The stage is set at the Buddh International Circuit for Vettel to probably wrap-up the 2013 championship.
If Japan’s Suzuka, scene of Sebastian Vettel’s strategically astute ninth win of the season last time out, is regarded as one of the greatest of Formula One’s ‘classic’ circuits, this weekend sees the championship move to a track that has been widely praised as one the finest recent additions to the calendar – India’s Buddh International Circuit.
The location for round 16 of the 2013 F1 World Championship features good changes of elevation, two long, fast straights and a technically challenging middle sector that features the tricky multiple apex Turn 10. The circuit has quickly proved popular with the sport’s drivers, who appreciate it having the second highest average speed of the year after Monza, but also the skill required to hook up a good lap around its 5.125km length.
Getting that perfect lap requires a car that treads a very fine line in balancing the speed needed to get the best from the long straights and good aerodynamic grip and balance for the middle sector.
Vettel’s victory in Japan, his fifth win in a row this year, has given him a 90-point advantage over Fernando Alonso in the Drivers’ Championship and with the Ferrari driver all but conceding defeat in the wake of the race at Suzuka, this weekend could see Vettel crowned champion. The Red Bull driver needs fifth place or better here to become just the fourth driver in F1 history to win four titles and only the third to win four in a row – alongside Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher.
Meanwhile, in the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing have 445 points, compared with 297 for nearest rival Ferrari, so the Milton Keynes-based team can this weekend also conceivably wrap up the manufacturers’ title.