The Formula One field has had a shake-up during the off-season.
Eight drivers – one-third of those who entered the Melbourne season-opener 12 months ago – have gone. Five rookies have arrived to join five world champions and a dozen other drivers.
Red Bull and Ferrari have enjoyed several years of stability on the driver front. Elsewhere changes in the driver line-up will provide much interest in the coming months, such as Sergio Perez arriving at McLaren, and of course Lewis Hamilton joining Mercedes.
But whoever we’re talking about, the first objective of any F1 driver is to beat their team mate. It’s the closest benchmark, the only other driver who’s got the same chassis and engine.
Who will prevail in each of the teams this year? Compare the line-ups below and vote for who you think will come out on top.
Red Bull: Sebastian Vettel vs Mark Webber
|Sebastian Vettel||Mark Webber|
|2012||281 points||179 points|
F1’s longest-running driver partnership at the moment begins its fifth season this year.
Although Vettel has never failed to end a season in front of Webber, it has been close at times. After 11 rounds last year Webber was still ahead of his team mate in the standings. But he lost a glut of points in the second half of the year due to a combination of unreliability, misfortune and driver error.
Ferrari: Fernando Alonso vs Felipe Massa
|Fernando Alonso||Felipe Massa|
Alonso’s margin of superiority over Massa in their three years as team mates so far has been emphatic and has widened year-on-year.
Despite rallying at the end of 2013 Massa ended the year with the worst points haul relative to his team mate of any driver on the grid.
McLaren: Jenson Button vs Sergio Perez
After three years McLaren’s ‘dream team’ of British world champion drivers has been broken up.
Lewis Hamilton finished ahead of Jenson Button in two of their seasons together and scored more wins (ten to eight), though Button accumulated more points (672 to 657).
Sergio Perez faces a considerably tougher team mate than Kamui Kobayashi, against whom his progress has been measured so far. And on top of that he has the added pressure of joining a top team.
Lotus: Kimi Raikkonen vs Romain Grosjean
|Kimi Raikkonen||Romain Grosjean|
Romain Grosjean kept pace with his more experienced team mate in the opening races of 2012. But the gap between them widened considerably after Grosjean became mired in a string of incidents.
If he can stay out of trouble this year the gap should be a lot closer.
However he has his work cut out to get close to the level of consistency Raikkonen achieved last year. The 2007 world champion just kept racking up the points, leaving Grosjean over 100 adrift.
Mercedes: Nico Rosberg vs Lewis Hamilton
The karting team mates of 2000 and 2001 have been reunited as Hamilton takes Michael Schumacher’s place at Mercedes for the 2013 season.
Hamilton had the upper hand over Rosberg in karts and he will surely be keen to assert his authority in his new team as soon as the season begins.
This will be toughest benchmark against which Rosberg has been measured in F1 so far. Inevitably a lot of attention will be focused on this line-up.
Sauber: Nico Hulkenberg vs Esteban Gutierrez
Sauber are one of three teams to have selected an all-new driver pairing this year.
Nico Hulkenberg’s experience should give him an edge over Esteban Gutierrez, who was quick but error-prone in GP2 last year.
However Sauber has proved an environment where young drivers have thrived in the past.
Force India: Paul di Resta vs Adrian Sutil
|Paul di Resta||Adrian Sutil|
Although Di Resta and Sutil may not be the most exciting driver line-up F1 has ever seen, the battle for supremacy between them looks like it will be close.
Sutil had the beating of Di Resta the first time around in 2011. But he’s been on the sidelines since then while Di Resta has been accumulating experience, which should make for a hard-fought second round.
Williams: Pastor Maldonado vs Valtteri Bottas
Pastor Maldonado heads into his third year as an F1 driver with his third different team mate.
Rookie Valtteri Bottas has been with the team for several years and is highly regarded by them. But race-rustiness has to be a concern as he was out of action last year except for tests and practice session appearances.
Maldonado is clearly quick and capable of winning races. But if he makes as many mistakes as he did last year that could leave the door open for Bottas to put him under pressure.
Toro Rosso: Jean-Eric Vergne vs Daniel Ricciardo
|Jean-Eric Vergne||Daniel Ricciardo|
Nowhere is the competition between team mates more keenly fought than at Toro Rosso, where the occupants of the two seats are vying for promotion to Red Bull.
Vergne beat Ricciardo on points last year, though some ill-timed car trouble for Ricciardo in Italy and Korea helped tip the balance. With a better car at their disposal this year we should get a better idea of the balance of power – and if either of them deserves to drive an RB10.
Caterham: Charles Pic vs Giedo van der Garde
Caterham’s new driver pairing may not have raced for the team before but they have previously been team mates.
Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde drove for the Addax team in GP2 in 2011. Pic showed the same qualifying flair that was much in evidence at Marussia last year, taking three pole positions.
He won twice and ended the year on 52 points, three ahead of his win-less team mate.
Now their paths have crossed again Pic’s year of experience in F1 should stand him in good stead.
Marussia: Jules Bianchi vs Max Chilton
Marussia’s all-new, all-rookie squad are also graduates of GP2. Max Chilton was fourth in the series last year after winning twice in the last eight races.
Jules Bianchi did not enjoy the success that was expected of him in the category, finishing third in 2010 and 2011, so he switched to Formula Renault 3.5 last year. He came very close to winning the championship, missing out after a controversial collision in the final race.
Bianchi has ample F1 testing experience thanks to Ferrari and Force India, and was expected to make his F1 debut with the latter. Without a more experienced driver in the team this pair are facing a steep learning curve.
2013 F1 season preview
- 2013 F1 driver helmets in pictures
- Who will win the battle of the team mates in 2013?
- Marussia’s hopes invested in two rookie drivers
- Caterham face struggle to become points contenders
- Toro Rosso aim to recreate their Vettel-era peak after technical team shake-up
Images ?é?® Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Lotus/LAT, Williams/LAT, McLaren/Hoch Zwei, Mercedes/Hoch Zwei, Daimler/Hoch Zwei, Red Bull/Getty, Force India, Sauber, Caterham/LAT, Marussia