Five key themes to look out for in 2013

Five key themes to look out for in 2013

1 January 2013 – Formula 1 2012 has been and gone in a flash, with Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull crowned triple World Champions. Now the attention turns to the 2013 campaign, with plenty of talking points to mull over. Here are five key themes to look out for...

Hamilton's switch to Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton's move to Mercedes conjured up one word with most Formula 1 fans: money. However, there is more to the deal than meets the eye and the 2008 World Champion could surprise quite a lot of people in 2013. Switching to the Silver Arrows for what has been titled a 'fresh start', he certainly has a difficult task on his hands, but his rollercoaster career with McLaren will have prepared him well.

Although Hamilton has enjoyed front-running machinery during many of his McLaren years, it is easy to forget his heroics from 2009 when driving a sub-standard car. Much like Alonso in 2012, the Briton has proven that he can get the most from a slower package and so an early performance deficit should not unduly concern him. The 27-year-old clearly wanted a new challenge and Mercedes has provided him with that opportunity. He has new-found focus and, most importantly, the speed to deliver. Sergio Pérez, who is still a slightly unknown quantity, has big boots to fill this season.

A changing of the guard?

"CVC will probably be forced to get rid of me if the Germans come after me," are Ecclestone's own words on the bribery case which could ultimately drive him out of Formula 1. The business magnate transferred a sum of around 27 million pounds to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to push through the sale of the sport to private equity firm CVC in 2006, with Ecclestone claiming that the latter had threatened to supply tax information to HM Revenue & Customs if he was not paid.

What will come of the situation? We know this much: Gribkowsky was arrested in 2011 and Ecclestone is now under investigation for his role in the deal. Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo says stepping down is the only option for the 82-year-old if found guilty, but the situation looks likely to drag on for some time. One thing is for sure, no matter how controversial a figure Ecclestone has been during his long reign, Formula 1 would endure a massive structural loss if he leaves.

Pirelli's 'more aggressive' tyres

With seven different winners from the first seven races of 2012, Pirelli was hailed for its large part in producing an almost unpredictable Formula 1 spectacle. However, teams and drivers eventually got on top of the complex tyre situation as the races passed by and at the end of the season the Italian company was being described as overly cautious.

Despite this anti-climax, fans need not fear ahead of the 2013 season. Speaking to GPUpdate.net last month, Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery said: "There’s a more rapid warm-up and more temperature going into the tyres. With the changes we’re making to the compounds we’re trying to bring back some degradation levels." This is definitely something to look forward to as the first race approaches.

In-season development

Formula 1 has long been known as a constant development race, but there will be a big twist this year. A major engine overhaul, amid further regulation tweaks, will come into play in 2014. This will force teams up and down the grid to perform a balancing act; the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Lotus can't let up in their bid for title glory, whereas teams further down the grid could opt for a strategic gamble.

Highlighting the issue facing the entire field, Ferrari has already announced that two separate designers will be leading its respective 2013 and 2014 projects, meaning the staff at Maranello can be split equally in the chase for those crucial tenths of a second. The differing strategies will be extremely interesting to follow.

The real Romain Grosjean

A string of silly errors may have tarnished Romain Grosjean's reputation in 2012, but the Frenchman remains one of Formula 1's most exciting prospects. It must be reiterated that the 26-year-old, who claimed the 2011 GP2 title, contested his first full F1 season last year, with his 2009 stint at Renault not worthy of being described as a genuine opportunity to shine.

Dotted around his mistakes were performances even the most established of drivers would have savoured. A stunning lap to claim third on the grid for the opening race of the season well and truly marked his return to the Grand Prix scene, with podiums in Bahrain and Canada following. If it wasn't for an alternator failure in Valencia, he may well have become France's 13th Grand Prix winner. Lotus will have a championship contender on its hands if his lapses in concentration can be eradicated.

Mike Seymour
Twitter: @MikeSeymourF1

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Thursday 31 July 2014

  2. 13:00

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  3. Video: F1 2014 announcement trailer 11:14

    Video: F1 2014 announcement trailer

    Codemasters has released a trailer for the F1 2014 game, coming to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on October 17. It will...

