The 2013 Formula One season is nearly upon us and fans wait with baited breath to see if it shall prove as dramatic as 2012.
All eyes have been focused on Mercedes’ progress after Lewis Hamilton’s brave transfer to their team from McLaren. Scenes from pre-season testing show that Hamilton is currently faring well as part of his new team. Further Mercedes news sees the likely departure of Ross Brawn as Paddy Lowe is set to arrive in 2014.
Both Jerez and Barcelona pre-season testing has seen a different driver top the timing sheets each day. The main contenders look to be the usual suspects: Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus and Mercedes. Jenson Button and Hamilton have so far both commented that they do not believe their cars are ready for contention, a little concerning as the season begins in only two weeks.
Red Bull are unusually quiet as their pre-season testing has not boasted anything of note. Current champion Sebastian Vettel may find the defence of his championship the most difficult yet, although many in the paddock believe Red Bull will still be top in 2013.
Stand out performances this year are likely to come from the younger drivers. Sergio Perez intends to record victories wins as he replaces Hamilton at McLaren – so far he certainly seems up to the challenge.
Mercedes will be looking to facilitate Nico Rosberg with more race wins after his inaugural win last season at the Chinese Grand Prix, the first for Mercedes since the 1950’s.
A rejuvenated Kimi Räikkönen seems on top of his game for Lotus, and if Romain Grosjean is able to erase crashes from his driving style, there is nothing stopping the Frenchman from vying for higher points.
Pre-season testing indicates that the season cannot be decided so far in advance. Lap timings are notoriously difficult to read in to as fuel loads are unknown to the media. The first race in Melbourne is two weeks away and F1 fans will be eager to see which team has made the most of the winter break. As always, it really is anyone’s race and it won’t be until March 17th that questions can begin to be answered.