The Formula One action arrives in India this weekend, and with only four races of the season remaining, the battle for the drivers’ championship promises a mouthwatering finale.
Defending champ Sebastian Vettel, winner of the last three races in his Red Bull, heads into the India Grand Prix with a slender six-point gap over Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
And the Spaniard, whose title hopes have been scuppered by two first-lap retirements this year, is adamant he can still win the title.
“My situation is quite good,” Alonso, who has finished third twice and retired once in the last three grands prix, explained.
“With four races to go we have nearly the same points as Vettel and have all the possibilities open for the championship. We are in the situation we wanted, fighting for the championship until the end.
“It’s true that in the last few races, Red Bull has been very strong and quick, but we have seen all year that there have been ups and downs for everybody, so we need to improve our situation and our level of competitiveness and try to catch them.
“As for my motivation, it is better than ever and not just me, the whole team is very motivated, everyone in the team wants this championship.
“We have struggled all year with our car, especially in the first part of the season and now with four races to go, we are going on full attack for the last month with everyone in the team so focussed.”
Ironically, Vettel faces a two-pronged assault on his title hopes after his Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, 63 points behind, was told he was free to race the German.
“We won’t be imposing team orders,” team boss Christian Horner said. “Not yet, anyway. “Sebastian has moved into the lead of the title chase and Mark still has a chance of winning this championship.
“I think it would be wrong to impose team orders, while Mark still mathematically has a chance of winning.
“They demonstrated in Korea that they race each other fairly, and that is all we ask of them.”
One point ahead of Webber, Lewis Hamilton has already essentially ruled out any hopes of lifting the title. But his McLaren team has promised to give him all the tools he requires to push for race victories.
“We’re going to push to the end,” sporting director Sam Michael stated. “Our target at McLaren is to win every race, and we’ll do our best to achieve that.
“Red Bull took quite a big step across Singapore and Suzuka, so they will be tough competitors, but our target is still to beat them.
“The gaps are very small now, so it only takes one or two tenths to swing from one way to another, and that can be driven off one team’s development working, or another team not bringing enough.
“We do believe we can take the challenge to them; we are turning up trying to finish first and second in the last four races.”
Photographs: Copyright of Getty Images & Ferrari F1