GPUpdate.net Highlights of 2013
20 December 2013 – Formula 1's latest season may have produced the same outcome as the previous three campaigns, but 2013 was not all about Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull. Now it's time to find out what the GPUpdate.net editorial team made of the action, with a collection of views from those behind all five language websites...
Mike Seymour, UK
Editor for English news
"On the face of it, 2013 yielded a rather dull championship, with Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull dominating the second half of the season to wrap up their fourth world titles. But when you look past the German's record-equalling nine straight victories and final haul of 13, there was plenty to talk about both on and off the track.
"I could have chosen instances such as 'multi 21' and 'test-gate', which played a key role in shaping the season, but my standout moment arrived much later in the year. Although massively disappointing for Sergio Pérez, whom I still rate as a promising driver, I was delighted to see Kevin Magnussen given the nod at McLaren for 2014.
"This guy is seriously fast, and it was extremely refreshing to see the team place faith in a rookie once more. I've followed Kevin's career very closely, first covering his exploits trackside during his British Formula 3 days. He's as grounded now as he was back then and I'm sure he will be able to perform admirably alongside Jenson Button.
"In terms of driver performances this year, putting the ever-impressive Vettel to one side, Nico Hülkenberg was again highly impressive. He is fully deserving of a top seat, and I don't think he will need to wait too much longer before donning red overalls, with Kimi Räikkönen and Fernando Alonso approaching their mid-30s.
"With all the changes on the way, we are set for a hugely dramatic 2014 season. I can't wait..."
Rob Wilkins, UK
Editor for English news
"I'm not sure if this would classify as my favourite moment, but Sebastian Vettel's decision to defy team orders and ignore the 'multi 21' instruction to win in Malaysia was certainly one of – if not – the most controversial incidents during the season and for that reason alone it makes it pretty memorable.
"His actions there, 'stealing' the victory from team-mate, Mark Webber, may not have won him any more fans – and is often cited as one of the reasons he was booed later on in the year on the podium – but it did show he has that same ruthlessness displayed by all the greats of the sport.
"As it turned out, the victory wasn't crucial come the end of 2013 either – given he took 12 other wins and scored 155 points more than his closest championship rival – but, it did underline why he is the number one and now a four-time F1 World Champion.
"Even if you don't like his and Red Bull's dominance, there is no denying Vettel's place in the history books – and he is only 26-years-old, so there is undoubtedly more, a lot more, to come..."
Erwin Jaeggi, The Netherlands
Editor for Dutch news
"My favourite moment of the season was when Giedo van der Garde set the third fastest time during the first qualifying phase at Spa-Francorchamps. In Monaco, he had already proven that he was excellent in wet to dry conditions, and again he showed courage by being the first to go out on slicks when it did not seem right.
"His gamble paid off in a fantastic way, with his time just three tenths off Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.
"It was unfortunate that Caterham failed to secure 10th position in the Constructors' Championship, but Giedo can still look back on a great rookie season in Formula 1. I hope he is back with us next year."
Ivo Pakvis, The Netherlands
Editor for Dutch news
"My favourite moment of the season happened way before the lights went out in Melbourne. In February, Giedo van der Garde was announced as a race driver for Caterham. For the first time since 2007, we had a Dutchman in the ranks of Formula 1. And for me personally, it was very nice to see Giedo get his big break.
"I've been working together with him for years, writing his press releases from when he was a driver in the World Series by Renault. He had many ups and downs, near misses and great moments. But the actual signing of a contract at Caterham must have felt like his biggest victory.
"I hope his strong second half of the year will earn him a second season in Formula 1. He's one of the good guys. No fuss, straight to the point, and a good laugh."
Albert Bueno, Spain
Editor for Spanish news
"Maybe the 2013 season was not the most exciting season in the history of the sport but all the incidents that occurred both on and off the track topped headlines worldwide.
"I did not like that, at the halfway mark of the season, Pirelli was forced to change the design of its compounds after several dangerous delaminations... explosions caused by risky designs that the Italian brand was pushed to create to produce more excitement. To make matters worse, Pirelli were not allowed to test with a car after 2011, and when they tested with a 2013 car they went directly to a hearing with Mercedes. Only a few months after that drama, tests are already legal again...
