I'm not a huge fan of presuming the championship is over, especially after only the 6th race of a potential 20, but the truth is, it's looking for more ominous.
Let's start with the basics:
The RB7, and why it can continue to win
in 2009, we saw the Brawn GP team write a similar story to what is unfolding, it was built on sound strategy, and a very quick car. Button went on to take that championship with a race to spare. But we all know what happened, the other teams caught up. Red Bull started showing it's true pace, and McLaren rejigged it's car to be competitive, as well as win's being taken away by Ferrari.
So that championship came alive, the difference here is that Red Bull have the capacity to continue to build upon a very quick car, as we saw last year. RBR kept their advantage until the last race, where things seemed to even out, fortunately for them, they solved their biggest problem, without losing any speed, and that was race ending reliability. It's a different story this year, with KERS still being on top of their to do list, but it doesn't end their races, in reality, it doesn't even stop them from winning, and as the season progresses, we are going to see that problem solved.
So Red Bull can stay quick, but that doesn't mean that the championship is sewn up, this is Formula 1 after all, the only prediction you can make is that it is going to be unpredictable... or is it?
Canada, and why it's so crucial
we head to Canada next race, which will arguably be the first real chance that McLaren and Ferrari can take a win away from Vettel. The straight line speed has lacked for Red Bull, and Canada is a low-downforce, high speed circuit, if Red Bull don't have KERS, you can safely assume pole and the race win will be an unlikelyhood, but what if they do?
I've said it numerous times, the strength of the Red Bull is that it inspires confidence. In qualifying, with the DRS and KERS, straight line speed for a team like Red Bull becomes much less of a disadvantage, we could very well still see Vettel dominate qualifying like he has done so many times before, and then theres the race, all Vettel needs is for the 2nd and 3rd driver's on the grid to have a scrap, and he's away, and we know what happens once he cruises off into the distance. He tends to stay there, but why is Canada so crucial, well it's because of the next races.
Valencia, Silverstone, Germany, Hungary. 4 races where Red Bull will have, again, a MASSIVE advantage due to it's significantly stronger Aero package. Tracks where the predicting the result is far more straight forward.
Vettel can easily take maximum points from all 4 circuits, and that will be the definining point in the championship. The championship isn't going to be decided at the last few races, it's going to be decided in the next few months. The next 5 races are going to be so unbeliveably crucial to this year's Championship, because it's when Vettel has to be stopped. If he grabs maximum points from these races, he will be well and truely home and hosed. He can then be conservative in places like Spa and Monza, tracks which Red Bull will probably not do so well, maintain the massive lead he built from the races before the mid-year break, and take a very comfortable 2nd championship.
On top of that, further reason the assault needs to be mounted now is because after the skirmish in Singapore, we go back to tracks that again suit Vettel and the Red Bull. Korea, Japan, Brazil and even India, which looks like it's 2nd and 3rd sectors were crafted specifically for the Red Bull.
If any body want's to catch Vettel, it has to be done now, the bulk of the expenditure has to go into workable upgrades that will help Hamilton, Button and Alonso catch him before we get to the break, and Webber has to come to grips with the tyres if he wants any chance.
My point is this, this championship, while it may look like a domination is coming to it's most interesting part, where in fact, although the title isn't being given to a driver, it's being decided.
Stay glued to your tele for the next couple of races, because they will be the best of the year. Driver's will take risks because they now have to, and that's why the next 5 races will decide the victor.
Edited by BennyJohnson, 30 May 2011 - 02:06.