    F1
  4. Wolff: Team orders masking reliability issues 09:49

    Wolff: Team orders masking reliability issues

    Toto Wolff reckons the team orders controversy at the Hungarian Grand Prix has masked significant reliability problems at...

    F1
  5. Ecclestone backtracks on Briatore input 07:00

    Ecclestone backtracks on Briatore input

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has seemingly backtracked on plans to involve ex-team boss Flavio Briatore in a new...

    F1
  6. Video of the Day: Mercedes duo in new advert 05:00

    Video of the Day: Mercedes duo in new advert

    Mercedes team-mates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton star in the German brand's latest TV advert.

    F1
  7. Wednesday 30 July 2014

  8. Formula E postpones Malaysian round 17:33

    Formula E postpones Malaysian round

    The Malaysian round of the inaugural Formula E campaign has been postponed by five weeks. The event, to be staged in the...

    Formula E
  9. Ex-Caterham staff hit back at team 14:02

    Ex-Caterham staff hit back at team

    The ex-Caterham staff seeking compensation for unfair dismissal have hit back at a team statement. On Monday, around 40...

    F1
  10. Mallya: Force India can catch Williams 13:22

    Mallya: Force India can catch Williams

    Vijay Mallya is hopeful that Force India will be able to reclaim fourth in the Constructors' Championship from Williams...

    F1
  11. Red Bull increases Repsol Honda backing 12:55

    Red Bull increases Repsol Honda backing

    Energy drink company Red Bull has increased its partnership with Honda's factory MotoGP team. After nine years of...

    MotoGP
  12. Video: No 2014 highlights for Räikkönen 12:19

    Video: No 2014 highlights for Räikkönen

    Kimi Räikkönen delivers a typically dry response when asked for his highlights of the 2014 season so far.

    F1
  13. Ecclestone vows to scrap standing restarts 11:06

    Ecclestone vows to scrap standing restarts

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has vowed to remove standing restarts from the 2015 regulations, just over a month after...

    F1
  14. Gutiérrez set to begin Sauber contract talks 10:32

    Gutiérrez set to begin Sauber contract talks

    Esteban Gutiérrez says he plans to open contract extension talks with Sauber in the coming weeks. Gutiérrez, a former GP3...

    F1
  15. Mark Sutton: Story behind the shot - Hungary 09:20

    Mark Sutton: Story behind the shot - Hungary

    Especially for lovers of motorsport photography, GPUpdate.net is this season running a feature series entitled Story behind...

    F1
  16. Video of the Day: Chilton looks to Singapore 05:00

    Video of the Day: Chilton looks to Singapore

    Marussia's Max Chilton put in an appearance at the recent 'Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix Experience' in London's...

    F1
  17. Tuesday 29 July 2014

  18. Caterham takes legal action against ex-staff 17:24

    Caterham takes legal action against ex-staff

    The Caterham F1 team is to take legal action against a number of its former employees laid off earlier this month, it has...

    F1
  19. Tost: Too many deficiencies on reliability front 17:11

    Tost: Too many deficiencies on reliability front

    Franz Tost says Toro Rosso must improve its reliability during the second half of the Formula 1 season. Jean-Éric Vergne...

    F1
  20. We have raised our game, says Renault 16:09

    We have raised our game, says Renault

    Renault believes it has "raised its game" in recent races, but admits there is still a need for improvement. Daniel...

    F1
  21. Ecclestone moves to end German lawsuit early 15:01

    Ecclestone moves to end German lawsuit early

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has offered to pay BayernLB £20 million if it drops the bribery case against him, his...

    F1
  22. Red Bull has 'overachieved in many aspects' 14:12

    Red Bull has 'overachieved in many aspects'

    Christian Horner reckons Red Bull has "overachieved in many respects" this season, despite the massive 174-point difference...

    F1
  23. Kubica ready for 'Finnish Grand Prix' outing 12:51

    Kubica ready for 'Finnish Grand Prix' outing

    Former BMW and Renault F1 driver Robert Kubica will tackle Rally Finland this week buoyed by his maiden victory at the wheel...

    WRC
  24. Ferrari dismiss reports Fry has been sacked 11:31

    Ferrari dismiss reports Fry has been sacked

    Ferrari has refuted claims that it has parted company with Engineering Director, Pat Fry. According to Sky Sports, Fry...