"The star driver was definitely Sebastian Vettel: the German took advantage of his RB9 and managed to write another great page in the history books of F1 with his fourth consecutive championship. The celebration he made in India with donuts, and then getting out of the car and climbing the fence, was one of the moments that I will remember this year. A truly great job by the whole Red Bull team...
"But what I'm also sure of is that many drivers like Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen could make things very tough for Red Bull in equal conditions.
"Next year will see the arrival of many new regulations. Maybe the design of the cars and the 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines will create a greater spectacle on the track…"
Manel Bueno, Spain
Editor for Spanish news
"The 2013 Formula 1 season was again a big show. The year had two parts; the first offered equality between the top teams, initially questioning a fourth straight crown for Red Bull, but in the second half it became clear that the team and its fantastic driver Sebastian Vettel deserved to win their respective world titles.
"Any analysis of the season must mention Pirelli's mid-season tyre changes. The modification was a turning point for most of the teams. Changes are good for some and bad for others, although the people in charge should analyse whether the decision went against the show, in order to never commit the same mistake again.
"Overall, there are some really good drivers on the grid at the moment, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Räikkönen... and others who aim to one day join the same bracket, such as Nico Hülkenberg, Romain Grosjean, Sergio Pérez... but in my opinion the most complete driver is Alonso."
Marina Beccuti, Italy
Editor for Italian news
"The season gone by was a boring one, especially after the summer break when Vettel constantly prevailed.
"For McLaren, it was a particularly difficult championship, with the Woking-based outfit unable to record a single podium finish. But Jenson Button shone in fourth place at the final round of the season in Brazil, when the team managed to stay on terms with the 'second tier' forces behind World Champions Red Bull.
"Although distressing, the battle with Force India for fifth in the standings was an exciting spectacle."
Marco Avena, Italy
Editor for Italian news
"The season just ended will surely be remembered as the championship of Sebastian Vettel and Pirelli tyres. These must be linked as the German was able to jump ahead just when the tyre compounds changed.
"Even Red Bull designer Adrian Newey admitted that the change of tyres helped his team. However, the fact remains that Vettel put together a perfect season, and some of the numbers confirm that: 13 wins put him level with Michael Schumacher and four World Championships placed him amongst the greatest of all time.
"At the end of the season he had picked up 397 points. This is the highest score of all-time and, to put it into perspective, he could have beaten all the other teams in the Constructors' Championship with his tally. The absolute best moment of the season, for me, was when Vettel won at Monza, at the realm of Ferrari, against everything and everyone. He was stronger than his rivals and the whistles of the fans on a perfect weekend.
"The 2013 season will also be remembered for the strides Kimi Räikkönen made as his comeback continued. He was the protagonist at Lotus and ultimately reclaimed a seat at Ferrari. He was the big surprise of the year."
Minako Nozaki, Japan
Editor for Japanese news
"To be honest, the 2013 season was a bit boring compared to 2012, which was the one of the most exciting in Formula 1 history. Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull won both world titles for the fourth consecutive year but while they obviously achieved brilliant results, I wanted to see more unexpected races.
"Having said that, there was still some excitement during the season. 'Multi 21' in Malaysia, the dramatic tyre failures at Silverstone, Fernando Alonso's taxi ride in Singapore plus the rude radio messages of Lotus and Kimi Räikkönen and Vettel's 25,000 Euro donut in India were some of my highlights.
"However, if you ask me, Romain Grosjean impressed me the most as a driver. Last season, he faced a barrage of criticism for his dangerous driving. But towards the end of this season, he has proven his real ability and shown that he is no longer crazy. Next year, Lotus may need to do the same fine-tuning with Pastor Maldonado so I'm looking forward to seeing what will happen."
Jeroen Huis in 't Veld, The Netherlands
CEO of JHED Media
"The one thing that stands out for me is Kimi Räikkönen leaving the Yas Marina Circuit after colliding with Giedo van der Garde. It might seem a bit of a strange 'highlight' but I feel there is a lack of personality in Formula 1. Everything is so tight and clean in terms of communication and behaviour that we're missing the bad boys that make the sport so much more fun to watch and follow.
"The shot of Räikkönen leaving the circuit in his car was enjoyed with laughter and applause in the media centre as everyone completely understood his frustrations and loved seeing someone do something out of the ordinary. I hope to see more bad boys in Formula 1 next season!"
What was your standout moment from 2013? Join in the discussion by posting a comment below!