Wheels24

Here's how F1 2013 will end...

2013-03-14 09:47

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.

QUESTION OF TIME ZONES

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.

Comments
  • nitro.nori.5 - 2013-03-14 11:51

    This is a bit biased journalism and understand that everyone has there own opinion,but this is written by a Ferrari supporter. But to write off Red Bull as everyone did early last season is just ridiculous. Alonso was consistent last season due to unreliability of other top runners, just like Raikkonen was. There was just a handful of tracks that Ferrari were genuinely up with the pace. Read nothing into testing and pre season banter as Red Bull are the kings of sandbagging. I still believe that the winner of the 2013 will be a driver from the Red Bull team, this coming from a McLaren supporter, and as good as Alonso is, they still do not have an Adrian Newey type person to always design the car a step ahead of the rest. Also to think Lotus will out score McLaren, is a bit optimistic. If McLaren are reliable it will be fighting Ferrari and Red Bull on all tracks, where as the Lotus is not a car for any high speed circuit, it just does not have the all out grunt, their design philosophy is different.

      Nico Basson - 2013-03-14 15:45

      Of course it's bloody biased, he is calling out the winners for the year according to his own opinion! Geez you people.

  • jono.qmann - 2013-03-14 11:56

    Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, Massa, Webber, Button

  • Slowboat - 2013-03-14 16:24

    Alonso will be near the top, but he wont win the championship... Kimi will prevail...

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