What should all the drivers and teams be aiming for in 2013? Yes they should be aiming high, but just how high? I shall run down team by team, driver by driver, and say what I believe they should be thinking about during the 2013 season.
Red Bull Racing
As triple World Constructors Champions its hard to imagine that Red Bull are aiming for anything but four on the bounce. Adrian Newey is a master of aerodynamics & engineering, so I don’t think they will be far away from the top.
- Sebastian Vettel – Three championships in a row, four has got to be the aim. He will not want to be coming from behind as he did in 2012, and will want to return to the level of domination he had in 2011. He likes leading from the front.
- Mark Webber – Surely one of Mark’s aims will be to shut Helmut Marko up. He has to have a strong season, competing regularly at the same level as Vettel, otherwise he’ll be on the scrapheap.
When Fernando Alonso joined the team in 2010, it should have meant some more world championships for both team & driver, but that hasn’t happened as of yet. It should be their aim to break the Red Bull domination, but it also requires them to design & supply a car to do so, something Alonso didn’t have in 2012.
- Fernando Alonso – Three years, two runners up spots in the final standings. His fight to the end of the 2012 season was amazing in a car that wasn’t the fastest at any time during the year. He should be aiming for P1, anything less could be considered another failure.
- Felipe Massa – A strong finish to 2012 enabled the Brazilian to keep his Ferrari seat despite a lot of pressure from outside the team. He should be aiming for a strong season from race 1 this time around, to stop all the mutterings returning about who would and could replace him. He should also be aiming to return to the top step of the podium
McLaren arguably had the fastest car in 2012 but failed to take it to the top. Having lost Lewis Hamilton they’ll have to regroup, but their aim still has to be P1. They still have former World Champion Jenson Button at the team alongside young Mexican Sergio Perez so race wins should be the aim every time they race.
- Jenson Button – He should be aiming for a return to the form of 2011 where he was by far the best of the rest to Sebastian Vettel. On his day hes a match for everyone on the F1 grid, but like Mark Webber, he needs to make it his day far more often.
- Sergio Perez – Surely the Mexican’s aims have to be improving his qualifying efforts, which hampered him during his couple of years at Sauber, and to win his first race. Its been a long old time since a Mexican stood on the top step of the podium.
When the team signed Kimi Raikkonen in 2012, it was seen as a surprise. But after a few years away he proved he still had it. The team surely has wins on its aims list for 2013, having tasted the champagne just once in 2012. They should be aiming to break into the top three of the championship, mixing it with Red Bull, Ferrari & McLaren.
- Kimi Raikkonen – Whereas the team might not put priority in winning the constructors championship, Kimi surely has aims for the drivers championship. He was a good third in 2012, and will be aiming to win more than just the once like he did last year.
- Romain Grosjean – Make or break year for the Frenchman. His first aim will be to get around the first lap of every Grand Prix without incident. Then once he’s under control, he’ll be aiming for regular podiums and to be the first Frenchman to win a race since 1996.
The team shocked the F1 world by signing Lewis Hamilton to replace Michael Schumacher for 2013 & beyond. This year has surely got to be a year of rebuilding before a full on assault on both championships in 2014. The team has surely got to aim for podiums and to get amongst the big boys on a regular basis.
- Nico Rosberg – A first win in 2012 was well deserved. His aims surely have to include being at the same level as his highly rated teammate and to show at the same time that he’s one of the best around. Podiums and possibly a win or two could also be aims for the German.
- Lewis Hamilton – You have to assume Mercedes can’t give him a championship winning car straight away, with their main aim being 2014. However it should be one of Hamilton’s aims to get amongst the Red Bull’s, Ferraris, McLarens & Lotus’ and challenge for poles, podiums & wins.
Sauber were at times in 2012 the surprise package, grabbing four podiums. Surely its aims must be to emulate those achievements and maybe, just maybe, grab their first ever win as an independent team. It has two young drivers who could just possibly make that happen. To finish 6th in the constructors championship has also got to be a big aim for the team.
