Formula 1 Preview 2013
March 17th sees the opening of the new Formula 1 calendar in Adelaide and once again it promises to be an open and exciting one with the odd customary change in team line-ups for 2013. Most significantly, Lewis Hamilton will be keen to impress new employers Mercedes AMG Petronas with help from team-mate Nico Rosberg.
The 27-year-old Brit will be hoping to improve on last season’s eventual 4th place finish in the World Driver’s Championship and much will depend on the drive his mechanics have set out for him, despite such obvious talent the former world champ already possesses.
Elsewhere in the driver’s field, no changes have occurred as far as Red Bull (Sebastian Vettel/Mark Webber) and Ferrari (Fernando Alonso/Felipe Massa) are concerned.
However Red Bull will have been hard at work back at their Milton Keynes base during the winter break to ensure no complacency is allowed to come between them and a third successive title for both driver and team.
Jenson Button finds himself as teacher to pupil in the guise of new recruit Sergio Perez in the wake of Hamilton’s departure at McLaren. Perhaps we shouldn’t expect too much from them this season, but with less pressure on their shoulders, this could be a blessing in disguise for Martin Whitmarsh’s team.
At Lotus, Kimi Raikonnen and Romain Grosjean retain their drives from 2012 and some notable improvements will be expected by team boss Eric Boullier from this pairing if they want to be taken more seriously by the top contenders. A new Renault RS27 engine will have a lot to say about that.
Further down the field, we are faced with a lot of F1’s future as the majority of drivers are quite young and there is a chance for Scot Paul di Resta to impress any potential suitors by building on his impressive maiden drive for Force India last year as well as Esteban Gutierrez for Sauber.
Familiar faces in the shape of William’s Pastor Maldonado and Nico Hulkenburg at Sauber may add a dash of experience to the smaller teams, but names like Charles Pic (Caterham), Jules Bianchi (Marussia) and Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) will be more than delighted just to finish a race given their car and relative lack of experience at this level.
As we speak, Mercedes have proved to be ahead of the pack on the final day of winter testing in Barcelona. With these encouraging early results, team principal Ross Brawn will be looking to get that first race day in Australia under way as soon as possible and repeat his unexpected success of 2009.