No one else has lead even a single lap of the Indian Grand Prix except for Sebastian Vettel. This year, he heads into the third – and perhaps final – Indian Grand Prix, needing just a fifth place finish to secure his fourth successive world title. But, if you don’t enjoy watching sustained excellence and prefer to call such achievements boring predictability, there’s still plenty of unresolved issues to keep your attention.
Lotus have become the closest rivals to Red Bull’s pace since the introduction in Monza of the long wheelbase E21. This, along with Romain Grosjean’s recent profound upturn in form has led to them being in the big battle for second in the constructors’ championship with Ferrari and Mercedes.
If Kimi Raikkonen can finally get to grips with his tyre issues in qualifying, as he claimed he progressed with at Suzuka, then Lotus could score heavily this weekend. The financial benefits of claiming the second spot in the constructors’ championship would be a huge and timely boost for a team which is running on much smaller resources than its manufacturer backed rivals.
Second in the championship is currently held by Ferrari, but with no podium finishes in the past two races the 10 points they have over Mercedes, and 34 over Lotus is seriously under threat.
As was the case in the past two seasons, Ferrari have struggled with developments to their car as the season has progressed. Their wind tunnel still seems to be suffering from correlation problems and their technical department is in transition from Pat Fry to James Allison’s leadership.
Just with Ferrari, Mercedes have also fallen away from Red Bull’s pace in the second half of the season and are without a podium in four races.
With all the teams now mainly focused on their 2014 cars and bringing only very minor developments, there’s no reason to believe the competitive order will change much for the remainder of the season.
Whatever happens this weekend, whether Formula One will be returning to Delhi is not known. Next year’s event has ostensibly been cancelled due to calendar issues with a return promised for 2015. However, organisers are believed to need government backing if they are to be able to afford to host the event in the future – something the government isn’t very keen on.
Whether or not you like the Buddh circuit isn’t the main point here. If Formula One is to lose its roots in a market of over one billion people after only three races, then that is a profound blow to the sport’s future global audience.