    F1
  25. 11:00

    Photos: Hungarian GP in black and white

    F1
  26. Jones: Ricciardo grows horns when it counts 10:41

    Jones: Ricciardo grows horns when it counts

    Former Formula 1 World Champion Alan Jones reckons fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo has proved that he is capable of...

    F1
  27. Hamilton: I will come back stronger after break 09:49

    Hamilton: I will come back stronger after break

    Lewis Hamilton says he will use Formula 1's summer break to "re-energise" himself and get even "fitter" in a bid to become a...

    F1
  28. Winners and Losers at the Hungarian Grand Prix 08:00

    Winners and Losers at the Hungarian Grand Prix

    The Hungaroring produced a thrilling encounter ahead of the Formula 1 summer break, with Red Bull sensation Daniel Ricciardo...

    F1
  29. Video of the Day: Arsenal vs Force India – Part 1 05:00

    Video of the Day: Arsenal vs Force India – Part 1

    See what happened when Gatorade brought Arsenal and Force India together.

    F1
  30. Monday 28 July 2014

  31. Porsche SA buys Kyalami circuit at auction 15:00

    Porsche SA buys Kyalami circuit at auction

    South Africa's Kyalami circuit, which hosted F1 for almost two decades, has been bought by Porsche. The 72-hectare...

    F1
  32. Post-race penalties hand Marciello point 14:32

    Post-race penalties hand Marciello point

    Racing Engineering driver and Ferrari youngster Raffaele Marciello has moved into the points for the second Hungaroring GP2...

    GP2
  33. Horner lauds 'truly sensational' Ricciardo 13:31

    Horner lauds 'truly sensational' Ricciardo

    Christian Horner has heaped praise on Hungarian Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo for delivering a "truly sensational"...

    F1
  34. Mattiacci: We must not delude ourselves 12:39

    Mattiacci: We must not delude ourselves

    Marco Mattiacci says Ferrari must keep its feet firmly on the ground after claiming a sizeable points haul at the Hungarian...

    F1
  35. Video: Rosberg reflects on Hungarian GP 11:07

    Video: Rosberg reflects on Hungarian GP

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg reflects on an eventful Hungarian Grand Prix, which included a costly Safety Car period, a team...

    F1
  36. Villeneuve: Rosberg tried to ruin Hamilton's race 10:47

    Villeneuve: Rosberg tried to ruin Hamilton's race

    Jacques Villeneuve believes that Nico Rosberg tried to "destroy" Lewis Hamilton's Hungarian Grand Prix. Rosberg was...

    F1
  37. Caterham team facing legal action from ex-staff 10:10

    Caterham team facing legal action from ex-staff

    The Caterham F1 team is facing legal action from around 40 former employees, laid off earlier this month. Since Tony...

    F1
  38. Sutil positive despite narrowly missing point 09:32

    Sutil positive despite narrowly missing point

    Adrian Sutil extracted the positives after narrowly missing out on his and Sauber's first point of the season at the...

    F1
  39. Lauda backs Hamilton over team orders 09:02

    Lauda backs Hamilton over team orders

    Mercedes Non-Executive Chairman Niki Lauda says Lewis Hamilton was completely within his rights to ignore instructions to...

    F1
  40. Räikkönen says sixth was maximum result 07:23

    Räikkönen says sixth was maximum result

    Kimi Räikkönen says finishing sixth in the Hungarian Grand Prix was the most he could have hoped for after a disastrous q...

    F1
  41. Video of the Day: Stories from Senna's mechanic 05:14

    Video of the Day: Stories from Senna's mechanic

    Neil Trundle, former Chief Mechanic to Ayrton Senna, discusses his time working with a legend of the sport.

    F1
  42. 03:06

    Championship standings after Hungary

    F1
  43. Sunday 27 July 2014

  44. Bottas feels tyre strategy cost podium shot 19:54

    Bottas feels tyre strategy cost podium shot

    Williams driver Valtteri Bottas reckons he could have been in the podium fight in Hungary if he had chosen a better tyre...

    F1
  45. Mercedes to discuss Hungary team orders 18:18

    Mercedes to discuss Hungary team orders

    Mercedes says it will hold internal discussions with its drivers after the outfit issued team orders during the Hungarian...

    F1
more news