x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

We could have a real title battle

Red Bull's new pace is set tol give us a good championship battle in the second half of the year.

It was a superb display by Sebastian Vettel and he was a more than worthy winner of the British Grand Prix. I think it was after qualifying we saw just how quick he was in his Red Bull as he took pole with more fuel than his rivals, the first time he has done that as when he has done it before he has been lighter. He did have a lot more fuel in the race but he still just trounced everyone.

He just drove away from the field and I think the only one who could get near him on speed was his teammate Mark Webber, but he was held up in the first stint by Rubens Barrichello and was too far back to threaten Sebastian after that. Red Bull were the class act of the field thanks to their new parts and floor, which was new as we've been used to Brawn dominating, and Red Bull's new pace hopefully will give us a good championship battle in the second half of the year.

It was a tough day for Jenson Button and Brawn as they struggled to get the best out of their package due to the low temperatures, which meant the Brawn car was struggling to get heat in their tyres. It is going to be fascinating to see how the championship develops from here. Brawn will be fast in warmer conditions at future races, but the Red Bull does look very quick now and Sebastian's confidence is only going to grow.

The pressure is also going to be interesting. Nothing was expected of Jenson and Brawn at the start of the season, but now after their start to the championship they are the favourites. Ross (Brawn) has been in this position before with Benetton and Ferrari but it is still new for most of the team. Jenson just needs to keep finishing on the podium as long as Sebastian is winning, but he didn't do that at Silverstone and he cannot afford to have many more races like that otherwise his 25-point lead over Vettel, and 23 over Barrichello, will be eaten up quickly.

Obviously a lot of the weekend was dominated by talk in the paddock over the row between the FIA and FOTA. I think the FIA are beginning to show some flexibility on the issues that have caused the problems and the fact they haven't yet published a teams list after Friday shows they are not trying to force the issue. FOTA do still appear willing to listen as well, and I think it was Red Bull's Christian Horner who spoke about waiting until July, which means they haven't completely given up on the talks.

This kind of breakaway happened before in America when their single-seater racing split into Champ Car and the IRL which absolutely killed the sport, and it has struggled to recover from that ever since. I think both sides are still willing to sit down and iron out their differences and I can still see light at the end of the tunnel in the dispute. It would be a great shame if all the history of the Formula One World Championship was lost over this.

Even though Litespeed were not one of the three new teams originally accepted by the FIA for next year, the team are still working on the plans we had and keeping the governing body informed of our plans and developments. It has been mentioned that even though the grid only has room for 26 cars, there may be room for more cars so qualifying can have a knockout part to it, which is something that does interest us.

sports@thenational.ae