Y Now the calculation is made. 'It's the easiest for me,' said Fernando Alonso, recapitulating his third place behind Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. 'If I finish second, I'll be world champion. No matter what.' At Red Bull, those responsible for the team have to rack their brains after the hangover of the constructors' World Cup party. Vettel can only become world champion if Alonso crosses the finish line in Abu Dhabi in fifth or worse.
For Webber, it is only enough for Alonso from third place. Then he must either win the season finale on his own or hope for Vettel's help. Lewis Hamilton would need an earthquake or a downpour in the Arabian desert, 24 points behind. Both are extremely rare there.
Red Bull has to speak power
Webber's best ally is Alonso. It can hardly be assumed that the Ferrari driver will be classified worse than fourth in a normal race. That would mean Vettel from the title race. And that would force Red Bull to speak a power word from the command post, should Vettel be in front of Webber. The Australian looked relieved after the Brazilian GP. He now has the better cards in his hand. Up until the penultimate race, Red Bull was able to pull through its fair play scam, but when it comes to the nitty-gritty in the finale, a change of place is obvious in this scenario.
Webber is already predicting: 'The World Cup will be decided in the last lap. ' Anyone who reads between the lines knows what that means. In an emergency, the World Cup second expects Vettel to move aside. He is hesitant, of course also to lull his teammates into uncertainty. 'I went to school', Vettel replies to the obligatory question about a stable direction. 'When the time comes, I'll make a decision. What exactly that means, you have to fidget to Abu Dhabi.'
Help for Webber would bring Vettel sympathy
Vettel also knows that it would not be a glorious image for his image if he thwarted a driver's title for his team. Chief designer Adrian Newey leaves no doubt what to expect when the decisive radio message arrives. 'Then the corresponding driver should follow the advice.'
Vettel knows that the Schützenhilfe for Webber will bring him a sympathy bonus if he himself has no chance. Which is all the more important because everyone knows that Webber and Vettel have been since the collision at the Turkish GPare no longer best friends. In the end, with Vettel's help, it will always look a bit like a given title to Webber. The German's second half of the season was too strong for that.
Red Bull begins to count
If Vettel should lead the last Grand Prix of the year, then he will do so until the penultimate lap to do. Because there could still be a constellation that would make him world champion, or where Webber would have to write off the title anyway. For example, when Lewis Hamilton comes in second between the two Red Bull drivers. Webber would not be able to overtake Alonso with third place, provided that he would rank fourth.
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko did not want to think about the stables management in the festive mood for the constructors' world championship title : 'Today we celebrate, tomorrow we calculate.' Compatriot Niki Lauda sneered: 'Long live the sport. How long do you want to hold out?' Marko says, drunk with victory: 'We'll think of something by next week.'
Alonso wants the title on his own
Alonso sees his chances still intact. The Spaniard believes that he can also take second place on his own. 'The Red Bulls will be strong in Abu Dhabi. Maybe stronger than in Brazil. But I see two opportunities to ride between the two. A great lap in qualifying or a great start.' In other words: once I have passed one of the two, I stay there.
In terms of top speed, the Ferrari can definitely compete with Red Bull. Alonso knows his way around tight title decisions: 'Red Bull has to do a lot of math. If I'm fifth, Vettel can become world champion. If I'm third or fourth, only Webber has a chance. I, on the other hand, have a clear plan.'