On the eve of a race that will either see one of the two Red Bull Racing drivers crowned F1 2010 World Champion – or else see the energy drinks-backed outfit pay the ultimate price for its steadfast and some would say misguided insistence upon affording both Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel equal opportunity right the way to the end – team principal Christian Horner has mused that 'if there's no risk, there's no fun' and argues that whatever happens, 'we will be able to sleep comfortably at night'.
Vettel and Webber's one-two finish in last weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos might have secured the hotly-prized constructors' laurels one race early, but it has also left Red Bull with a potential Abu Dhabi headache – one, contend the team's critics, entirely of its own making.
Had RBR asked Vettel to yield to Webber in São Paulo in deference to his team-mate's mathematically greater chance of title glory, then the latter would now be sitting just one point adrift of Ferrari rival Fernando Alonso in the drivers' standings arriving at Yas Marina – effectively turning the battle into a straight duel between the Spaniard and the Australian, with whichever one of them finished ahead in the UAE clinching the crown.
As it is, with no switch made in Brazil, Webber now has an eight-point deficit to make up if he is to successfully overhaul Alonso, whilst Vettel remains in contention, too – albeit at a more distant 15 markers in arrears. With all manner of permutations possible, the one given is that if Ferrari's talisman takes the chequered flag either first or second on Sunday, he is world champion for a third time regardless of what happens to either of his two principal adversaries.
It is a risky strategy that Red Bull has elected to adopt in the tense Middle Eastern decider – and one that could boil down to Vettel needing to voluntarily cede to Webber in the closing stages of the grand prix if the New South Wales native is the only one of the pair that can viably still claim the trophy. But then, as Horner repeats, 'no risk, no fun'.
“There are still four guys that can win this championship, and as a team we are very fortunate that both of our drivers are part of the four,” the Englishman told the official F1 website. “Mark is mathematically in a better position than Sebastian, but ultimately they both know that they have to finish. Without finishing they cannot win the title, and in certain scenarios both have the potential to win.
“We will be able to sleep comfortably at night knowing that we've given both an equal chance and a fantastic opportunity. It will be fascinating, because both our guys have nothing to lose but to go for it. Fernando is in a slightly less comfortable position because he is sitting on a lead, albeit a relatively small lead. Going into the race, the approach of the drivers will be very different, with both our guys firmly believing that they have a chance.
“For Mark, it has been a fantastic season – he has won four grands prix this year, and this represents the best opportunity he's had so far in his career. Such an opportunity doesn't come along for any driver that often and when you are 34-years-old, you certainly want to grab it. Mark's commitment, dedication and sheer hard work over his career would [make him] a very worthy champion and I believe a very popular champion.
“In Sebastian's case, he is a prodigious talent, he is a really exciting driver to watch and he has never given up. Despite all the bad luck that he has had this season, he has never given up. He has a great character and personality and therefore he would be an equally fitting champion. Both would be very deserving and I am sure they will do everything to achieve the best result – not just for themselves, but also for the team.