The Formula One season comes one step closer to its conclusion with the Indian Grand Prix, and the final round of the inaugural World Endurance Championship will run in Shanghai this weekend.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel will be looking for his fourth win in a row at the Formula One Indian Grand Prix. The two-time world champion has taken a very slim six-point lead over Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, and has a chance to stretch that lead at a track the German driver likes—and where he has won before.
“I loved the track layout last year, but not just because I won the race,” Vettel told formula1.com. “With an average speed of 235 km/h, the course is the second quickest of the year after Monza. There is a lot of elevation change around the lap which adds to the fun, from as much as 8 percent downhill and up to 10 percent uphill; it’s like a roller coaster! It really has emerged as one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar for the drivers.
Vettel is not overconfident despite his recent success.
“As for the championship, it’s tough but that’s what it is about. I’m looking forward to the next couple of races. We had a good last couple of races but you know, we’ve seen the championship is pretty much up and down, a lot of things can happen. What do we do? I think we have to focus on ourselves; we need to have our best possible results and then we go from there.
“I think at the end of the year if we have enough points there’s a lot of people telling us so we don’t have to do the mathematics ourselves!”
Ferrari has been spending time developing the F2012’s aerodynamics; the last round of updates didn’t help, and the Ferrari engineers think they have figured out why.
“We had some unpleasant surprises from some of the updates we brought to the last couple of races, so immediately, we wanted to fix that and understand where it had gone wrong,” chief designer Nicolas Tombazis told formula1.com.
“Therefore we have had an aero test prior to heading off to India, where we ran control tests on these updates to really understand what the problem was. We got some very interesting answers which we believe will allow us to recover from those problems and so, our aim in this forthcoming Indian GP, will be to make up the ground we have lost.”
McLaren has set its sights on Red Bull, though only a series of miracles could get Lewis Hamilton back to the top.
“Red Bull are within reach and we will never give up trying to turn that around,” said technical director Paddy Lowe. “I think we have seen this year that if you can qualify on the front row and then have even a moderate advantage or no advantage at all, it works for you to stay at the front. So we will have to turn qualifying around.”
The team has a batch of new parts for India to try to get the MP4-27 back to the front of the grid, where it spent five races before Red Bull started performing.
Hamilton, fourth in points, is looking forward to rejoining the battle.
“I feel I’ve been driving better than ever recently, even if the results haven’t quite shown it,” the McLaren driver told Formula1.com. “So I’m headed to India determined for another good result. I think we’ll have a car that’s a match for the circuit and I can’t wait to get out there and start practicing on Friday.”
Kimi Raikkönen of Lotus is 48 points out of the lead; like Hamilton, he will need an amazing string of lucky breaks—and bad breaks for the opposition—to win his second World Drivers’ Championship.
The Formula One Airtel Indian Grand Prix at New Delhi’s Buddh circuit takes the green flag at 3 p.m. local time (5:30 a.m. EDT) on Sunday, Oct. 28. Tickets and travel packages are available through formula1.com. The race will air live on Speed-TV in the U.S.