2012 Formula 1 Championship was a marvel of great competitive racing with 7 different winners from first 7 races. In addition to that the world witnessed a marvelously successful comeback from the Finnish Star Kimi Raikkonen. As surprising as the start of 2012 Season was, its end proved to be even more dramatic; two stunning drives from the defending champion Sebastian Vettel in Abu Dhabi and Brazil meant he became the youngest triple World champion in the history of the sport.
As great as it may sound I have reason to believe 2013 has all the Ingredients to be even better on every imaginable scale. I can be wrong though since we are talking about Formula 1 which is highly unpredictable but all the ingredients are in place for it to be an even intriguing season.
Here are some key aspects to look out for in the 2013 Formula 1 Championship
Kimi Raikkonen’s 2nd Season:
When Kimi Raikkonen returned to the sport after two years in WRC most pundits were very critical of his chances of success. Very few believed he will succeed judging from the difficulties faced by the mighty Michael Schumacher when he came out of retirement, but Kimi Raikkonen proved all his critics wrong by finishing 3rd in a tight fought season. When Signed the Lotus F1 Team owner Gerard Lopez and team principal Eric Boullier had their doubts over the Finn hence understandably they signed him on a performance clause based contract and soon regretted their decision because over the year Raikkonen grabbed a handful of Podiums and his much awaited 1st Win after his comeback at the Abu Dhabi Grandprix in November.
With one year of additional experience and with better understanding with the team and engineers Kimi is certainly going to be quick. Added to that as Lotus E21 is expected to be Competitive hence Kimi Raikkonen is certainly one of the few men to keep our eyes out for the 2013 Season.
New Pirelli Compounds:
Since last year’s run of random winners was largely down to the teams not getting hold of the Pirelli tires’ functional window, it has been announced by Paul Hembrey that the Italian manufacturer is altering its 2012 compound to be even more degradable in 2013. So we can expect an increasing number of pit stops which will eventually provide even more exciting racing. Although since last year’s run of random winners almost every team has hired tire experts but it would still be a race to understand and make most of these new Pirelli Compounds.
Lewis Hamilton in a Car which is Not a Mclaren:
Lewis Hamilton is a not a Mclaren man anymore, he doesn’t belong to the team he grew up with hence he is marking new territory however a young talented lad like Lewis will do best to extract all that the Mercedes has to offer. However Lewis Hamilton like Pirelli tires has a small operating window that is when he is in groove; like in US GRANDPRIX 2012 he is a match for the Vettels and Raikkonens and Alonsos on track but when it is not his day he falters and falters badly at that like in 2011. So it will be exciting to keep an eye on what Lewis Hamilton will turn up behind the wheel of the car when Season kicks off in Australia.
Felipe Massa’s Do or Die Season:
Ever since his accident in Hungary 2009, Felipe Massa hasn’t been the driver he was in 2008. He is comfortably outscored by his team mate in all three seasons and has failed to win a single race (if you decide he wasn’t worthy of winning the 2010 German GP) but in the last part of 2012 Felipe Massa was considerably quicker than Alonso. Hence the last part of 2012 proves he has still got the speed but has he got the motivation and courage to go toe to toe with Fernando Alonso and claim an equal status in Ferrari, we will find that out in 2013 season.
Can Fourth time be the charm for Fernando Alonso:
Would he have won the championship if Lotus boys had not collided with him in 2012? Yes, maybe but if “Ifs and buts” are to be considered Vettel would have won if his car had been as reliable as the Ferrari, same can be said for Lewis Hamilton but in the end Winning is winning and Vettel is a worthy winner. Ever since his arrival at Ferrari expectations from Alonso have been sky high but sadly said he hasn’t done any better than the Sacked Finn Kimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen won the championship in his First season with Ferrari and Alonso hasn’t claimed one in his 3 years at Ferrari. So the pressure is certainly on Alonso especially after losing two titles in three consecutive years at the very last race. No matter how hard he tries he fails to make the final step, not even by breaking seals off his team mate’s gearbox for going up places in qualifying. If this season’s Ferrari team doesn’t deliver to its promise and potential, there will be some very angry Italian faces in Maranello and possibly a major reshuffle at the Ferrari management.
Five Teams with potential to succeed:
Probably 1st time in a very long time we have five potential teams who will be gunning for glory as the 2013 season starts. Usual suspects such as Redbull Racing, Mclaren Mercedes and Ferrari will be there fighting at the top but with teams like Lotus and Mercedes being so close; room for errors is thin if not nonexistent. Additionally Teams like Sauber and Williams looked promising throughout 2012 season and are expected to surprise this season as well hence making it too close to call.
Will Ferrari and Mclaren be able to stop Redbull Racing from grabbing another title double or will Redbull Racing make it four titles in a row or whether Mercedes and Lotus will be able to find those extra few tenths in pace and make a dash for title glory? We won’t know until the season kicks off at 17th of March 2013 at Albert Park for the Australian Grandprix.