20th of November 2012 Author: Glo Wood
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel says he is concerned about his team's reliability problems ahead of the championship grand finale in Brazil next weekend. The German driver is worried about an alternator failure (the third on a Red Bull this season) on team-mate Mark Webber's car at the US Grand Prix. Vettel said it was "not good news" but added: "It should be easy to find the problem and we should be prepared." Vettel finished second at the US Grand Prix behind Lewis Hamilton, with Alonso finishing third. The result pushed the battle for the title down to the final race in Brazil this weekend, with Vettel, champion for the last two years, holding a 13-point lead over Alonso, who was world champion in 2005 and 2006. Victory for Alonso in Brazil would give him his third drivers' crown if Vettel finishes lower than fourth. Vettel would become the third driver to win three titles in a row if he secures victory in Brazil, following Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher.
The German has suffered two of Red Bull's alternator failures, one when he was dominating the European Grand Prix in Valencia and another when running sixth in the Italian Grand Prix. That particular part is supplied by Red Bull's engine partner Renault. Red Bull were using an older version of the alternator, while other Renault-engined teams have switched to a modified version.
Team boss Christian Horner said: "It's just a worry, full stop. Unfortunately it is the third alternator we've had and there have been others in other cars. The new version has raced on other engine cycles and hopefully that's what we'll have for Brazil." Red Bull's chief technical officer Adrian Newey said: "The component is not a new component. It has been on the Renault engine since about 2005 and it has been failing since 2005 as well."
Meanwhile, Alonso, who fought up from a seventh-place start to finish third in Austin, said: "Obviously we had a tough weekend; so many difficulties. We were not competitive, we did not have the pace, and Red Bull were very quick and everything was smooth for them. Finishing on Sunday afternoon losing only three points was like a victory for us but we need to think of Brazil and take all the opportunities we can have there. Today we saw Webber's retirement: sometimes it is the water, sometimes the Kers, sometimes the alternator but always in that car, so maybe one day it happens in the other car and we need to be ready."
Vettel is the firm favourite in Brazil according to the bookmakers, Bet365 have him at 2/1 to win the race at Interlagos.
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