For many major sporting codes the end of each calendar year means we are about to find champions. This could be teams, or individuals but either way there's a trophy, a title, and a permanent entry into the sporting almanacs.
Recently two major Motorsport categories found their respective champions - and the differences couldn't be further apart.
In the world of NASCAR they produced something spectacular when Jimmie Johnson won his 7th crown, but on a polar opposite the Formula 1 circus found a first timer. It too was a spectacular moment in time as he was up against not just his teammate but also the reigning champion. And while the link between the two is nothing more than the fact that both were Motorsport oriented, the latter one has a similar feel to what is happening this weekend in Australia.
Shane van Gisbergen is trying to win a Championship. He is fighting directly against his teammate, who is a multiple title holder. But the similarities between Van Gisbergen and Rosberg continue because they both started in their respective codes at similar times - SVG in 2007 and Rosberg in 2006. Both have had their successes and failures across those years but both have also gained another common factor for the 2016 season - they finally got the right equipment to show their title potential.
It's been proven time and time again that great drivers fail to take the coveted titles because of the machinery they are supplied. It's the biggest heartbreak in Motorsport and it will never change. Just think Massa, Alonso, Button, Webber. We will always see this scenario unfold, and at times it will be the opposite where lesser drivers are handed wonderful cars that they will never get the best out of. At times it is also be a case where the team don't give the driver everything that they could, but the point is to win a championship all the stars must align.
Rosberg needed to to win this season. His apprenticeship was over. He was given the best car. His crew were on point. His mental game was steady. Now Van Gisbergen needs to replicate this because he is under the same umbrella. He has well and truly completed his apprenticeship, his car is outstanding, the crew are on the top of their game, and he is in a much better place mentally behind the wheel than he was 5 years ago.
However, I also think he has a small out for this season. If things come unstuck and Whincup takes the points lead and the glory to go with it Van Gisbergen can still walk without shame, as it is his first year with a new team. But, it would still be a very hard pill to swallow and it would drop a tonne of pressure onto his shoulders making next year a whole lot tougher than it should be.
The old cliche comes to mind - it's his to lose. I personally hope that come Saturday evening he has wrapped the title up and goes into Sunday with nothing but joy. He's certainly earned it.