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The 2010 Formula One season dawned with anticipation. Many changes were in place around the sport and it appeared parity would be nearing an all-time high.
- A new, World Championship points system was utilized rewarding each race’s top ten finishers.
- Bridgestone was beginning their final year as tire supplier for the tour. The tire future was a question mark.
- Brawn GP, which manhandled the 2009 competition with a dominant title run by Jenson Button, was no longer in existence. The team was sold to Mercedes-Benz and then renamed Mercedes GP. Button moved over to McLaren and the crown-winning, former Brawn GP organization was facing a rebuild.
- Seven time F1 champion Michael Schumacher was coming out of retirement and strapping back into a cockpit in search of another title. And he was making his grand return in that new Mercedes GP team.
The point was that this was supposed to be the dawn of a new era, full of close competition and multiple teams battling for the World Championship.
Wide open, endless competitive possibilities…
Ready for a new time in Formula One filled with tight racing and mixed podiums…
Fast-forward nearly two years and Sebastian Vettel has shattered all that optimism.
Right now the suspense revolves around how many races Vettel can win, laps he can lead, and podiums finishes he can rack up.
The Red Bull team that Vettel drives for also approaches the World Title different than most of its competitors. There is no driver hierarchy.
Team Manager Christian Horner oversees the equal preparation of two machines and lets Vettel and teammate Mark Webber settle supremacy on their own. There is no A or B driver like most organizations. Each chauffeur can stay on the attack during races and let the best man win.
Ironically, Vettel’s current performance is reminiscent of one of the most dominant drivers in F1, Michael Schumacher. And Schumacher had a very blatant Ferrari wingman that covered his back at every corner in Rubens Barrichello.
Barrichello has followed Schumacher during some winning drives and even pulled over so the multi-time champ could secure another victory and championship points.
Vettel is getting the best of teammate Webber, and the rest of the field for that matter, by outperforming them on his own.
Vettel is doing what drivers and teams in every form of motorsports try to do, ruin the competitive aspect. They don’t want excitement anywhere near them. Drivers strive for big leads, dominating performances, and speeds that are head and shoulders above the others. Vettel is succeeding in every aspect.
There comes a point when fans cross over from their “Not him again” attitudes, to “Let’s see what else he can do” attitudes and start to marvel at the accomplishments.
Vettel in the Red Bull is looking remarkably like Schumacher in the Ferrari. I am ready to see what else Vettel can do.