Niki Lauda has warned those drivers hoping to dislodge Fernando Alonso at the head of the F1 championship table that they need to make a decisive move in the next two weeks or forever be chasing the Spaniard through to the end of the season.
The Austrian veteran, a three-time world champion in his own F1 career, believes that the 2012 campaign will enter a decisive phase before leaving Europe, with back-to-back races in Belgium and Italy over the next two weekends preceding seven 'flyaways' over the next twelve. Alonso currently holds a 40-point lead over Mark Webber in the standings, after claiming three wins in a Ferrari that spent the pre-season as the subject of criticism, but the next three drivers in the list are more closely packed behind the Australian.
"We can expect a spectacular weekend at Spa," Lauda told Austria's Osterreich
newspaper as F1 headed towards the end of its summer break, "For [Sebastian] Vettel, [Lewis] Hamilton and the others, it is now decision time. Now there is the need to score points - if they are not the frontrunners at Spa and Monza, Alonso will be gone."
Lauda, meanwhile, is clearly no fan of the enforced summer lay-off, which this year resulted in five weekends without any F1 action.
"Thank god we at least had the Olympics since the last race, otherwise it would have become really boring," the 63-year old mused.