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Here's how F1 2013 will end...

2013-03-14 09:47

BRAZIL 2012 DISAPPOINTMENT: Only three points - that was Alonso's deficit in the F1 championship at the end of the 2012 season.


The start of the F1 season is also the time to stick one neck out... here's Wheels24's F1 writer DIETER RENCKEN's forecast for 2013.

Drivers' championship
1 Alonso, 2 Vettel, 3 Raikkonen, 4 Button, 5 Hamilton

Twice in three years Ferrari and Alonso fell at the final hurdle and the Spaniard will in 2013  make up for those bitter disappointments to take a third title and become Ferrari’s 10th World champion.

Read Rencken's 2012 Australia preview

Yes, Vettel is on a mission to make it four-in-a-row, but Red Bull Racing’s three-year run is telling on the team and while its blue cars will still mix it for victory a fourth Drivers’ will prove a bridge too far. Raikkonen and Lotus will exploit the disarray caused by driver and technical changes at McLaren/Mercedes to take third with a display of clockwork consistency.

Disagree on the outcome? Consider that Alonso himself said his Ferrari was “200 times better” than that of 2012 yet he stayed in contention for title right to the end.

Constructors' championship
1 Red Bull Racing, 2 Ferrari, 3 Lotus, 4 McLaren, 5 Mercedes

Red Bull Racing, chased by Ferrari, is the likely story with Lotus putting up a valiant scrap ahead of the regrouping McLaren and Mercedes teams. The first two each have superb No.1 No.1's supported by strong team mates, while Lotus effectively relies on a single winner, which will make the ultimate difference. Fourth and fifth will be down to who regroups fastest after the confusion of their winter, with McLaren’s famed strength in depth (just) giving it the nod over the Three-Pointed Star.

However, title talk is premature: the chase starts this weekend with the opening round of the championship in Melbourne and points in Australia are as crucial to the outcome as results in Brazil. The race in Albert Park is the perfect season-opener, with the sports-loving Australians welcoming F1 with open arms despite the huge disruption caused by an event staged in a (very) public suburban park.

Using public roads running through the park, this 5.303km semi-street circuit ris enowned for bumps while its lack of use as motorsport venue for 51 weeks each year means the surface is fully rubbered-in only by the end of the two-hour race. Gravel traps galore await the unwary/unlucky, walls and fences are perilously close.


Adding to the challenge is Melbourne’s unpredictable weather. Not for nothing is Victoria’s capital dubbed “City of Four Season in a Day”, with this week providing a classic example: the temperatures on Monday hit 36; rain and 20 are forecast for the race weekend.

Then there is the question of time zones: with at least 10 hours difference to Europe (11 to the UK) drivers and crews need not only to adapt their sleep patterns but also to acclimatise on landing from winter to summer. In fact, such are Melbourne’s challenges that 11 times in the 17 runnings of this event the winner has gone on to lift the Drivers’ trophy at the end of the season. Some pedigree.

Strategies are impossible to predict with Pirelli’s new rubber adding unpredictability and pace car phases are almost guaranteed so the teams will play canny games, hoping that fate will intervene at precisely the right time.

Saturday qualifying and Sunday’s 58-lap race will start at 8am Central African Time (that means South Africa and points north).

Who do you think will be crowned F1 2013 champion? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts.

Read more on:    forecast  |  2013  |  australia

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