Everyone has their favorites. That is as true in Formula One as it is in any other sport. When the title is on the line, those emotions can reach a fevered pitch. Sunday;s race in Brazil was no different as Sebastian Vettel claimed his third consecutive driver’s championship for Red Bull Racing. The praise for his accomplishments has been slightly muted with accusations of passing under a yellow flag, causing an incident in turn one and the fact that he is driving a car designed by Adrian Newey. The proclamations of who a “deserving” champion is or isn’t have begun.
The accused infraction of passing under a yellow flag was reviewed and dismissed by the race stewards but like all good controversy, the rumors continue to swirl. The continuing narrative of Vettel’s “average” skill being heightened and perhaps misleading due to a Newey-designed car also continue to be unflattering of a three-time champion. It’s all part of being a Formula One fan and having your favorites. LEwis Hamilton fans were successful in reverse engineering his year to show that McLaren had cost him the rightful title in 2012 after his commanding victory in the United States Grand Prix while Mark Webber apologists accused Red Bull of favoring Vettel for the 2012 season. It’s all part of the emotions running in the red line in a sport where team and driver fans have strong emotional ties that fester like a wound without penicillin.
Admittedly I am a Ferrari fan and would have been pleased to see Fernando Alonso win the title in Brazil because he made a decent car great and managed to keep teh title hunt alive even when others were in far better machinery. Suffice to say, he did not win but that doesn’t stop fans and even team bosses from suggesting that he was the more deserving driver as Ferrari’s Stefano Domenicali said:
“Yes, we are proud of him,” he said. “But we are very disappointed because the one who deserved this championship was really him.
“It is a shame because, after such a long season that we really fight in all conditions, we raced 18 races and not 20 – and being second by three points is not a lot. But that is the way it is.”
Let’s be fair, he’s a little biased as the team boss of Ferrari but I’ve seen a lot of tweets and posts echoing a similar sentiment. Deserving Fernando Alonso may be but that shouldn’t suggest that Sebastian Vettel is less so. Vettel and Red Bull put a serious challenge on for the title late in the season and was only rivaled by McLaren who put an equally impressive charge together but were too far adrift in the points chase. What Vettel and Red Bull have done is nothing short of brilliant. The team have worked so hard and put together the best budget, minds and team they could in order to win. That is nothing unlike McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes and yet Red Bull was able to make the most of their investment.
Suggesting that Vettel’s skills are average, due to a Newey-designed car, and that he is not deserving of his title in 2012 is harsh. Suggesting as much would be to suggest that anyone who has won a race in a Adrian Newey car is not as good as we are led to believe. Adrian Newey can be beat and Ferrari, along with Rory Byrne, were the team to do it. McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes have their own brilliant aerodynamicists and engineers, it is up to them to beat Red Bull and in 2012, that didn’t happen.
While I would have wished for a Ferrari/Alonso championship, I am certainly respectful of what Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel have accomplished. He IS a deserving champion and the suggest otherwise is teetering on simple fan emotions running extremely high at te end of a terrific season. Congratulations to the entire Red Bull team and here’s hoping Ferrari, as well as McLaren and MErcedes, give you a run for your money in 2013.