F1 2013 Season Preview
Finally, the 2013 Formula One season is here and I cannot wait any longer! To get you in the mood we will take a look at the calendar including which F1 races are live on the BBC and take a look at the F1 2013 Season teams and drivers before offering an early prediction or two.
F1 2013 Calender
- 15 – 17 Mar – AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX (Melbourne)
- 22 – 24 Mar – MALAYSIA GRAND PRIX (Kuala Lumpur)
- 12 – 14 Apr – CHINESE GRAND PRIX (Shanghai, live on BBC)
- 19 – 21 Apr – BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX (Sakhir)
- 10 – 12 May – SPANNISH GRAND PRIX (Catalunya, live on BBC)
- 23 – 26 May – MONACO GRAND PRIX (Monte Carlo)
- 07 – 09 Jun – CANADIAN GRAND PRIX (Montréal, live on BBC)
- 28 – 30 Jun – BRITISH GRAND PRIX (Silverstone, live on BBC)
- 05 – 07 Jul – GERMAN GRAND PRIX (Nürburgring)
- 26 – 28 Jul – HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX (Budapest)
- 23 – 25 Aug – BELGIAN GRAND PRIX (Spa-Francorchamps, live on BBC)
- 06 – 08 Sep – ITALIAN GRAND PRIX (Monza, live on BBC)
- 20 – 22 Sep – SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX (Singapore)
- 04 – 06 Oct – KOREAN GRAND PRIX (Yeongam)
- 11 – 13 Oct – JAPANESE GRAND PRIX (Suzuka, live on BBC)
- 25 – 27 Oct – INDIAN GRAND PRIX (New Delhi, live on BBC)
- 01 – 03 Nov – ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX (Yas Marina)
- 15 – 17 Nov – UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX (Austin)
- 22 – 24 Nov – BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX (São Paulo, live on BBC)
F1 2013 Teams and Drivers
Red Bull – Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber
Needing no introduction, Red Bull will be going for a fourth consecutive Constructor and Driver title and are no doubt the favourites in many people’s eyes. Testing wasn’t brilliant but we all know that Red Bull never show their true colours until qualifying, and even so they generally win the development race as the season goes on. The only thing missing last season was Mark Webber; does he have another good season in him and can he challenge Vettel again? I’m not so sure, but Mark will no doubt win a few races and he is my tip for his home Grand Prix on Sunday.
Ferrari – Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa
After a disastrous pre-season testing in 2012, Ferrari definitely have a more competitive car to start the season in 2013, and following arguably Alonso’s best season yet they are going to be strong contenders in both championships. Felipe Massa had a strong finish to the season and could be back near his best and that will certainly shake things up even more. If Felipe isn’t close to Alonso by the end of the season, I can see it being his last at Ferrari.
McLaren – Jenson Button and Sergio Perez
After taking the 2012 car as far as they could, McLaren have had a bit of a redesign and this gave them some problems understanding the car in testing. McLaren are a great team but I can see them struggling this season unless everything just slots into place for Jenson. With Perez replacing Hamilton, the driver line up is weakened and I have my reservations over whether Perez will be able to handle the pressure that being a McLaren driver brings. Third in the constructors was all McLaren could manage last season and I think that is the maximum they will achieve this season, perhaps even being leapfrogged by Lotus or Mercedes.
Lotus – Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean
This is a huge season for Romain Grosjean after a crash littered 2012 and possibly his last chance in F1. There is no doubt that Grosjean is fast but his first lap antics really ruined his season and Lotus’ chances of pressuring the top three teams; however I expect good things and a real battle to break out between 2012 driver of the season contender Raikkonen, and Grosjean in a Lotus car which has clearly made strides in performance over the winter.
Mercedes – Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton
There have been so many headlines involving Mercedes since Eddie Jordon broke the news that Lewis Hamilton would be joining the team, and luckily for them the most recent were regarding their exceptional performance in final testing. Both Rosberg and Hamilton put in some fantastic times on the final two days and Rosberg ended up over two seconds faster than his quickest lap in testing last season. The Mercedes line-up is possibly the strongest of any team and one of only three that has F1 race victories for both drivers. Can Mercedes improve their reliability and tyre wear which plagued them last season? Only time will tell but don’t be surprised to see at least one race win for both drivers and them mixing it in the title picture.
Sauber – Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez
On to Sauber and the first all new driver line-up and first rookie. Hulkenberg leaving Force India for Sauber seems a little bit like a sideways move but only time will tell. Nico was touted to join a bigger team for 2013 but that hasn’t panned out. Gutierrez replaces Perez and keeps the Mexican connection for the team and is a pay driver although has been a test driver for Sauber over the past two years.
Force India – Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil
Force India welcome back Adrian Sutil to the team after a year absence and they will certainly be looking to overtake Sauber and push towards the front runners. The top five looked to have moved on at a greater rate so a battle with Sauber and Williams for sixth place will be the best they can get. Paul di Resta was unlucky not to get a seat alongside Button at McLaren but another strong season won’t do him any harm and he could break into the top 10 with some strong results.
Williams – Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas
Out of all the rookies this season, Valtteri Bottas is certainly the one I am most excited about. Having been the test driver for Williams over the past couple of seasons and getting a run in practice sessions, Bottas will be acclimatised to the car and has great potential. Maldonado is undoubtedly quick but his temperament and decision making has to be questioned following various incidents; heavily backed by the Venezuelan government there are question marks over whether the backing will continue due to recent events and I can see it being a troublesome season for Pastor. My prediction is that Bottas will outshine his teammate and has a real chance of becoming yet another Finnish F1 legend.
Toro Rosso – Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo
Being the only team to have kept their driver line-up outside of the 2012 top four, Toro Rosso will be looking to build on their points scoring last season and catch the midfield of Williams, Force India and Sauber while keeping the distance to Caterham and Marussia behind.
Caterham – Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde
In contrast to Toro Rosso, both Caterham and Marussia have a completely new drive line-up and I for one was extremely sad that Heikki Kovalainen didn’t get a race seat for 2013. Charles Pic has switched over from Marussia which could be a mistake if pre-season testing is anything to go by and he will drive alongside the Dutch Giedo van der Garde who was the reserve driver in 2012. After moving factories towards the back end of the 2012 season Caterham really need to push on and at the very least score points in 2013.
Marussia – Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton
With an all-rookie line-up for 2013, it could be a difficult season for Marussia but could also pay dividends with nothing to lose. Jules Bianchi has come through the Ferrari young driver programme and narrowly lost out to Adrian Sutil for a Force India seat having been a test driver for them in 2012. Max Chilton increases the number of British drivers on the grid to four and was a test driver for Marussia last season. Without any real success in other Formula’s it will be interesting to see how Max does and I expect a close contest between the two rookies with Marussia leapfrogging Caterham for tenth place and scoring a point or two along the way.
F1 2013 Predictions
With huge rule changes coming in 2014 some expect this to be almost a filler season with many teams opting to pile resources into next season’s car rather than go all out in the development race. While an eye will certainly be on 2014 for all teams, I can’t see the top five giving us anything other than a fantastic season unless they are out of the title picture early on.
I think Fernando Alonso will triumph this season and Ferrari may even take the constructor title as well with Massa scoring more points than Webber. The top five teams may be closer than ever this season so expect many different race winners once again and Lewis Hamilton to be among them. Lewis may even achieve his highest finish since his championship winning season, he will certainly be more relaxed around the paddock and that is normally good for his driving.
I cannot wait for this season to get going and see if it can live up to what was an exceptional 2012.
What are your predictions? Let us know in the comments below or connect with us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or if you are really geeky, circle us on Google+.