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. Monday 30 March 2015

  2. Malaysian Grand Prix: Winners and Losers 16:44

    Malaysian Grand Prix: Winners and Losers

    Sebastian Vettel surged clear to return Ferrari to the top step as Mercedes was beaten for the first time since last August.…

    F1
  3. Sauber rues 'missed opportunity' for points 14:29

    Sauber rues 'missed opportunity' for points

    Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn says her squad missed out on an opportunity to add more points to its tally as neither…

    F1
  4. Renault heartened by Ferrari success 12:41

    Renault heartened by Ferrari success

    Renault Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul says that the company must keep pushing as Ferrari's victory in the Malaysian Grand…

    F1
  5. Video: Grand Prix of St. Petersburg highlights 11:38

    Video: Grand Prix of St. Petersburg highlights

    Watch highlights from the first round of the IndyCar season as Juan Pablo Montoya claimed victory for Penske around the streets…

    Indy
  6. Wolff: Ferrari victory 'good' for Formula 1 11:22

    Wolff: Ferrari victory 'good' for Formula 1

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes that Sebastian Vettel's triumph at the Malaysian Grand Prix is positive for Formula 1, as…

    F1
  7. Ericsson believes seventh was possible 10:50

    Ericsson believes seventh was possible

    Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson believes that seventh place was possible for the squad in Malaysia, had he not spun out of…

    F1
  8. Rossi revels in 'one of the best races' 09:12

    Rossi revels in 'one of the best races'

    Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi described his victory in the season-opening Grand Prix of Qatar as one of the best races of his…

    MotoGP
  9. Arrivabene urges Ferrari to maintain progress 08:30

    Arrivabene urges Ferrari to maintain progress

    Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene says the squad must remain realistic, despite claiming its first victory in almost…

    F1
  10. Video of the Day: Get ready for Long Beach 05:17

    Video of the Day: Get ready for Long Beach

    Formula E stays in the United States for round six of its inaugural season – the Long Beach ePrix.

    FE
  11. 01:23

    Championship standings after Malaysia

    F1
  12. Sunday 29 March 2015

  13. Montoya outduels Power to take St. Pete victory 23:16

    Montoya outduels Power to take St. Pete victory

    Juan Pablo Montoya held off team-mate and pole-sitter Will Power to win the season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St.…

    Indy
  14. Pedrosa reveals arm injury, considering future 22:30

    Pedrosa reveals arm injury, considering future

    Honda's Dani Pedrosa says he is considering his options after revealing that he has been suffering with an arm problem for over…

    MotoGP
  15. Rossi beats Dovizioso in Qatar thriller 19:51

    Rossi beats Dovizioso in Qatar thriller

    Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi claimed victory in the opening round of the MotoGP season in Qatar as he beat Ducati's Andrea…

    MotoGP
  16. Video: Will Power's record St. Pete lap 17:06

    Video: Will Power's record St. Pete lap

    Enjoy Will Power's record pole-winning lap for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

    Indy
  17. 16:02

    Latest F1 photos: Sunday at Sepang

    F1
  18. Räikkönen achieves 'maximum' after puncture 15:20

    Räikkönen achieves 'maximum' after puncture

    Kimi Räikkönen says fourth position was the best result possible after he sustained a puncture during the early stages of the…

    F1
  19. McLaren drivers say pace 'a nice surprise' 13:41

    McLaren drivers say pace 'a nice surprise'

    Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button say that McLaren-Honda's raw pace during the Malaysian Grand Prix came as "a nice…

    F1
  20. Verstappen delighted with maiden points 12:59

    Verstappen delighted with maiden points

    Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen expressed his satisfaction after becoming the youngest ever points scorer in Formula 1…

    F1
  21. Ferrari Chairman hails 'incredibly hard work' 12:44

    Ferrari Chairman hails 'incredibly hard work'

    Sergio Marchionne praised the "incredibly hard work" of his Ferrari team after Sebastian Vettel took victory in the Malaysian…

    F1
  22. Kvyat: Hülkenberg clash a racing incident 12:12

    Kvyat: Hülkenberg clash a racing incident

    Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat played down his contact with Force India rival Nico Hülkenberg during the Malaysian Grand Prix, which…

