order for him to be WDC, he’ll have to score major points in the two remaining races, and with there being a plethora of drivers that can qualify ahead of him and score more points than him, I can only see Vettel being crowned WDC.

    Also, Vettel will probably qualify on the front row, so will have the advantage of not being caught up in any first corner Grosjean-madcap-mayhem-crash-athon incidents. whereas Alonso will almost certainly be in harms way (judging by Ferrari’s qualifying results this year).

    Either way, this year has been an amazing season and I can’t wait for the Austin GP weekend to kick off. The track does look OUTSTANDING!…At least it does when I play it on F1 2012 :P

    • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 15th November 2012, 16:45

      I misread that as
      ‘McLaren will be a farce’…

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 15th November 2012, 17:19

      Alonso’s chances were well and truly scuppered at Abu Dhabi

      In the week leading up to Abu Dhabi I don’t think anyone was predicting anything but a Vettel victory with Alonso lucky to make it to the podium. In the event the situation was considerably better than expected for Alonso and therefore the Abu Dhabi result is actually the cause of the WDC still being a possibility for Alonso.

  10. Alex Brown (@splittimes) said on 15th November 2012, 16:25

    Really, really, really wanted to be able to vote for Nahrain. Maybe next year, my friend.

  11. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 15th November 2012, 16:29

    Time for some blind optimism and faith that somehow Alonso will get a decent result this weekend and finish just behind or just ahead of Vettel. My gut is telling me the exact opposite will happen.

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 15th November 2012, 17:25

      The Mclarens could play a big part in this. Depending on where they perform (ahead of RBs, between RB and Ferrari or behind Ferrari) will be a big factor in whether Alonso can finish just behind Vettel which is about all he can reasonably hope for. If he can finish behind Vettel he carries forward a chance at the last race. Interlagos is a track where a driver can make a real difference and with the midfield so competitive Vettel will be under huge pressure to make no mistakes and the risk of a mechanical failure is always lurking.

      By no means do I expect Alonso to win the WDC and it won’t be done without a bit of luck (or bad luck for Vettel) but the chances aren’t as slim as suggested by the pure performance difference in the two cars.

      • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 16th November 2012, 0:10

        Good point, and I hope you’re right. Best case is for Button and Hamilton to be highly competitive this weekend and prevent Vettel getting to the front. Like you said, it’s external factors (luck, mechanical failure) that stand the best chance of Alonso winning.

  12. andae23 (@andae23) said on 15th November 2012, 16:36

    I posted this on the forum before:

    For the situations in which Vettel claims the Drivers’ Championship this weekend: the only times that the before mentioned combinations have occured so far this season, were Bahrain (VET 1, ALO 7), Belgium (VET 2, ALO dnf) and Japan (VET 1, ALO dnf). So we have a probability of 83% this championship will be decided at Interlagos.

    For the situations that Red Bull will claim the Constructors’ Championship: Ferrari hasn’t had two drivers on the podium this season so far, so based on that there is a 100% probability that the constructors’ will be decided in Texas.

    So… it’s pretty likely that one championship is decided at COTA, and the other in Brazil.

  13. William Brierty said on 15th November 2012, 16:56

    Its lovely to see such a small difference in the poll, but it is clear that Vettel will win the championship. I think Alonso’s only chance is thrilling, and wet, race at Sao Paulo. But other than that, welcome to 2002! Remember what happened in 2003? Remember what happened in 2004? Lets pray that Alonso can stop, as he did in 2005, the juggernaut of domination.

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 15th November 2012, 17:32

      The juggernaut of domination was stopped by changes to the technical regulations for 2005. Ironic given the arguments of the moment about how Vettel only wins drivers championships because of his car.

      Mention 2005 and the main thing I picture is Ferrari’s desperate attempt to claw back some downforce by giving their front wing a Goatee!

  14. baldgye (@baldgye) said on 15th November 2012, 17:34

    unfortunaltally I don’t see anyway Alonso can win it, he just dsn’t have the car under him… I’d like him to win it as I don’t feel Vettel really is good enough… but that’s F1 for you

  15. I’m unsure why everybody keeps insisting the Ferrari is a bad car… Really if it was that bad they would be languishing in 5th or 6th in the WCC, and not 2nd.

    • Yes. Ferrari isn’t a bad car at any point. It has a reliable engine, has straight line speed etc… As i read somewhere in a forum i understood they themselves expose it as a bad car so that it shows how good the Driver is…. Interesting Ploy.

      • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 16th November 2012, 0:21

        Ferrari isn’t a bad car at any point.

        I’d take issue with that statment. Back over the first few races of the year I think it was quite clear the Ferrari wasn’t a frontrunner.

        Also it should be noted ‘bad’ is relative. Was the F2012 at the start of the year a bad car compared to the McLaren? Yes. To the HRT? No. Ferrari are expected to be frontrunners, so they were struggling in the midfield as they did at the start of the season with 5th, 1st, 9th and 7th. Discounting Malaysia and looking at the overall trend the Ferrari was not up to frontrunner status.
        So, can you say that the F2012 was never a bad car? Yes, if compared to the entire field. But ask was it always a frontrunner? No. And that, for Ferrari, is enough to consider the car ‘bad’, even if by May and the Spanish GP they had improved the car enormously.

    • @craig-o – it is often said to be such also because of the qualifying pace relative to the Red Bull’s, which now are set-up for qualifying. The Ferrari is vastly better in the races as is explained here.

      • @vettel1 Alonso had a poor qualifying in Abu Dhabi, people should not forget, there was more in the F2012. The Red Bulls cannot be set up solely for qualifying, they, like every team have to find the right balance between 1-lap pace and 305km pace. I believe the Ferrari is 3-tenths off the Red Bull in quali trim on a standard Tilkedrome, and perhaps slightly better race pace at this stage of the season, but McLaren still have the fastest car overall.

        • @craig-o – I’m not disagreeing with you, I’m just giving plausible explanations as to why it is slower than the Red Bull’s in qualifying! I personally think it is only behind the Red Bull as of recent form; it is much quicker in a straight line and has better race pace than the McLaren, especially it seems on the soft tyre.

          It has fluctuated between McLaren and Red Bull over the last 5 or so races as to who has the fastest car: I think the McLaren was quickest in Abu Dhabi and Singapore, but the Red Bull was clearly quicker in Japan-India. Ferrari have always been up there with them.

          Red Bull have a qualifying orientated car as can been seen by their vastly slower straight line speed: they have a game plan of qualifying on the front row and then building a gap early on whilst everyone else squabbles for position, then just maintain the gap. I suspect that plan may change slightly though given Vettel’s apparent ease in overtaking in Au Dhabi…

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