Sebastian Vettel will take as much pleasure from winning the championship well before the end of the season as he did from clinching it at the finale last year. That is the view of Michael Schumacher, who believes that there is very little difference in how it feels to become champion whichever stage of the season it is done.
Vettel needs to score just one point at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix to secure his second title, and will also win if his only remaining rival Jenson Button fails to take victory.
"The moment you win the championship, it is a very particular moment," said Schumacher, who has experience of winning titles both at final races and well before the end of campaigns. "It is maybe slightly different if you go to a race and you may not anticipate you win the championship there but you do. Or, if you come to a race and it is basically clear after it that you be champion.
"But in this respect it differs a very small amount. At the end of the day once you have done it, at least in my experience, you go out and have fun with the team – and then you get focused on the next race onward."
Schumacher does believe, however, that clinching the title at Suzuka is a very unique experience, because of the history at the venue.
"It means something special because Suzuka is one of the favorite tracks for most drivers – and certainly me," he explained. "The layout is very particular and very challenging. It is very special in the fact that the most important championship, in the year 2000, we celebrated here, after a very tough year and a tough fight in the race itself. And that makes it special.
"Probably the after parties in the Log Cabin here too were special, but it doesn't exist any more."