So 2012 is done and dusted. We now look forward to 2013, and see whether Sebastian Vettel can do what only Juan Manuel Fangio & Michael Schumacher have done before and win four World Titles on the bounce. Yes Alain Prost also won four, but he didn’t win three in a row, let alone four!
The big news obviously is Lewis Hamilton leaving McLaren after all this time, swapping his Macca for a Mercedes, alongside Nico Rosberg. Is it the correct decision for Lewis? Only time will tell. Can Lewis win races for Mercedes or even championships? I don’t think he’ll win another Championship now, but I’d love to be proved wrong. As for Rosberg, its time for him to prove himself now. If he is beaten comprehensively by the guy a lot of people say is the best in F1, it’ll leave his career in the balance.
Taking Lewis’ place alongside Jenson Button at McLaren is young Mexican Sergio Perez. There are doubts about this line-up, can Jenson be a team leader and challenge for the title, and can Sergio step up to the next level and win races? I think 2013 will be a transistional year for the team.
Neither Red Bull Racing and Ferrari haven’t changed their line-ups. Vettel and Mark Webber have been paired up for a number of years now, and have proved time and time again they can perform. There are more question marks over Mark than Seb though, especially as he seems to have races every year where he’s off the pace and where he disappears. You just don’t see Vettel doing that.
Ferrari have obviously kept Fernando Alonso, but question marks were raised about Felipe Massa early in 2012, but he came back fighting and finished on the podium a couple of times. Hopefully he can build on his strong finish and make Ferrari a competitive team with two competitive drivers.
Kimi Raikkonen made a fantastic return to F1 in 2012 with the Lotus Renault team, winning one race in Abu Dhabi, and finishing on the podium a few other times too. He should hopefully improve in 2013 knowing that he still has the fighting spirit. Romain Grosjean returns as his teammate with a lot to prove, mainly that hes safe on the track, noticably at the starts. We all know he’s quick.
Sauber are all change for 2013. Sergio Perez has left for McLaren, while popular Kamui Kobayashi has been dropped. Incoming are the second Mexican in F1, Esteban Gutierrez and the very talented Nico Hulkenberg, who leaves Force India. Gutierrez is only there because of Carlos Slim’s sponsorship, in my opinion.
Williams have kept Spanish Grand Prix race winner Pastor Maldonado for 2013, but have ditched Bruno Senna for their third driver Valtteri Bottas, another Finnish driver with talent behind the wheel. The Williams team were probably the most improved team in 2012 after a dreadful 2011, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can continue the upward swing.
Toro Rosso had a dreadful 2012 compared to 2011, perhaps because they had two rookie drivers. I still maintain to this day that they were wrong to drop both Sebastian Buemi & Jaime Alguersuari from the team. Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne are both talented drivers, but could have done with someone with experience alongside them. It also didn’t help that the car wasn’t developed that much through the season. Both Ricciardo & Vergne are returning for 2013.
Caterham snatched 10th place in the championship in the final race of the season from Marussia, and took the extra finances too. They also snatched Charles Pic from Marussia, but have yet to announce his teammate.
Marussia have gone through a major overhaul with their drivers. Max Chilton has come in with big sponsorship and was meant to team up with Timo Glock, but weeks before the season, Glock & Marussia announced they had split. They will have KERS for the first time in 2013 and hopefully this’ll lead to their first points in F1, but who’ll get them is anyones guess.
Force India are the only team currently without a driver confirmed, but Vijay Mallya has stated that Paul di Resta is all but guarenteed to return for another season. His form dipped towards the end of 2012 as he was linked to other drives (McLaren & Ferrari) but ended up at none of them. His teammate is the one everyone is waiting on, as it seems everyone has been linked to it!
Of course, at this time, HRT are no more.
Drivers linked to the vacant drives:
Marussia – Vitaly Petrov, Bruno Senna, Luiz Razia
Caterham – Giedo van der Garde (Most likely), Heikki Kovalainen, Vitaly Petrov, Bruno Senna
Force India – Jules Bianchi (Most Likely), Adrian Sutil, Kamui Kobayashi, Bruno Senna, Sebastian Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari, Heikki Kovalainen + others
Tagged: Adrian, Alguersuari, Alonso, Bianchi, Bottas, Bruno, Buemi, Button, Caterham, Charles, Chilton, Cosworth, Daniel, di Resta, Esteban, F1, Felipe, Fernando, Ferrari, Force, Formula 1, Giedo, Glock, Grosjean, Gutierrez, Hamilton, Hulkenberg, India, Jaime, Jean-Eric, Jenson, Jules, Kamui, Kimi, Kobayashi, Lewis, Lotus, Luiz, Maldonado, Mark, Marussia, Massa, Max, McLaren, Mercedes, Nico, Pastor, Paul, Perez, Petrov, Pic, Raikkonen, Razia, Red Bull, Renault, Ricciardo, Romain, Rosberg, Sauber, Sebastian, Senna, Sergio, Sutil, Timo, Toro Rosso, Valtteri, van der Garde, Vergne, Vettel, Vitaly, Webber, Williams