Bernie Ecclestone has admitted he is happy the 2012 world championship will be decided only at this weekend’s twentieth and last race of the season in Brazil.
As Christian Horner was speaking to the media in Austin, where Sebastian Vettel failed to wrap up the title despite being mathematically able, the F1 chief executive walked past and said jokingly to the Red Bull boss: “Thank you very much.
“Very kind,” he smiled. “Very well planned.”
Horner told journalists: “As you can see, everything pre-arranged.”
Actually, Ecclestone is a close friend of German Vettel, and he told the SID news agency that he will deserve his third title.
As for a one-race championship showdown, however: “That’s what every fan wishes for. And me too,” said the 82-year-old Briton.
But asked who he would bet on at Interlagos, Ecclestone answered: “I think Sebastian.”
As for how much money the billionaire would wager, he said: “As much as you want.”
When asked who deserves the title the most, Ecclestone answered: “The one who has more points at the end, so maybe Sebastian is a bit more deserving because of what he has done.
“But most of the time Fernando (Alonso) has not had the best car, so I think he deserves it too.”
Even the Ferrari-slanted Italian press agrees with Ecclestone that Vettel is the overwhelming favourite.
“The championship is still open,” noted La Gazzetta dello Sport, “but, better said, it is not closed completely.”
The sports daily said Vettel and Red Bull are beatable, “but at the moment not by Alonso or Ferrari.”
F1 legend Niki Lauda told RTL television that Vettel’s 13-point advantage over Spaniard Alonso is “a lot for one race”.
Another former driver Marc Surer told Sky television: “We can assume that Vettel will drive it home in Brazil. His car failing is the only danger.”
Alonso is pinning his hopes on the latter eventuality.
“They (Red Bull) have often had problems with their cooling or their brakes or their KERS or their alternator,” said the Ferrari driver.
“It always happens to that car (Mark Webber’s), so maybe in Brazil it changes cars.”
See current championship standings on our 2012 F1 drivers championship schedule.