The 2013 F1 season: What we know so far

2013 F1 season

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2012There is more uncertainty than usual surrounding the upcoming 2013 Formula One season.

As the new year begins the calendar has not yet been confirmed and the teams are yet to agree terms for the latest Concorde Agreement.

But with the first car launch set for the end of the month the clock is ticking to the start of the new season. Here’s what we know so far about what we’ll see in 2013.

Calendar

Tests and car launches

The total number of ordinary testing days has fallen from 15 to 12. There will only be three pre-season tests and no in-season tests such as the one that was held at Mugello last year.

The young drivers’ test is expected to return to being a single event for all the teams instead of the three separate tests that were run last year at different venues during the season.

Two car launches have been confirmed so far: the McLaren MP4-28 (31st January) and Force India’s new car (1st February). Sauber have indicated their C32 will appear at the beginning of the first test on February 5th. Expect the remaining launches to be announced fairly soon.

Races

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Nurburgring, 2011Unusually, the race calendar for the new season has not been completed in time for the new year.

The 2013 F1 calendar is set to include 20 races but the host of the tenth round, set for July 19th-21st, is yet to be confirmed. As that race is scheduled for one week before the Hungarian Grand Prix, it will have to be within a reasonable distance of the Hungaroring. If no venue is found for this Grand Prix the calendar will feature 19 races instead of last year’s 20.

It is the Nurburgring’s turn to host the German Grand Prix, set for on July 5-7th, but it remains to be seen whether it will given its recent financial problems. The Hockenheimring, which it shares the race with, may step in.

There is no race scheduled at the Valencia Street Circuit which is supposed to be entering a race-share arrangement for the Spanish Grand Prix with the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Jersey Grand Prix, which was supposed to happen for the first time this year, has been postponed to 2014.

Dates for your diary

Find more information on next year’s race below and get all the car launches, test dates and F1 session times on your mobile using the F1 Fanatic Calendar for Google. These will be updated as more information becomes available.

Driver and team line-ups

HRT have disappeared from the entry list for 2012 leaving just 22 cars, down from 24. This also means six cars will be eliminated instead of seven in Q1 and likewise in Q2.

Driver moves

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Interlagos, 2012

New faces for 2013

Three seats left

There are three seats yet to be officially confirmed for 2013. These are the two Force India seats and the second place at Caterham.

Paul di Resta is expected to remain at Force India. But it may be a while before we learn the identity of his team mate:

Sauber have also confirmed Formula Renault 3.5 champion Robin Frijns will be their new test and reserve driver:

Television coverage

For those in the UK only half the races will be available live on free-to-air television. Here are details of the races the BBC will show live – the rest will only be on Sky:

Italy will adopt a similar broadcasting model to the UK this year with half of the races only live on Sky Italia.

In America, Speed’s 17-year F1 coverage has come to an end and NBC Sports will take over the F1 broadcast as of this year.

Rules and cars

Caterham, Barcelona, 2012The technical rules for 2013 remain largely unchanged from last year.

One of the most significant changes is that drivers will no longer have free use of DRS during practice and qualifying. This is partly at the request of the drivers, many of whom warned that allowing DRS to be used everywhere posed a safety risk.

As a result drivers may now only use DRS in the designated zones at all times. Most tracks had only one zone last year, but teams are keen to see that rise to two.

A change in the technical rules will prevent drivers from creating ‘Double DRS’ devices of the type pioneered by Mercedes, who used a series of ducts within their car to stall the front wing as well as the rear when DRS was in use. However teams may still use stall parts of their wings without using DRS, as Lotus tried to do with their rear wing.

Teams will also have the option of adding ‘modesty panels’ to their cars to cover up the unattractive stepped noses that appeared on most designs in 2012. There will be tougher tests of front wing flexibility and more demanding crash tests too.

With HRT leaving and Marussia intending to use KERS on their car for the first time, this is set to be the first season where the entire field has KERS. Marussia will also be the only Cosworth-powered team.

