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. Sunday 4 December 2016

  2. Alonso samples Honda's RC213V at Motegi 16:14

    Alonso samples Honda's RC213V at Motegi

    McLaren driver Fernando Alonso completed laps on Repsol Honda's title-winning RC213V MotoGP bike during the Japanese…

    F1
  3. F1 urged to end corner-cutting 'subjectivity' 15:03

    F1 urged to end corner-cutting 'subjectivity'

    Formula 1 could end "subjectivity" over corner-cutting if circuits are modified to disadvantage drivers who run off track…

    F1
  4. Manor still has 'big strides' to make - Ryan 14:02

    Manor still has 'big strides' to make - Ryan

    Manor boss Dave Ryan says the outfit's improvement across the past year has been "incredible" but has cautioned that it still…

    F1
  5. Overview: A year with no reigning Champion 13:06

    Overview: A year with no reigning Champion

    For only the sixth time in history, the defending Formula 1 World Champion will not line-up on the grid, with Nico Rosberg…

    F1
  6. Hamilton only wants 'equal rights' in 2017 12:02

    Hamilton only wants 'equal rights' in 2017

    Lewis Hamilton says he is not fussed by who partners him at Mercedes next season, and that his only request is that he has…

    F1
  7. Video: Nico Rosberg title-winning montage 11:01

    Video: Nico Rosberg title-winning montage

    GPUpdate.net looks back at Nico Rosberg's title-winning year with some of Sutton Images' best shots.

    F1
  8. Lauda: Rosberg has left us 'under pressure' 10:30

    Lauda: Rosberg has left us 'under pressure'

    Mercedes non-executive Chairman Niki Lauda says he is disappointed by Nico Rosberg's decision to retire and, with hindsight…

    F1
  9. Zetsche lauds 'perfect' Mercedes hat-trick 09:46

    Zetsche lauds 'perfect' Mercedes hat-trick

    Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes' parent company Daimler, has hailed its Formula 1 team after securing the "perfect hat-trick…

    F1
  10. Video of the Day: Lorenzo opens museum 05:26

    Video of the Day: Lorenzo opens museum

    MotoGP star Jorge Lorenzo's opens his new museum, 'World Champions by 99', in Andorra.

    MotoGP
  11. Saturday 3 December 2016

  12. 18:34

    Gallery: Mercedes' Sindelfingen event

    F1
  13. Rosberg would have stayed if he lost title 14:46

    Rosberg would have stayed if he lost title

    World Champion Nico Rosberg says he would have stayed in Formula 1 for another season had he not beaten Mercedes team-mate Lewis…

    F1
  14. F1 paddock pays tribute to retiring Rosberg 13:06

    F1 paddock pays tribute to retiring Rosberg

    Formula 1 drivers, paddock members and the wider motorsport world have been paying tribute to Nico Rosberg, following his shock…

    F1
  15. 11:44

    Gallery: FIA Prize-Giving Gala in Vienna

    F1
  16. Hamilton: Rosberg retirement 'not a surprise' 10:32

    Hamilton: Rosberg retirement 'not a surprise'

    Lewis Hamilton says Nico Rosberg's decision to retire was "not a surprise", despite the newly-crowned World Champion stunning…

    F1
  17. Verstappen receives two FIA Gala awards 09:17

    Verstappen receives two FIA Gala awards

    Red Bull youngster Max Verstappen has been handed two awards at the FIA's Prize-Giving Gala, held at Vienna's Hofburg…

    F1
  18. Video: Rosberg collects Formula 1 trophy 09:13

    Video: Rosberg collects Formula 1 trophy

    The retiring Nico Rosberg receives his World Championship trophy during the FIA's annual Prize-Giving Gala.

    F1
  19. Rosberg crowned World Champion at Gala 09:08

    Rosberg crowned World Champion at Gala

    The retiring Nico Rosberg has been officially crowned as the 2016 Formula 1 World Champion during the FIA's annual Prize-Giving…

    F1
  20. In photos: Rosberg's final F1 race day 08:32

    In photos: Rosberg's final F1 race day

    Nico Rosberg announced on Friday that he will be retiring from Formula 1 as World Champion. GPUpdate.net flicks through…

    F1
  21. Video of the Day: Ferrari's 'Flying Aces' 05:28

    Video of the Day: Ferrari's 'Flying Aces'

    Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen experienced the world's tallest loop rollercoaster at Ferrari World in Abu…

    F1
  22. Friday 2 December 2016

  23. Sato joins Andretti Autosport for 2017 20:05

    Sato joins Andretti Autosport for 2017

    Takuma Sato will make the switch to Andretti Autosport for 2017, completing the team's four-car line-up. Sato, 39, has raced…

    Indy
  24. 18:02

    New: Follow GPUpdate on Instagram!

