x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Red Bull take no chances with third straight title on horizon

Defending champions lead Ferrari by 91 points in Formula One constructors' championship race ahead of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Christian Horner, right, has been instrumental in Red Bull Racing's rapid success in Formula One. Greg Baker / AFP
Christian Horner, right, has been instrumental in Red Bull Racing's rapid success in Formula One. Greg Baker / AFP

While most of the attention at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend will be trained on the duel between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, Red Bull Racing can cement their status as one of the greats in Formula One history by winning a third successive constructors' championship.

The feat of winning three in a row has been achieved only four times previously since the series began in 1950 and would highlight the amazing rise of the Austrian marque, who are based in Milton Keynes, England, and only began competing in F1 back in 2005, with the first of their 34 race wins only coming in April 2009.

They lead Ferrari, their nearest challenger, by 91 points ahead of Sunday's race at Yas Marina Circuit, with McLaren-Mercedes, who are a further 10 points adrift in third place, also having a mathematical possibility of stopping Red Bull taking the title.

There are two rounds of the season left after Abu Dhabi with a maximum of 86 points to be won at the United States and Brazil races.

If Ferrari do not gain at least six points on Red Bull on Sunday then they cannot win the title, and it is a harder task for McLaren, who have not had a podium finish in the last three races, as they must score at least 15 points more than the table toppers to remain in the hunt.

Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, is not taking anything for granted, despite Vettel having won the last four races, as he looks to guide the team to their third successive drivers' title as well, with Vettel leading Alonso by 13 points.

The Briton said he was not worrying about the various scenarios required to win the championship, and said his and the team's main focus is on ensuring they can give their drivers, Vettel and Mark Webber, the most competitive package possible for Yas Marina.

"I think it is down to what you do on the track," he said.

"We can all prophesy but it is a question of our focus now being on Abu Dhabi to extract the most out of the car, the drivers, the strategy, and the reliability that we can."

As to the secret of their success, Horner added: "There hasn't been any silver bullet, it's been a pure case of working hard to understand these tyres and the regulation changes and the team's done a super job in achieving that."

Red Bull are anxious to avoid the mechanical problems that saw Webber miss out on second place in Sunday's race in India, as a misfiring kinetic energy recovery system (Kers) saw him overtaken by Alonso late in the race as he had to settle for third, and Horner said they could afford no mistakes.

"It is going to be a question of having three perfect weekends," he said with regard to Vettel's title chances.

The last team to win three constructors' titles in a row were Ferrari, who won a record six consecutive championships between 1999 and 2004.

gcaygill@thenational.ae

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