A major rules change is coming for 2014 with the introduction of a new engine formula. How teams manage their 2013 race programmes while ensuring they do not fall behind on development for 2014 is likely to be a major theme of the coming season.

More information on the forthcoming rules changes here:

Tyres

The tyre rules remain largely unchanged. However Pirelli have confirmed their 2013 rubber will be heavier this year, and the FIA has increased the minimum weight limit by 2kg accordingly and tweaked the weight distribution rules to reflect the change.

This is the last year of Pirelli’s three-year deal to be F1′s exclusive tyre supplier. They have indicated they would like to continue for 2014 and beyond.

Off the track

Concorde Agreement

Stefano Domenicali, Bernie Ecclestone, Circuit of the Americas, 2012Late last season the FIA said it expected a new Concorde Agreement for 2013-2020 would be signed by the end of October.

But the document, which governs how the sport is run, does still not have the agreement of all the parties. Bernie Ecclestone said yesterday “we should be able to reach agreement soon”.

It is not unusual for negotiations between the teams, the commercial rights holder (CVC and Bernie Ecclestone) and the FIA to overrun. Particularly when the issues at stake are key matters such as how revenue is divided among the teams and how decisions concerning the future of the sport are made.

But the lack of an agreement is a concern and in recent weeks there have been rumours some teams might complain to the European Union about the new terms being offered.

Bahrain

The subject of the Bahrain Grand Prix has been an open sore for Formula One in the last two years. The 2011 race was cancelled and the 2012 race went ahead amid protests.

The event is on the calendar again and the situation in the country seems not to have improved in the months since the last race was held.

Over to you

What do you expect from the 2013 season?

Will we have 20 races again? Who will get the remaining seats on the grid? Have your say in the comments.

2013 F1 season


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Image ?é?® McLaren/Hoch Zwei, Red Bull/Getty images, Force India, Jamey Price/F1 Fanatic, Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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111 comments on The 2013 F1 season: What we know so far

  1. Colm (@colm) said on 3rd January 2013, 15:41

    Well there seems to be a pattern emerging over the last few seasons, going exciting season-boring season so by that logic 2013 could be the most boring season yet!!

  2. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 3rd January 2013, 15:42

    Personally, whilst I appreciate there is more to it than what meets the eye, I can’t understand why the Bahrain GP isn’t a good thing for the people of Bahrain.

    I haven’t heard anything about the problems in Bahrain on the UK news since the race last year. It’s not even hidden away in the papers – it’s simply not covered at all! Can anyone else confirm if it’s the same where you live? Have you heard much?

    If nothing else, the GP gets people talking about the country and the issues that are being faced by the people of Bahrain. It focusses the world on the country and it massively increases awareness of what is going on.

    I know global awareness doesn’t specifically help them but if I lived there, I’d want the world to know what is happening and whatever your view, F1 certainly gives the people of Bahrain a voice.

    • The problem is though that F1 seems to be living in a fantasy world. They are almost supporting the current regime, with gimmicks such as the ridiculous “UNIF1ED” slogan of last year. Any pleas are silenced and commentators and reporters are strictly confined to reporting upon the racing and not the politics.

      What would be ideal is if F1 went back on any pre-arranged agreements to refrain form giving the people of Bahrain a voice and devoted time to interviewing locals, spreading the word on an awful regime to a global audience. I’m sure that’d create strong opposition to the government of Bahrain from a worldwide perspective, which I doubt the leaders would be able to downplay. That of course won’t happen though and it’d be a brave journalist to rebel against the government of a foreign nation on their turf.

  3. George (@george) said on 3rd January 2013, 17:52

    What do you think the chances are of Cosworth continuing after this year @keithcollantine ? Do you think we might lose them for good this time?

  4. JB (@) said on 3rd January 2013, 18:10

    I personally feel that some are taking the ban on drs during practice and qualy to a whole new pathetic level… Some talk about skill, and i say, what skill? anybody can press a button and have a boost in performance, not much skill needed there… you can always wait for the car to be partially straight and then press it… I feel that this ban is actually a good thing. It is leveling out the playing field even more. Now we will really see who is fast or who is slow. That is the best thing that is gonna come out of this! Now we will know who the top qualifiers really are. I suspect Webber, Kimi, Hamilton, SV and Alonso will all be up there and the best of all is that the gap will be even less! There will be no “sandbagging” this way and teams will have to show all their “arsenal” in every race! Much easier to know what the peckng order is!
    I for one am all for it!!!

