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GP Week : Issue 192
With four rounds remaining of the 2013 season, Fernando Alonso must complete the Herculean task of winning every race if he is to be in with a chance of beating sebastian Vettel to the drivers’ title. Making matters more difficult, Vettel himself would need to remain scoreless. Mathematically it might still be possible, but practically the championship was won as early as Singapore, with no one able to mount a serious challenge to the all-conquering Vettel. It would take a remarkable set of circumstances for Alonso to halve the 90 -point gap to Vettel, never mind overcome it. Fourth place at Suzuka on Sunday was the best Alonso could hope for, and that achievement came about thanks to the Spanish racer’s trademark determination in the face of a strong performance from Nico Hulkenberg and a late - race challenge from Kimi Raikkonen. In the process of battling both drivers, Alonso conceded a 35-second margin to the third -placed Romain Grosjean, but accepted he would have been unlikely to be able to mount a serious challenge to the Lotus driver had the gap been smaller. Alonso himself concedes that he has forgotten about challenging for the championship, instead turning his attention to the close fight with Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship – where Ferrari currently holds a ten - point advantage over the Silver Arrows. “Even if Vettel doesn't finish all the races I need to win nearly all of them, so I think it's a matter of time,” a pragmatic Alonso said going into Sunday’s race. “It's true that we have different goals now, like the constructors' championship.” With Vettel and Red Bull’s domination of the sport over the past four years Alonso has had to find his satisfaction elsewhere, and the Spanish racer has found some solace in his efforts away from the title battle, including his recent attempt to buy the Euskaltel Euskadi cycling team. After he and Hamilton looked set to dominate the sport after their respective championships in 2005, 2006 and 2008, plus the nearly-was of the 2007 season for both drivers, Vettel’s continual ascendancy has become a cross they both must bear. Alonso’s move to Ferrari was supposed to herald a repeat of the successes of the Schumacher era for both man and team alike, but he did not count on the Adrian Newey factor; the aerodynamic genius has helped to propel Vettel to a clutch of titles while Alonso has had to settle for the role of perennial runner-up. Drivers Championship: alive but on life-support 36 GPWEEK.com // 36 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> JAPAN