Part three of my blog, focusing this time on the Force India, Williams & Toro Rosso teams and their drivers for the 2013 Formula 1 season, finding out who will be more than likely challenging up front and who will be under pressure.
FORCE INDIA MERCEDES VJM06
14. Paul di Resta – Great Britain
15. Jules Bianchi – France or Adrian Sutil – Germany
Paul di Resta goes into 2013 after a few setbacks at the end of 2012. Firstly he was beaten by his then teammate Nico Hulkenberg, then he was overlooked for better drives at Mercedes, Ferrari AND McLaren. His end of season results appeared to falter when other drives were either re-confirmed or announced in those big team drives. Its up to Paul now to prove that he can get back to where he was around Singapore, where he put in a stella drive to 4th place. If he can’t get back to the levels we know he’s capable of, he might never get to the big boys. He’d better hope then that his new car, released on the 1st of February, allows him to prove he’s back on top of his game.
The confirmation of his teammate is due sometime between now and the start of pre-season testing. The likelihood will be either Adrian Sutil or Jules Bianchi, but Bruno Senna continues to be linked to every available drive. In Sutil’s case, he’ll be returning to the team that dropped him for Hulkenberg the previous year, and possibly the last chance to prove he belongs in Formula 1. He was steady and reliable in his previous spell with the team, and was unlucky to be dropped in the first place.
If Force India pluck for Bianchi, the Frenchman will have to prove he can race fast as well as test fast, as he was their third driver in 2012, running regularly in the first free practice sessions. In junior categories, he’s done well, but sometimes goes off the boil. If he races in 2013, he’ll need to remove those mistakes and be quick and reliable.
WILLIAMS RENAULT FW35
16. Pastor Maldonado – Venezuela
17. Valtteri Bottas – Finland
Pastor Maldonado is turning out to be a bit of an enigma. On his day, like in Spain last year, he was unstoppable, and lead Williams to their first win since Juan Pablo Montoya way back in 2004, a popular win up and down the paddock. He is also an expert qualifier, having put his car in the top 10 more times than the car deserved to be. However he still has his silly moments, like trying to crash into Sergio Perez in Monaco and his jump start in Spa. His 2012 was a whole lot better than 2011, but there is still room for improvement.
Williams have promoted Valtteri Bottas to their second car after impressing the team with his Friday morning practice efforts during 2012. A former GP3 champion, the Finnish driver has a large fan base, mainly after a load of journalists tweeting the now famous #BOTTAS tag during pre-season testing last year. He’s coming into F1 with a lot of hype, being hyped up as the next big Finnish superstar F1 driver. Hes now got to prove to the world that the hype is for real.
TORO ROSSO FERRARI STR8
18. Jean-Eric Vergne – France
19. Daniel Ricciardo – Australia
In my opinion, 2013 is the year Jean-Eric Vergne should have been making his debut in Formula 1 for Toro Rosso. I feel he was promoted far too early, maybe another year in a junior formulae and a few Friday morning practice sessions would have been better for him, but he showed he could race in 2012. His qualifying sessions were most of the time quite disasterous however, usually being the first of the midfield drivers to drop out of qualifying. He is always going to be under pressure driving for Toro Rosso with the eyes of the Red Bull family always on him. In 2013 he’s got to prove that he has the all round package, both in qualifying and more regularly in the races or else he’ll be the next on the shelf, just like his predecessors Sebastian Buemi & Jaime Alguersuari.
Daniel Ricciardo was the more impressive of the two Toro Rosso drivers in 2012, though the points tally at the end of the season would say otherwise. An amazing effort for P6 on the Bahrain grid showed the potential this young Aussie has, but his race start nullified all the efforts of Saturday. He’ll hope, like his teammate that the STR8, released on 04th February, will enable him to build on his 2012 efforts. Like his teammate, he’ll always be under pressure to perform to the best of his ability. The team has shown in the past its ruthlessness to oust drivers from their seats. There are more drivers, like Antonio Felix da Costa, looking over their shoulders.
Its quite hard to say who’s under pressure at Force India. Paul di Resta is a solid driver but also seems to be a confidence driver, when he’s confidence he’ll do well, when hes not he’ll struggle. He needs to stay confident and he’ll do well. If they go for Sutil, he’ll be under pressure to prove he belongs in F1, if Bianchi is the chosen one, then he’ll need to prove both Force India and Ferrari have a decent race car driver on their hands. At Williams, Maldonado won’t be under pressure if his funds are still there. It also helps that hes a race winner and has obvious talent. Bottas is going to have to show that the hype thats built up around him is for real. As for Toro Rosso, anyone who drives for them will always have Helmut Marko & the Red Bull family watching over them, keeping the pressure on them.
In my final part of the series, I’ll be finishing with Caterham and Marussia.
Tagged: Adrian Sutil, Bruno Senna, Daniel Ricciardo, F1, Ferrari, Force India, Formula 1, Jean-Eric Vergne, Mercedes, Pastor Maldonado, Paul di Resta, Pressure, Renault, Toro Rosso, Valtteri Bottas, Williams