Christian Horner says Red Bull won't turn thoughts towards clinching Drivers' title
While Vettel says he's isn't focusing on what Fernando Alonso does
By James Galloway. Last Updated: November 18, 2012 10:12am
Christian Horner insists that Red Bull will not let Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso's contrasting fortunes in U.S. GP qualifying change the team's approach to the race weekend despite their driver's chances of clinching the title on Sunday apparently substantially increasing.
Most pundits acknowledged prior to the weekend that Red Bull are all-but certain to clinch their third straight constructors' title on Sunday given Ferrari need a 1-2 finish to even have a chance of taking the fight on to Brazil.
However, sealing another drivers' crown with Vettel in Austin has generally been considered a far longer shot given that he needs to outscore Ferrari rival Alonso by 15 points - something he has done only once all season when both drivers have finished the race.
However, the results of qualifying moved that exact scenario firmly into view, with Vettel surging to his sixth pole of the season while Alonso struggled to only eighth on the grid.
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It all meant that should Vettel win Sunday's race then Alonso would have to make up four places from his starting slot to keep the fight alive for next week's season finale.
Red Bull's Team Principal, however, says the Milton Keynes outfit have no intention of getting ahead of themselves.
"We're not really trying to pay too much attention to the championship," Horner told Sky Sports F1. "Our focus is very much on this race and now we've completed qualifying it turns to the race.
"We're trying to treat this race exactly as we've treated 18 and we'll apply the same focus to Sunday."
Vettel himself said he wouldn't be wasting any time focusing on Alonso's progress on Sunday as Red Bull found out to their cost in qualifying at Abu Dhabi two weeks ago how easily their own momentum could be checked out of the blue.
"Not much to feel, obviously we have to look after ourselves," Sebastian replied when news of his rival's mid-grid qualifying result was put to him.
"We had a smooth session, no issues. Friday afternoon was not ideal, we lost a little bit of time, but these things can happen and they might happen again. So you never know and I think the best strategy is just to keep your head down and try to get the best which I think was the target in qualifying.
"I'm very happy with the result but so far nobody has scored any points. I think we have seen last race how quickly things can change and even starting from the back does give you opportunities.
"So we focus on our race and tomorrow we have the chance to seal the Constructors' Championship for the team so that's what Mark [Webber] and I will probably be looking out for."