    F1
  25. Latifi on top as GP2 post-season test ends 17:56

    Latifi on top as GP2 post-season test ends

    DAMS driver Nicholas Latifi set the pace as GP2's end-of-season test reached its conclusion at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit on…

    GP2
  26. Overview: Candidates to replace Rosberg 15:08

    Overview: Candidates to replace Rosberg

    Following the shock news that Nico Rosberg will retire from Formula 1 with immediate effect, GPUpdate.net looks at the potential…

    F1
  27. Video: Rosberg on his decision to retire 14:02

    Video: Rosberg on his decision to retire

    Nico Rosberg explains why he has decided to retire from Formula 1 after winning the world title.

    F1
  28. Mercedes will 'take time' over replacement 13:47

    Mercedes will 'take time' over replacement

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the manufacturer will "take time" in deciding who will replace Nico Rosberg, who has announced his…

    F1
  29. Wolff applauds 'brave' Rosberg decision 13:45

    Wolff applauds 'brave' Rosberg decision

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has applauded Nico Rosberg's "brave decision" to retire from Formula 1 as World Champion, following a…

    F1
  30. Rosberg retires from F1 as champion 13:20

    Rosberg retires from F1 as champion

    Nico Rosberg has announced that he is to retire from Formula 1, just a few days after beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton…

    F1
  31. Video: Nico Rosberg celebrates in Brackley 13:12

    Video: Nico Rosberg celebrates in Brackley

    Nico Rosberg celebrates his maiden Formula 1 title win at Mercedes' headquarters in Brackley.

    F1
  32. Ecclestone confirms French GP reports 11:58

    Ecclestone confirms French GP reports

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed recent reports that the French Grand Prix is poised to return to the calendar…

    F1
  33. Magnussen 'learned a lot' over Renault stint 10:32

    Magnussen 'learned a lot' over Renault stint

    Kevin Magnussen says he "learned a lot" from Renault over the course of the 2017 season, as he prepares to embark on the next…

    F1
  34. Rosberg visits Mercedes factory in Brackley 09:21

    Rosberg visits Mercedes factory in Brackley

    Nico Rosberg appeared at Mercedes' headquarters in Brackley on Thursday, as part of a packed celebration schedule after…

    F1
  35. 'French GP to return at Paul Ricard in 2018' 09:05

    'French GP to return at Paul Ricard in 2018'

    France could make a surprise return to the Formula 1 calendar at Paul Ricard from the 2018 campaign, in a five-year agreement…

    F1
  36. Marko: Patience Verstappen's only weakness 07:34

    Marko: Patience Verstappen's only weakness

    Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko reckons Max Verstappen's only remaining weakness is an occasional lack of patience…

    F1
  37. Video of the Day: Rosberg opens up on 2016 05:38

    Video of the Day: Rosberg opens up on 2016

    Nico Rosberg opens up on a demanding 2016 season, which resulted in his maiden championship win.

    F1
  38. Thursday 1 December 2016

  39. 17:02

    Photos: Rosberg visits Mercedes factory

    F1
  40. Albon fastest on second Yas Marina test day 16:08

    Albon fastest on second Yas Marina test day

    Alexander Albon topped the times for ART Grand Prix on the second day of GP2's end-of-season test at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina…

    GP2
  41. F1 stewards aim for 'better consistency' 15:32

    F1 stewards aim for 'better consistency'

    Formula 1 stewards are looking at holding regular de-brief meetings to review Grands Prix in an attempt to achieve "better…

    F1
  42. ExxonMobil becomes Red Bull fuel partner 14:14

    ExxonMobil becomes Red Bull fuel partner

    Red Bull has announced ExxonMobil as its new fuel, lubricant and motor oil partner for the 2017 season, replacing Total, which…

    F1
  43. Video: Toto Wolff on Mercedes' season 13:16

    Video: Toto Wolff on Mercedes' season

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff discusses the manufacturer's continued Formula 1 success in 2016, the tense showdown between Nico…

    F1
  44. Wolff: Malaysia failure cost Hamilton title 11:12

    Wolff: Malaysia failure cost Hamilton title

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has conceded that Lewis Hamilton's engine failure at the Malaysian Grand Prix, while on course for…

    F1
more news