Friday November 12th, 2010 09:30 Strange Events Close out 2010 Formula 1 Season

That was the story line prior to the Brazilian Grand Prix. According to a local prosecutor, Ferrari driver Felipe Massa could have been charged with fraud and imprisoned for up to six years if he had helped co-driver Fernando Alonso win the Formula One title.

At the time, Alonso could have won the title if he had won Sunday’s race. As it turns out, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber finished first and second.

The strange yet dangerous story line continues. Saturday night, McLaren driver Jenson Button escaped a possible armed robbery as he, his father John and manager Richard Goddard were leaving the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo. No one was hurt.

Apparently the armored vehicles provided to Button and co-driver Lewis Hamilton helped as Button’s driver was able to escape the armed bandits by forcing their vehicle through traffic. The drivers were police officers trained in avoidance techniques.

According to Button, the attack came as they traveled through a shanty town. Six individuals approached the vehicle, brandishing machine guns. Button said his driver “bounced off about five cars” before making their escape.

These two yet strange events seem somehow appropriate as we approach the culmination of the Formula 1 season this weekend in Abu Dhabi. Massa is not in contention to win the drivers championship yet his Ferrari co-driver is, leading in points out of a group of four other drivers. Button, last season’s champion, is not in contention but his co-driver has a chance, albeit a slim one.

So this weekend’s race will decide the drivers championship. The manufacturers championship has already been awarded, with Red Bull taking the honors.

So to quickly summarize who the contenders are (in case I lost you back there), the drivers with enough points to win the championship are: Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, Red Bull’s Mark Webber, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and McClaren’s Lewis Hamilton. All are worthy of the title, with both Alonso and Hamilton being past champs.

Hamilton has the least chance of winning. He would not only have to win this weekends race but the other three would have to finish out of the points. Highly unlikely.

Alonso has an excellent chance although his Ferrari’s performance has not been to the level of the Red Bull Renaults. If Alonso wins, he’s the champion. If Webber wins, Alonso must finish second. If Vettel wins, Alonso must take fifth or better.

Webber must finish fifth or better to stand any chance of winning his first championship. If he wins, Alonso can’t place better than third or it will nix his chances.

Vettel can’t finish any worse than second. If he wins Sunday’s race, Alonso must finish fifth, or worse, for Vettel to win his first title.

The end of the 2010 Formula 1 season is proving to be a good one. When was the last time the best four drivers in the series were in contention for the championship? Maybe never but this weekends race will add a drivers name to the list of greats that include Fangio, Stewart, Andretti and Villeneuve. It should prove exciting.

Guest post by Andy Mrozinski,

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