With another two months to go for the start of the Formula season, this period is traditionally marked by a significant drop in F1 gossip. That however, doesn’t mean that there isn’t any action simmering beneath the surface.
Red Bull’s Dr. Helmut Marko has been busy at work, once again telling anyone who would listen (this time Red Bull’s own in-house magazine), the obvious fact that he isn’t Mark Webber’s biggest fan. Regardless of whether or not this is an attempt by him to motivate Webber,it is in very bad taste. Also, he has been attempting to kindle the flames of psychological battle with Alonso pretty early this season. Let the games begin!
Ferrari on the other hand hosted their annual Wrooom media event this week where all the right noises were made by both Alonso and Massa regarding their prospects this season. With a resurgence in form by Massa toward the later part of the 2012 season, one does hope that he matches Alonso’s pace in 2013 and gives him a run for his money. But in hindsight, considering the fact that Ferrari support only one driver at a time, it remains to be seen whether Massa will be given an even footing alongside the Spaniard. Lets hope for no races this season where gearbox seals are intentionally broken!
Mclaren have taken a gamble with Sergio Perez this year. I suspect that the Mexican’s backing had a role to play with him being hired. Jenson Button will now lead the team and I would bet that this year’s car would be designed around him. If the car is good, then the Briton would be near unbeatable. And with Perez’s gentle easy driving style, he would be a worthy addition to the Mclaren stable. Now, if only they ironed out last years quality issues….
Mclaren’s other star Briton is now with Mercedes in a move that could either make or break his career. His move to Mercedes, though risky could bear fruit. Why? Because with 2014 around the corner, Mercedes hopes it could well turn a page in it’s otherwise mundane three years in the sport. But I don’t see how Lewis can harbor title hopes this year with that car. I really hope they get on top of their tire issues. It was a trying experience watching Michael Schumacher go backwards in the car after qualifying well.
Lotus has a superb team in place with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. If Romain can rein in his first lap madness like he did towards the end of the year, this team could well be one of the top teams this year. As for Kimi, well, no one can put it better than him : “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing!”
The rest of the pack will more or less maintain the status quo. Sauber had an excellent car last year with which their drivers had a decent run. Williams too had a good car, but Maldonado was too busy crashing it into others to reap much benefits apart from that lone win in Barcelona. Caterham and Marussia are still fighting it out for the final place and it remains to be seen which of these teams makes a step forward this year.
HRT will not make their presence felt this year; and no, they will not be missed. The one thing they have taught the F1 fraternity is how NOT to run an F1 team.
With all teams working hard over the winter, its anyone’s guess how the season will turn out. I eagerly look forward to March for the five red lights, the roar of the V6 engines and the thrill and joy that is Formula One!