- Nico Hulkenberg – Surprising left Force India after a strong season. Surely an aim is for him to finally step onto the podium. A good car could let him do just that. A small aim might be to win a race but that might be decided by circumstance rather than racecraft.
- Esteban Gutierrez – Pushed into F1 by his sponsors, his aims must surely to be solid, bring the car home regularly and to score points.
Force India Mercedes
A winter of uncertainty has left Force India with only one driver at present. Surely as the biggest team in 2012 not to score a podium (though Nico Hulkenberg should have delivered one in Brazil) thats got to be one of its biggest aims. To finish ahead of Sauber and the other midfield teams is also something to aim at.
- Paul di Resta – Strong throughout the first two thirds of 2012 but dropped off once Hulkenberg got into form. Confidence driver, so aim must be to be confident and score big points for the team and grab his first ever podium finish in F1.
- Jules Bianchi / Adrian Sutil / Narain Karthikeyan. – TBA
A surprise win in 2012 in Barcelona but no other podium finishes. Has to be aiming to get ahead of both Sauber & Force India in 2013. A podium or two would also be on their wish list I imagine.
- Pastor Maldonado – First Venezuelan to win a Grand Prix, but has a tendency to be erratic. He should be aiming for regular points finishes and the odd podium to complement his obvious talent behind the wheel. Getting into Qualifying three in every race should be an aim too.
- Valtteri Bottas – pitlane favourite making his F1 racing debut after a year as a test driver. Has to prove to the team that his hype is well-placed. Aims must be a consistant season with regular points finishes. Has to also try and qualify close to his teammate who was epic regularly in 2012.
Toro Rosso Ferrari
The eyes of management are always on the Toro Rosso drivers, however the team must deliver a car that can decide whether or not the drivers are up for the job. They need to aim higher than they delivered in 2012, and need regular points scoring for both drivers. They should be aiming for 6th, not the 9th they accomplished in 2012.
- Jean-Eric Vergne – One aim has got to be to sort out his qualifying pace, especially with two midfield drivers guarenteed to drop out of qualifying at the first hurdle. He showed good race pace on occasion in 2012, and needs to build on that and score regular points in 2013.
- Daniel Ricciardo – The likeable Aussie has to prove that the talent he showed in junior categories is still there. He has to aim for qualifying performances like we saw in Bahrain 2012 on a more regular basis, and to finish in the points more often too.
Points. Purely and simply must be the aim for Caterham. Three years have passed already since they entered the sport and no points have yet to be scored, despite having good drivers on their books. The original line-up has gone, but the target for points and at least 10th in the championship remains.
- Charles Pic – Second year in the sport for the Frenchman, and the most experienced within the team. Has to build on a solid first year in the sport and be the main driver who challenges for those first elusive points.
- Giedo van der Garde – Has been linked to F1 drives for years but has finally reached it. Has to aim for good qualifying speed and good racecraft, taking advantage of anything that happens to perhaps challenge for points.
Losing Timo Glock is a big blow, but like Caterham, its aims have surely got to be the teams first ever F1 points. KERS for the first time should help, but two rookie drivers is always a risk, especially for a small team.
- Max Chilton – The Brit comes with a lot of backing, but also with a good amount of talent, having won several races in 2012 in the GP2 season. Has to aim to qualify good, and take advantage of anything that happens in front of him to maybe scrape into the points.
- Luiz Razia – Very talented Brazilian, should do well in F1 given the right car. Should, like his teammate, be aiming for competive qualifying sessions, perhaps getting into the second phase on a regular basis, and perhaps a point or two during the races.
Tagged: 2013, Aims, Caterham, Charles Pic, Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Gutierrez, F1, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Force India, Formula 1, Giedo van der Garde, Jean-Eric Vergne, Jenson Button, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Lotus, Luiz Razia, Mark Webber, Marussia, Max Chilton, McLaren, Mercedes, Nico Hulkenberg, Nico Rosberg, Pastor Maldonado, Paul di Resta, Red Bull, Romain Grosjean, Sauber, Sebastian Vettel, Sergio Perez, Toro Rosso, Valtteri Bottas, Williams