What an incredibly exciting Formula One season we’ve had thus far in 2012. The first seven races saw seven different race winners. One third of the season had passed us by and we were none the wiser as to who might walk away a champion.
As the season continued, we were treated to some epic races and a fantastic title battle where it seemed that anyone of many drivers were title contenders. Alonso, Webber, Button, Raikonnen, Hamilton at some point all appeared to have the momentum and were within championship range.
In large part, I attribute much of the mystery in the first two thirds of the season to Pirelli. Some have complained about the rate at which tyres wear or degrade. The argument is that drivers are unable to push to the limit. While this is true, then one must also add to that same argument that the inability for teams to refuel is equally as limiting a factor.
The truth is that both tyre and fuel management are also skills that Grand Prix drivers must learn to master. It’ s not always about pushing to the limit. This is not new to the sport either, just ask former F1 great Alain Prost who was notoriously famous for his tyre and fuel management skills.
But this article is not about making these arguments nor defending them. It is however, about the 2013 season and the status quo as the title indicates. Next season will in large part be a non-developmental year in F1. This means that teams will likely not be spending hoards of cash on further developing their cars, which will have to completely be changed to comply with the 2014 regulations.
Certainly we can expect some upgrades and changes and further testing. Pirelli has again tweaked some compounds for 2013 as well which will keep some teams guessing and add a small element of unknown.
I fully expect 2014 to be a battle between Red Bull and Ferrari, if Ferrari can get it’s wind tunnel working and give Alonso a car capable of challenging for wins. I put McLaren in the mix as well but with an asterisks, as we don’t yet know how Button will fair or how Perez will adapt. HOWEVER, because there are several teams on the absolute knife’s edge, Lotus, Sauber and Williams could find that missing element that could catapult them to leading team status.
2014 will bring many new changes including a new formula with new challenges and rules and regulations. More unknowns and more surprises. It is a great time to be a Formula One fan.
Author: Ernie Black