    F1
  23. Brake issues hampers Maldonado at Sepang 12:09

    Brake issues hampers Maldonado at Sepang

    Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado was forced to retire from the Malaysian Grand Prix with a brake issue, as his and the squad's…

    F1
  24. Rosberg wants improved communication 12:05

    Rosberg wants improved communication

    Nico Rosberg has urged Mercedes to improve communication after he came home a distant third in the Malaysian Grand…

    F1
  25. Merhi elated by maiden Formula 1 finish 11:54

    Merhi elated by maiden Formula 1 finish

    Formula 1 debutant Roberto Merhi expressed his joy after he was able to finish his first ever race in the sport as he came home…

    F1
  26. Hamilton: Ferrari too fast for us today 11:42

    Hamilton: Ferrari too fast for us today

    Lewis Hamilton has admitted that Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari were simply "too fast" to deal with during the Malaysian Grand…

    F1
  27. Sepang extends Formula 1 deal to 2018 11:22

    Sepang extends Formula 1 deal to 2018

    Sepang will continue to play host to the Malaysian Grand Prix after organisers agreed a new deal to remain on the Formula 1…

    F1
  28. Vettel 'speechless' after first Ferrari win 11:16

    Vettel 'speechless' after first Ferrari win

    Sebastian Vettel said claiming his first victory for Ferrari during Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix initially left him lost for…

    F1
  29. 09:59

    In full: Malaysian Grand Prix race result

    F1
  30. Vettel breaks Mercedes run with Sepang win 09:54

    Vettel breaks Mercedes run with Sepang win

    Sebastian Vettel claimed his first victory for Ferrari as the team pulled off a two-stop strategy to beat Mercedes, which had…

    F1
  31. 07:46

    Follow the Malaysian Grand Prix live!

    F1
  32. Dennis hopeful of European turning point 07:32

    Dennis hopeful of European turning point

    Ron Dennis is optimistic that McLaren-Honda will find itself in a much stronger position when the Formula 1 paddock arrives in…

    F1
  33. Stevens unable to race amid technical trouble 07:18

    Stevens unable to race amid technical trouble

    Will Stevens is unable to start this afternoon's Malaysian Grand Prix, with Manor Marussia failing to resolve the technical…

    F1
  34. 06:32

    Revised starting grid for the Malaysian GP

    F1
  35. Video of the Day: Backstage with Sauber 04:22

    Video of the Day: Backstage with Sauber

    Go behind-the-scenes during Sauber's pre-season filming day at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

    F1
  36. Saturday 28 March 2015

  37. Power starts title defence with pole, track record 21:47

    Power starts title defence with pole, track record

    Will Power stormed to pole for the season-opening round of the Verizon IndyCar Series on Saturday, setting a new track record in…

    Indy
  38. Dovizioso takes pole for Ducati in Qatar 18:21

    Dovizioso takes pole for Ducati in Qatar

    Andrea Dovizioso emphasised Ducati's progress over the winter as he claimed the third pole position of his MotoGP career at the…

    MotoGP
  39. 18:17

    Latest F1 photos: Saturday at Sepang

    F1
  40. Massa frustrated by Williams' wet pace 18:14

    Massa frustrated by Williams' wet pace

    Felipe Massa expressed his frustration that Williams is still "too slow" in wet conditions, after a rain-hit qualifying session…

    F1
  41. Montagny suspended by FIA until end of 2016 16:36

    Montagny suspended by FIA until end of 2016

    Franck Montagny has been suspended by the FIA's Anti-Doping Committee until December 2016, after he tested positive for…

    Misc
  42. Ricciardo: Fourth a 'good result' for Red Bull 14:00

    Ricciardo: Fourth a 'good result' for Red Bull

    Daniel Ricciardo was pleased with Red Bull's performance during qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix after a difficult…

    F1
  43. Formula E unveils shortened Monaco layout 13:20

    Formula E unveils shortened Monaco layout

    Organisers of the Monaco ePrix have unveiled the layout for the race which will take place on May 9. The 12-turn 2.76km…

    FE
more news