    As for the 2013 season… I can´t wait… it is taking way too long!! I do have to say thank you to @keithcollantine for not resting and keeping us all well informed!

    • Anybody can press a button and have a boost in performance

      When you put it that way indeed it sounds very simple @catracho504. Although when you add to the equation driving a highly strung machine, without much in the way of electronic aid, being subject to several g’s and with the pressure of putting in a fast lap, not to mention having to judge the correct time to deploy it and ensuring the back end doesn’t step out and it’s a rather different kettle of fish.

      I feel personally that the unlimited use in qualifying was one of DRS’s few perks – now that it has disappeared I’d rather it disappear altogether (hopefully in 2014 with the proposed new aerodynamic regulations) to allow for some proper racing.

    • Bob (@bobthevulcan) said on 3rd January 2013, 20:42

      I believe the skill in using DRS for qualifying lies in daring to use it along portions of track where others would not. Any driver can flick on the DRS within the designated zone, or indeed, any given straight. It takes a driver with precise car handling ability, a fair bit of courage, and I will admit, the right machinery, to use it in unconventional places, through corners like 130R, or down Spa’s high-speed Sector Three. In a way, it’s a test for both constructors and drivers – for the former, a test of their car’s aerodynamic performance, and for the latter, sheer nerve under pressure.

      As for how this rule change will affect the pecking order and our perception of it, I will reserve judgement until the first race of the season.

      • @bobthevulcan I agree, I was pleased to see Vettel opening the DRS through 130R this year, which few (if any) other driver’s attempted. I also agree that of course pushing a button on a straight is not difficult – so why bother at all is my question really. I suppose though DRS will live on as long as it “improves the show”. Sigh.

      • JB (@) said on 5th January 2013, 7:00

        @vettel1

        I agree, I was pleased to see Vettel opening the DRS through 130R this year, which few (if any) other driver’s attempted

        Sorry Max but, opening the DRS on the 130R says nothing about Vettel…. it justs says that Newey built such a good aero package and that the rb8 had so much down force… that he could indeed use the DRS in that corner and not lose grip.
        If by your comment you meant to imply that SV was “braver” for opening it on that corner than all the rest…. I would have to disagree… if all had such a good aero package… i bet there are a lot of guys in the grid with the balls to do it… they just didn´t do it because they lacked balls…. they did not open it because their cars were not good enough for it plain and simple… Let´s see if SV would have opened it if he would have been driving an HRT!! would he have opened it?? I would bet my right nut he would not have done so…

        • @catracho504 Ah yes but of course it is up to the drivers to push the limits as to how early they can open it on exit and through what corners, so there is an underlying skill involved in who pulls the trigger first. Granted, aerodynamics packages have a large influence in who can afford to open it the earliest but there definetly is an element of driver bravery involved – who dares push the boundaries.

          My comment was not only implying that Vettel was brave though, as of course he probably knew his car was capable of doing so in theory. It was more so I admire the spectacle of seeing who actually did it, which gives both an indictor of car performance and skill (for example, Maldonado flicked the DRS on for a millisecond just to get the car turned in and then opened the DRS again).

          • JB (@) said on 5th January 2013, 14:22

            @vettel1

            Okay… but, Max, you did not say anything about how brave SV would be in an HRT… would he have dared opening it in the 130R….
            You are failing to see my point… Like I said before… He opened it in the 130R because he knew how good his package was. That is all I´m saying. They are all brave men for going 300 km/h + with 23 (21 now) other guys in a racetrack. I just don´t think it´s fair to say one is braver than the rest for his performance in a specific corner when he has a car that drives on rails through corners. Even NK would have opened it in an RBR…. it´s just a simple fact sir. The RB8 was one of the “slowest” in top speed but because it had a lot of downforce… so it´s not a surprise that it can take that type of corner flat out with drs open. I respect your opinion but I feel it is very biased.

