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Horner braced for tense finish

EVENT COUNTDOWN

ALBERT PARK

12-15 MARCH 2015

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is preparing for frayed nerves as he fears this season's battle for the Formula One world title will boil down to the last lap.

Earlier this season Horner suggested the fight would go to the final race, and has obviously been proven right as the showdown takes place in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

A degree of tension has eased given Red Bull won the constructors' championship last Sunday, remarkably doing so in six short years after the team was built from the wreckage of Jaguar's failure.

The focus, however, is now firmly on the drivers, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, who find themselves eight and 15 points adrift of championship leader Fernando Alonso.

The permutations as to what might unfold are many, which is why no-one can call just what will transpire at the Yas Marina circuit for what is undeniably one of the most exciting conclusions to a season in F1 history.

Attempting to manage those tensions that are likely to build within the team as a whole, and on both sides of the garage in particular, is not an easy task.

Taking the situation in his stride, Horner said: "My role, not just with the drivers, but also the engineers, the guys in the garage, throughout the team, is to stay incredibly focused."

"We had an unbelievable weekend last weekend in Brazil. Winning the constructors' was a huge thing for the whole team."

"It's quite nice to have got that out of the way so there is not the distraction of thinking about that."

"Now there is pure focus on giving the drivers the best possible support we can going into Sunday's race."

"Obviously it's a different situation for us, compared to Ferrari and McLaren, because we've two guys competing against each other for the biggest prize in motor sport."

"To be honest, I've not seen any difference in them so far. They are focused on the job in hand, they both know to beat Fernando (to the title) they have to finish, and to finish ahead of him."

"So they're going about the weekend, as they have the previous 18, and they're pretty focused on getting the most of themselves, out of the car, and then we'll see how things pan out."

"But looking at what has happened this season, this championship will go down to the last lap, which is a fascinating prospect."

For Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali, the goal is simple - one driver, one title on the line, with the sole aim of ensuring he finishes in the top two.

Such a scenario will ensure Fernando Alonso becomes only the ninth driver in F1 history to win three titles, and the youngest ever to achieve that feat.

For Domenicali, it comes down several factors as he said: "You need to be lucky, to keep a cool head and to keep that head up."

"We've seen in the past if you react emotionally at the wrong time and in the wrong way during a race because something has happened, then you make mistakes and it is finished."

"So we have to be very concentrated. We need to do the things we normally do in a weekend and not try to make too many calculations because if you do that then you get lost."

"We need to be focused on giving our best. Clearly we are trying to control the emotion we have inside, but so far everything is okay."

Let us not forget Lewis Hamilton, 24 points adrift of Alonso and having to win to stand any chance, but who was quickest at the end of Friday's practice, followed by Vettel, Alonso and Webber.

Of all the drivers he arguably faces the easiest task, as explained by team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

"Lewis has to focus on winning the race, and thereafter if he wins the championship then it's in the hands of others," said Whitmarsh.

"If you're trying to defend a position, to control the points you get, or the points your rivals get it, becomes more complicated."

"Right now Lewis is relaxed and focused. He wants to win it, but whether he can, we'll start to understand tomorrow afternoon."

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