Bring on the 2013 Formula One Season!

The wait is over! This weekend, we will finally witness 22 drivers begin their 19 race campaign for the 2013 Formula One World Championship. After witnessing my first F1 race in person – the USGP in my hometown of Austin – I can honestly say I have never been more excited for a new season.

There are very few regulation changes to the Formula this year, so the cars are all essentially an evolution of their 2012 predecessors. The teams who finished at the top last year will probably be the ones fighting at the front in Melbourne this weekend. Pirelli have once again tweaked their tire compounds to provide a challenge for teams and an element of uncertainty for the fans. “Double DRS” systems have been banned, and DRS will be limited to only the designated “DRS zones” during qualifying runs. Last year, a driver could use DRS wherever he saw fit to get his fastest possible qualifying time. The biggest change for this year will be the driver lineup, and the departure of HRT, leaving only 11 teams to contest the Championship.

Personally, I consider Sebastian Vettel to be my favorite driver, and in 2012 he successfully fought Fernando Alonso to claim his third title in a row. Certainly the “Tifosi” should be proud of the way Alonso drove a sluggish Ferrari to get within 3 points of the prize. Of course the Scuderia improved the pace of the F2012 throughout the year; but had they started the 2012 season in better form, and if Romain Grosjean did not cause the tangle in Spa… the Spaniard would have added a third Championship to his tally.

This year it would seem Ferrari are determined to not allow issues with their car to hold back Alonso. They got close to Red Bull last year, and I imagine they smell blood. Vettel will have his work cut out for him this year. Luckily he has design ace Adrian Newey to keep his RB9 – dubbed “Hungry Heidi” – in fighting form. And let us not forget the other usual suspects; McLaren, Mercedes, and Lotus… who are perfectly capable of putting up a formidable drive. Rounding out the grid of Champions are Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen, and of course Jenson Button of the McLaren crew. All of these drivers are capable of delivering a podium finish, and Lewis will be hungry to prove that his move from McLaren to Mercedes was the right one.

McLaren have decided to fetch Sergio Perez from the Sauber team in a move that will hopefully prove the potential of the youngster from Mexico. He fills the vacant seat that Hamilton left behind in his departure to the Silver Arrows. It’s a big leap for Perez, who is stepping into a very bright spotlight; if he fails to deliver, McLaren fans will not easily forgive the decision. McLaren have failed to secure a championship win since 1998 despite coming so close on a number of occasions. Speaking of coming close: How about the performance from Kimi Raikkonen last year? The Finn came out of a two year retirement from Formula One, and –despite only winning a single race in Abu Dhabi – put together a campaign worthy of his 3rd place finish in the Championship! I for one would love to see him win another World Championship, and I believe he is completely capable should Lotus deliver the proper tool.

This weekend the teams are in Melbourne for the start of a new year. The usual suspects will put their equipment to the test at the front of the pack and provide the world with the first real look at what’s to come.  The rookies will likely be mowing the grass at Albert Park in an attempt to “come to grips” with the monumental job that awaits them. Fans in the United States will get to see just what the new NBC coverage will provide for us. They did the right thing and brought veterans David Hobbs, Steve Matchett, and Will Buxton to join Leigh Diffey for live race coverage. NBC actually plans to send all four to Monaco, Canada, and Austin to report in person; this is something Speed was unwilling to do last year.

This year, I intend to provide a review of each race… and of course I will be attending the USGP once again. To see some of my pictures from the 2012 event, click here. The 2013 race calendar is below:

Mar 17

Australian Grand Prix

Mar 24

Malaysia Grand Prix

Apr 14

Chinese Grand Prix

Apr 21

Bahrain Grand Prix

May 12

Spanish Grand Prix

May 26

Monaco Grand Prix

Jun 9

Canadian Grand Prix

Jun 30

British Grand Prix

Jul 7

German Grand Prix

Jul 28

Hungarian Grand Prix

Aug 25

Belgian Grand Prix

Sep 8

Italian Grand Prix

Sep 22

Singapore Grand Prix

Oct 6

Korean Grand Prix

Oct 13

Japanese Grand Prix

Oct 27

Indian Grand Prix

Nov 3

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Nov 17

United States Grand Prix

Nov 24

Brazilian Grand Prix

 

 

 

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~ by ddmotorsports on March 15, 2013.

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