FORMULA One's paymaster Bernie Ecclestone says his money is on Sebastian Vettel to edge Fernando Alonso and secure a third consecutive world drivers' title in the season finale in Brazil next Sunday.
Red Bull's Vettel leads Alonso by 13 points going into the Sao Paulo showdown after Sunday's United States Grand Prix when the German finished second to Alonso's third behind Lewis Hamilton.
Ecclestone, when asked who he would bet on for the title, said: "I'd say Sebastian".
As to who he believes deserves the 2012 crown Ecclestone hedged his bets, saying: "Perhaps Sebastian on the basis of his results (five wins). "But Fernando hasn't had the best car for the majority of the time, that's why he deserves it too."
If Alonso wins on the Interlagos circuit Vettel needs to finish at least fourth to become the youngest ever triple world champion.
Red Bull and Renault will be working flat out to ensure Vettel does not go into next weekend's title showdown in Brazil with a 'ticking time bomb' deep inside his car.