- Karun Chandhok's ESPNF1 column
The Sebastian Vettel/Red Bull freight train has built up some serious momentum over the last four weeks and it's going to take a huge effort from Fernando Alonso and Ferrari to stop them taking a historic third consecutive world championship.
The German came into the weekend as the clear favourite and the only surprise all weekend was that his team-mate ended up on pole. Within the first five seconds of the race the status quo was established and from there on, barring a reliability drama, there was only going to be one result. The car is working beautifully and the team seem to be as on top of the tyre situation as anyone could be this year.
The race in Korea wasn't the most exciting one of the year; much like Mokpo itself, which has nothing really to entertain you apart from golf and baseball simulators. Not that Vettel would be complaining with that - a boring race leading from the front is exactly what someone fighting for a championship dreams of when it comes to the fag end of the season. Red Bull's ability to constantly develop the car and come up with new and innovative ideas within the tightly regulated rules that govern modern F1 has been extraordinary. People could argue that they've bought success with the biggest budget on the grid, but how many times have we seen teams squander a big budget with no real success in the past?
The championship is a clear two-horse race now. Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen are too far back to win in a straight fight so it's up to Fernando to try and stop the seemingly unstoppable. Anything can happen in sport and this year it often has, but it's going to take some very special updates from Maranello to stop the title going to Milton Keynes. Fernando has been driving the wheels off his car, often finishing as best of the rest, but the problem is that isn't going to be enough. Are Ferrari's reported wind tunnel issues to blame? Possibly. If that is the case, could they recover in the next couple months? Unlikely. A wind tunnel calibration and correlation issue could take months to fix. Renault nearly lost the 2006 title and pretty much wrote off 2007 because of the same problem and while it's unclear how big a problem Ferrari have, it certainly won't help in their fight against Red Bull with all their guns firing.
McLaren had an absolute nightmare weekend and the Lotus cars had yet another solid but unspectacular result, which in Romain's case was probably what he needed. Nico Hulkenberg had another sterling race for Force India while the two Toro Rossos carried on the up turn in form they showed in Suzuka with more points. Their new technical head James Key is a good guy that I rate very highly and I wonder if he is already starting to make a difference at Faenza.
The Indian Grand Prix coming up obviously holds special importance for me having been very involved in the event in year one. My race program this year has meant that I am less involved personally and in fact I will be racing in China on the same weekend. Last year's event was a massive success with huge crowds, great media interest, good enthusiasm from sponsors and plenty of praise from the drivers about the circuit.
Any event will draw a crowd in its first year, whether it's a film, concert or a sport and I would expect the numbers to dip a little this year. The strength of the event will be built around what the enthusiasm for Formula One is like over a five-year period, with ups and downs along the way. The race will hold special significance in the world championship battle this year and hopefully everyone visiting will have a great time at the Buddh International Circuit!