Sebastian Vettel led pretty much from lights to flag at the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend to demonstrate a very unexpected Red Bull domination, crossing the line with seventeen seconds on his nearest rival. Now into the second half of the season, it looks nigh on impossible that anyone can stand in Vettel’s way of a fourth consecutive World Championship. In line with such, should teams give up on this year and focus on 2014?
McLaren have already admitted giving up hope for either title this year, switching their efforts to producing the best car for Jenson Button and Sergio Perez next year when the new V6 engines make their debut. It promises to be a huge transition to the cars of today and will require a lot of work to ensure the teams are comfortable with, and fully understand their new machines.
Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen are the three men usually opposing Sebastian Vettel while their team-mates linger further down the grid which will make it hard for teams to close the 72-point gap to defending Champions Red Bull who also seem a shoo-in for the Championship for the fourth time running.
You can make the argument that at the British Grand Prix in 2010, Fernando Alonso was 47 points down on Championship leader Lewis Hamilton. He finished the season four points behind eventual Champion Vettel, and probably would have won it had he not been held up by Vitaly Petrov while trying to cover title-contender Mark Webber. In 2010 however, Alonso was 47 points down with nine races left. This year, Alonso is 46 points down with eight races left – robbing him of an extra 25 potential points on Vettel.
That’s not to say that teams should just not bother anymore, keep fighting if you wish – there’s always second place up for grabs. However, in my opinion, focusing on next year seems like a better strategy to fighting for this Championship, losing it, and as a result being on the back foot for 2014.