Vettel hat trick looms in racing series

Monday, 12 March 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Having six world champions on the grid for the opening Grand Prix of the season represents an unprecedented display of talent for Formula One, yet few would count on anything other than Sebastian Vettel winning another title this season.

Kimi Raikkonen’s return from a year away in rally racing has added another world champion to the F1 ranks, with the Finn joining Vettel, Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

He will be driving for Lotus this season -- that is, the team formerly known as Renault, not the team that used to be called Lotus, which is now Caterham.

Raikkonen’s return will certainly add interest, yet F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone is worried it may quickly ebb if Vettel dominates the way he did last season.

It was not just that Vettel clinched last year’s title with four races to spare, it was the manner in which he did it -- regularly taking the pole position, turning it into a good lead in the first few laps then simply maintaining that margin to the checkered flag.

“We don’t want what happened last year, which was not too good,” Ecclestone said. “We perhaps need a change. The only person that would say no to that would be Sebastian, but everybody else would agree with it.”

In F1, a driver can only be as good as the car he sits in, and Vettel’s chances of a third straight title hinge largely on how Red Bull and its genius designer Adrian Newey have managed to adapt the car to the latest slew of new regulations. (