Doubles all round for Red Bull
Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel (L) and his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber will try to complete another successful year for the team.
Red Bull can follow up Sebastian Vettel’s second Formula One title with the bonus of sealing another constructors’ crown in South Korea on Sunday.
While Vettel’s championship is the one that makes the bigger headlines, the other has more impact on bank balances for everyone at the British-based team, from factory receptionists to the big bosses.
“If you ask every member of the team which is the more important championship, I think probably up and down the pitlane they will say the constructors’ because that’s what they are measured on, that’s what they are rewarded on as well,” team boss Christian Horner told Reuters.
The defending champions have a 130-point lead over McLaren with four races remaining, which translates into 172 points still available to be won.
A one-two finish is worth 43 points, so Red Bull will celebrate their second successive team title in Yeongam if McLaren do not score more than them.
Filling the top two steps of the podium would be a fitting way to clinch the double double, and would also help Vettel to achieve some of his other ambitions.
“The main target now is to close out the constructors’ championship,” said Horner. “But of course there are a few records that are potentially available, particularly to Sebastian.
“Whilst his main focus is going to be to help the team win the constructors’ obviously, I’m sure he’s got half an eye on maybe matching some of those records.”
Vettel has started 12 of the 15 races on pole, two short of Nigel Mansell’s 1992 record for a season, and won nine times -- meaning he can also equal Michael Schumacher’s record of 13 wins with Ferrari in 2004.
While the constructors’ title looks as much of a foregone conclusion as Vettel’s was before he wrapped it up in Japan last weekend, Red Bull may have to wait however.
The Yeongam circuit, which made its debut last year after racing against the clock to be ready in time, is the last place that Red Bull recorded a double retirement.
Vettel and team mate Mark Webber were dominant in qualifying, sweeping the front row, but it all fell apart in the wet race when the Australian crashed and the German was sidelined by engine failure while leading.
That was the last time Vettel failed to score.
McLaren, well behind Red Bull at the start of the year, have made big advances and Japanese Grand Prix winner Button has now been on the podium for five races in a row.
“Given the current pace of the car and the form the team has at the moment, I’m going into this year’s race feeling much more positive,” said Button, who finished 12th in Korea last year.
“This year our car just feels positive in every type of corner, and I feel comfortable pushing hard, because you can really feel the limit,” added the 2009 champion.
His team mate Lewis Hamilton, off the podium for his last five races, was runner-up in Korea to Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and both will be fighting hard to get back on the podium there.
“I want to go one better in 2011,” said Hamilton, who has been followed all season by controversy and left Suzuka troubled by his lack of pace.
Some reports have suggested that the Korean track was in a poor state when inspected recently but the governing body expects it to be in good shape.
“The circuit was very late (last year), as we know, and lots of problems had to be sorted out between practice sessions,” said race director Charlie Whiting.
“We’re hoping it won’t be like that this year and we’re optimistic that things will have improved considerably.”