(NOTE: This material was already covered in my Driver Consistency post for the Italian Grand Prix, but people have requested that it deserved it’s own post. Apologies for the repetition, however it does make for better reading…)
With the end of the European season and with four races to go, the championship battle is looking very tight :) I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the championship points and see what each of contenders has to do to take the championship.
Let’s start with the Constructors Championship:
Red Bull are exactly 40 points behind Brawn with a maximum 72 left to score (4×18). Ferrari are mathematically still capable of catching, but it is very unlikely to happen.
For Red Bull to win the constructors championship, they must score 10 points more (a whole race win) than Brawn. While this is possible, it is also unlikely to happen as both Red Bull drivers are having a bad run of form, with bad qualifying pace, mechanical issues, Vettel using up all of his allocated engines (and therefore taking a 10-place grid penalty next time he needs a new engine) and Brawn running quite strongly at the moment.
Add to this that the Red Bull only does better on cold or fast sweeping tracks, and it looks even more difficult – Singapore is a street circuit (where Red Bull have been weak this year), Japan should suit them, Brazil is usually random and Abu Dhabi will be hot, which suits the Brawns. Also, McLaren and Ferrari have good cars now, so they will be taking even more points away from the two teams trying to win the championship. I would probably say that Brawn have done enough to be the constructor’s champions for 2009.
But what about the Driver’s Championship? Let us have a look:
Button has a fourteen-point lead over Barrichello which means that Barrichello needs to score an average of 3.5 points more than Button to be champion. This is not that much when you consider that Hamilton had a 12 point lead over Alonso and 17 point lead over Raikkonen with two races to go – and he lost the championship to Raikkonen by 1 point. In 2008 Hamilton had a seven point lead over Massa in the last round and only won by one point, so the championship is far from over.
For example, suppose in the next race Barrichello wins and Button does not score – then the lead is only four points. So my point is that we are going to have a championship battle that goes right down to the wire
But are the Red Bulls still capable of catching Button? Well, Vettel is 26 points behind which means he needs to outscore Button by 6.5 points per race to catch him. Considering at some point Vettel will have to change his engine and take a 10-place grid penalty, this is starting to look like a tall order. So Vettel needs to win a race and hope the Brawns do not score to take a big chunk out of their lead, and it needs to happen in the next two races or he is out.
What about Webber? 28 points behind, which means 7 points per race more than Button to win. This is basically only a mathematical chance as this requires the Brawns to hardly score any points and Webber has not been having a good run of form and his car will not suit all the circuits, so he is effectively out.