          • @catracho504 – I just persoanlly feel this isn’t a change for safety reasons. I feel the true reason for this rule change is as you say to close up the field, which I don’t like. If a team has a superior aerodynamics package they should be able to use it. That is beside the point though; I’ve always felt one of DRS’s few perks was it’s unlimited use in practice sessions and now that is banned I think the FIA should just go one step further and ban it completely, as I’m sure you’ll agree it’s never exciting to see a driver breeze past under DRS.

          • JB (@) said on 6th January 2013, 17:28

            @vettel1

            I just persoanlly feel this isn’t a change for safety reasons. I feel the true reason for this rule change is as you say to close up the field, which I don’t like.

            Why? we should get more wheel to wheel racing because of all the top drivers being closer together on the grid start! How can that be bad??

            If a team has a superior aerodynamics package they should be able to use it. That is beside the point though; I’ve always felt one of DRS’s few perks was it’s unlimited use in practice sessions and now that is banned I think the FIA should just go one step further and ban it completely

            You are basically admitting that RBR´s advantage and reason for their results is indeed their aero package!
            I for one do not like the fact that DRS makes it all to easy to pass, yet it does add a bit more excitement and that is basically why you have KERS… to defend yourself from DRS… The one thing I see wrong is… there should only be 1 DRS zone in every race… if it improves passing, fine, if it doesn´t… tough….

            Oh and BTW…. you never did mention anything about if SV would open the DRS in an HRT through the 130R ! ;D

          • You’re basically admitting that RBR’s advantage and reason for their results is indeed their aero package

            When did I ever deny that? Of course performance is intrinsically related these days to aerodynamics, that doesn’t however take away from Vettel’s driving ability if that is what you are implying.

            Of course the aero matters which is why an HRT will never be seen opening DRS through 130R but there is also an element of skill involved in being able to open it early and control the car: so to answer you’re question no Vettel wouldn’t be foolish enough to open DRS through 130R if he were in an HRT. That doesn’t then mean that the reverse is true and that NK would definitely open the DRS in an RB8 through 130R.

            It’s not that I don’t like the field closing up (as I do to an extent – although I believe that the FIA are trying to falsely induce a close field) it’s the fact that the FIA are claiming that the use of DRS in practice is being banned on safety grounds, when I don’t believe that is the main reason for it (as I have explained before it isn’t dangerous in the sense of ground effects for example). I also think that this rule change will bring the onset of multiple DRS zones to satisfy the teams, which I think will be to the detriment of wheel-to-wheel racing and instead just increase the volume of overtakes (I personally value quality over quantity).

          • JB (@) said on 7th January 2013, 15:50

            @vettel1

            so to answer you’re question no Vettel wouldn’t be foolish enough to open DRS through 130R if he were in an HRT

            I rest my case… by SV opening his drs on the 130R, doesn´t mean he is braver than all… he just has a superior aero package!

            the FIA are claiming that the use of DRS in practice is being banned on safety grounds, when I don’t believe that is the main reason for it

            Kimi the other day stated he was happy that the DRS was banne during practice and qualy…. seems the drivers had a big say in this. It would not be fair to blame it all on the FIA.

            I also think that this rule change will bring the onset of multiple DRS zones to satisfy the teams, which I think will be to the detriment of wheel-to-wheel racing and instead just increase the volume of overtakes (I personally value quality over quantity).

            I really hope that it doesn´t. I for one feel one zone is enough and I agree 100% with you about the quality over quantity. I wish F1 or FOM had a forum to where the fans could express their opinions and let them know about it!

  5. Schmorbraten said on 5th January 2013, 12:15

    I really hope for an EU intervention regarding unequal terms in the contracts with the teams.

  6. Ryan Fisher (@ryan2k12) said on 6th January 2013, 13:21

    I think with Cosworth only supplying and focusing on one team, we won’t see Marussia retiring becuase of engine problems. Formula 1 is all about consistency.

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