Despite winning the Japanese Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel’s championship celebrations were put on ice last time out in Suzuka.
However, this weekend, it looks practically guaranteed, barring any mechanical gremlins, that the Red Bull driver will wrap up his fourth consecutive World Championship.
The maths speaks for itself. With a 90 point advantage, to win the championship this weekend, Vettel will only need to finish in fifth place. Even if Alonso wins, it wouldn’t be enough for the Spaniard to take the title fight on to Abu Dhabi.
The Ferrari driver has something of an impossible task to even be in contention for victory, however. Since the first Indian Grand Prix in 2011, the venue has belonged to Vettel. He has started from pole position both years, and no other driver has even led a racing lap at the Buddh International Circuit.
Given Vettel has won every race since the enforced summer break; it therefore looks incredibly likely that those who will be gathered around big screens in Vettel’s hometown of Heppenheim will see their man crowned once more.
Off track however, and you will unfortunately hear plenty of talk that has nothing to do with the racing. As it stands, the 2013 Indian Grand Prix looks to be the last. The race has dropped off the 2014 calendar due to political reasons, and organisers aren’t confident that it’ll return in 2015.
Additionally, there is still a question mark as to whether the race will even happen this weekend. As you’ve probably read already, India’s Supreme Court will hear a petition tomorrow which is seeking for the cancellation of this weekend’s Grand Prix.
This is due to an allegation that the organisers have not paid taxes for a previous event. In the unlikely scenario that the race is cancelled, Vettel will be leaving India as champion regardless.
The track may be considered by drivers as one of Hermann Tilke’s better designs, but could anyone come close to challenging Vettel and the Red Bull team this weekend? Romain Grosjean and Lotus came very close to taking a surprise victory in Japan, and the team are confident that the track will suit their car even better than Suzuka did.
Grosjean is a man in form at the moment, and will no doubt enter the weekend full of confidence from his strong performance last time out. But what about Mercedes? The Silver Arrows suffered a torrid race in Japan; with Lewis Hamilton’s race being over before it ever really began.
They have dropped off the pace recently, but if they want any chance of taking second place back off Ferrari, they’ll need to have a much stronger weekend.
That is where the real interest will be found this weekend. Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel may well be celebrating after the chequered flag on Sunday, but the increasingly close battle between Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus will certainly be one to watch.