Mark Webber’s bid to maintain and extend his championship lead as he heads towards a possible maiden Drivers’ Championship title has been given a boost after he elected to change his Renault engine after Friday’s practice sessions.
The long straights at the Korea International Circuit place a premium on engine power, and it is here that Webber has elected to switch to the (unused) eighth and final engine available to him.
While the advantage of a fresh engine may not be apparent during Saturday’s qualifying session, it will place him under less pressure than his rivals, who will be forced to consider the stresses placed upon their powerplants.
Webber could extend his 14-point lead over his nearest rivals, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, this weekend simply by finishing ahead of both during the race. Doing so will place him at a significant advantage in the championship race, which heads to Brazil and Abu Dhabi, which are two circuits known to stress already-tired engines.
Alonso is in the most difficult position relative to his rivals, having switched to his eighth engine before the Italian Grand Prix.
Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali admitted this weekend that any engine-related problem for Alonso would all but finish his championship.
“If we will have any reliability issues then it will be really traumatic as it would be almost impossible then to recover points we need to recover if we want to fight with Red Bull and McLaren as they are extremely strong. We cannot really have any problems, otherwise it is finished,” he told reporters.
[Original image via LAT]