Sebastian Vettel may have the motoring talent of a man verging on the superhuman level, but rival driver Fernando Alonso says the German is completely legitimate.
There have been unsubstantiated rumours bubbling in Formula One that Vettel may be utilising driver aids to get a jump on his competition. The speculation started after he beat the Singapore Grand Prix field by more than two seconds a lap.
However, Alonso has been reported defending the reigning champion, per BBC Sport’s Andrew Benson, saying:
They are using something different compared to the other teams but something that is completely OK. They pass all the checks every race so it's up to us to do a better job.
Alonso takes the challenge as one would like to think an athlete of his calibre would. A two-time world champion himself, the Spaniard merely sees another obstacle ahead that needs to be dodged, outpaced and eventually overcome.
The car in question is Vettel’s Red Bull RB9, which former Formula One team owner Giancarlo Minardi has claimed, via the official Minardi website, made some intriguing sounds, as well as other suspicious sights:
There are some aspects (1- Vettel’s very neat way of driving; 2- Vettel’s speedup 50 m before the other drivers; 3- the abnormal sound of the RB1’s Renault engine; 4- Vettel’s more than 2 sec. advantage over the rivals ) that make me think and I would like to have some answers.
All those doubts are even more serious if we consider that Webber wasn’t able to do that, since he’s a common human being….I don’t want to blame anyone , I just would like to get into the deep of the matter.
The “abnormal sound” that Minardi refers to is the sound made by the traction control system—banned since 2009—that helps rear tyres avoid spinning.
Lewis Hamilton moved to encourage such speculation by adding that Vettel, per Benson, “is on the power full throttle at least 20 metres before anyone else.” The Briton goes on to note that “the last time I was able to put the pedal down that quick was back in 2007 or 2008, when we had traction control.”
While Minardi may feel that he’s being duped, Alonso seems perfectly content to continue doing battle with his Red Bull counterpart the way things are.
As things stand in the Drivers’ Championship, the Spaniard is a near-insurmountable 60 points behind the German with just six races left in the world calendar.
Ferrari’s premier driver went on to say, per Benson, that “this different engine noise has been there all year in the Red Bull,” and who would know better than the man who’s been among those closest to Vettel’s tail for the last six months?