The 2013 Formula 1 season has a lot to live up to. In 2012 we saw 7 different winners in as many races; Kimi Raikonnen winning a race in his comeback season, Fernando Alonso producing one of the all time great seasons and Sebastian Vettel becoming the youngest ever triple World champion. It was a fantastic season, with drama, tension and extreme emotion visible in almost every race.
And 2013 will be even better. Why? Well, it certainly has all of the ingredients to be truly fantastic. For one, the regulations have remained nearly identical over the winter break so expect the leading teams to all produce cars which are very close together in terms of performance. Pirelli will again have the spotlight on them, tasked to provide tyres that will lose grip lap after lap and will undoubtedly bring the more capable drivers to the forefront. The big questions however arise in two of last year’s big movers, with Sergio Perez moving to Mclaren to replace Lewis Hamilton, who made the very public and risky split from his parent team Mclaren to the under-performing Mercedes team.
Did Lewis make the right decision? Who knows, and quite frankly I don’t think even Lewis will know until 2014, the year when the new turbo charged engines make their appearance and Mercedes will hope that they have come up with the best engine. It appears that that will be their best hope of taking regular race wins, having trailed the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari and Mclaren ever since they took over the Brawn GP team at the end of the 2009 season. Yes, they’ve managed the odd podium, but, whilst Nico Rosberg took his first win at the 2012 Chinese GP, they spent the majority of last year with severe tyre problems and ended up fighting in the midfield for the majority of the season. It could be a big year for Lewis.
Lotus will be a team to watch, having produced a car last year that under certain track conditions was exceptionally fast but could also look distinctly midfield at other times. Raikonnen looks as though he’ll go from strength to strength after amazing everyone with his championship challenge last season, whilst Romain Grosjean (F1’s new crash kid) has a lot to worry about and will do well just to stay out of trouble. It will be fascinating to see how Grosjean deals with all the pressure, particularly given the financial woes of the team.
All eyes next year will be on the championship battle, but there’s a story to follow every year amongst the midfield teams. Particularly, Williams and Sauber will be hoping for better fortune in 2013, having produced exceptionally fast cars in 2012 but having young drivers who, whilst showing incredible promise, showed inconsistency and found themselves getting in far too many collisions. In particular, Maldonado will find himself with an ever increasing eye on him, following a spectacular win in Spain last year where he fought off the challenge of Fernando Alonso before failing to score points again until the Japanese Grand Prix late on in the year.
And finally, who will win the championship? Mclaren had a mighty car last year but failed to deliver on either title. Red Bull will be hurt by the DRS ban in qualifying but will surely be able to find that performance again, whilst the pressure will as always be on Ferrari to provide Fernando Alonso a car worthy of his talents. In fact, whilst Alonso has taken the championship fight to final Grand Prix in two of the last 3 years, he has never had out and out the fastest car to do it in. This is something that will worry Ferrari greatly and there is big pressure coming on them from the Italian media.
2013. It’s going to be a cracker.