Difficult to bet against Sebastian: Karthikeyan
It is very difficult to bet against Sebastian Vettel’s impeding coronation as a four-time world champion in India, and Red Bull look poised to seal the constructors’ title as well, writes Narain Karthikeyan.india Updated: Oct 25, 2013 13:20 IST
Ever since 2011, October has been a very, very special time of the year for me. This year, even though I'll miss all the frenzy, I am very much looking forward to it and will share my views with you over the weekend.
First, let's get the more obvious stuff out of the way. It is very difficult to bet against Sebastian Vettel's impeding coronation as a four-time world champion in India, and Red Bull look poised to seal the constructors' title as well.
Vettel just needs to finish fifth or higher, irrespective of where his rivals end up, to seal the deal.
Having won the last five races on the trot and dominated both the previous editions of the Indian GP, it is also safe to reckon that the German will not be aiming to cruise and collect but would fight to get back on the top spot for the third time in a row.
Another thing which is discernible this year is the comparative lack of buzz. Yes, it is difficult to match the initial events but given that the race is scheduled to skip an event in 2014, I expected a little more furore this time around.
The last hurrah
One thing the hardcore F1 fan is going to miss next year is the wail of V8 engines. Yes the 1.6-litre V6 motors are going to be clean, efficient and more relevant to road car tech. But for a proper racing enthusiast — bigger is always better!
I have been fortunate enough to drive in F1 during the 3.0 litre V10 era in 2005 (which incidentally was the last season before the V8s) and have also experienced a myriad of different machinery including big Yankee pushrod V8s in NASCAR and of course the current 2.4 litre V8 during the last two years.
As a driver, power is never enough and as a spectator nothing matches the high-pitched wail of a large-capacity, high-revving naturally aspirated engine. This will be last chance for the fans to witness the V8s in action, so I say dump the earplugs and enjoy the sweet symphony wherever you are!
The race weekend
The asphalt looks like it could be in better shape given that the track has seen quite a bit of national racing action this year, but it would still be extremely green on Friday morning which means the teams and drivers will complete most of their serious setup work in the afternoon's FP2 session.
The layout of the BIC has drawn universal praise from the drivers and it isn't difficult to see why. After turn 4 - until when the track is quite stop and go - it is a wild, rollercoaster ride and in a car that is set up well, is extremely rewarding to drive.
The double-left hander complex of turns 5 and 6, followed by the fast direction changes, the long parabola, the downhill right that drops away is a sequence of corners as good as anywhere else.
The qualifying session, when the car has fresh rubber on, with the lightest fuel load and maximum power - is the session that drivers look forward to most during the course of the weekend.
The incredible g forces that a Formula 1 car generates through those fast switchbacks and the squishing feeling you get in the cockpit cannot be compared to any supercar that you might have seen or driven!
The writer is India's first F1 driver