Text: Alex Yoong / Photos: | posted October 11, 2012 11:28
The Japan and Korea double header was always going to be key to this year's championship. The fact that they are so far from the teams' home bases and difficult to bring updates to, mean that teams are kind of locked into their cars' performance. These also both aero critical circuits which mean if the car does not have good aero efficiency, there is very little the driver can do, no matter how good.
This seems to support Alonso's first mistake of the season. He knew he needed to produce something special to overcome the deficiencies of the Ferrari and went too aggressive in the first corner. This meant contact with Raikkonen and Alonso's second DNF of the year.
Redbull showed that they are firmly in control right now with a dominant performance by Vettel in Japan. The other teams will hope that the advantage will be greatly reduced in Korea. This is because while you need good downforce for three quarters of the track, the first section has two long straights on them which should reward the Mercedes and Ferrari powered cars.
I'm uncertain that will happen though because RedBull seem to have a new double DRS system which works a whole lot better. While still not the quickest, their speeds down the straights in Japan was a lot better than in previous races and for me, they will still be the team to beat.
It's amazing how the pace of development in F1 can happen so fast that a team dominating the previous few races can suddenly look second best as in McLaren's case. They should be better in Korea as it seemed to be more of a setup issue than a car speed problem.
As for Ferrari, it is going to be damage limitation time again and Alonso needs to be patient and pick up the points, and then pray that the updates for the next race after Korea work in making their car more competitive.