Vettel to triumph in India, but Formula 1 has been a failure
The race in Delhi gets the all clear, but it is likely to be the last in India for some time
SEBASTIAN VETTEL is expected to be crowned Formula 1 champion in India this week after the race was given the go-ahead at the 11th hour, when a court case that could have led to its cancellation was delayed until next week.
The event was in danger of being called off because of a legal case revolving around allegations that the promoters had not paid taxes for the 2012 race.
But with the court case now scheduled for next week the teams were able to get down to business in Delhi, and Vettel immediately set about the task of securing his fourth successive drivers' title, by putting in the fastest times in both of Friday's practice sessions.
The German leads Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso by 90 points with four races left in the season, and only needs to finish in the top five to secure the crown. Had the race not happened he would have been champion by default.
The omens are good for the Red Bull driver. The BBC notes that Vettel has led every racing lap of the race since it was first held in 2011.
This year's event could be the in India for some time. There will be no Indian Grand Prix in 2014 and hopes of a return to the calendar in 2015 look "ill-founded", says The Guardian.
"The 2011 race took place in chaotic circumstances and although the event was better organized the attendance was about a third down on the 100,000 who attended the inaugural GP," says the paper. "This Sunday that figure is expected to dip again after F1's failure to grip the imagination of a cricket-obsessed nation."
Others agree that the Indian F1 experiment has not been a success. Tom Cary of the Daily Telegraph writes: "The dispute was typical of a race which has struggled to gain a foothold in India; a race which has been dogged at every turn by disputes over finances and tax."
Kevin Eason of The Times agrees. "Only in India, perhaps, could a legal petition to have this Grand Prix cancelled over allegedly unpaid taxes be adjourned until four days after it is over," he says. "Not that Vettel would care either way. If the race had been called off, he would have been champion for a fourth consecutive time anyway; put the race on and he is simply going to run away with it, barring some form of divine intervention." ·