20 things that made F1 great in 2013

2013 F1 season review

The 2013 season was not a classic. But it wasn’t without a few highlights and memorable moments. Here are the 20 things which made 2013 great for me.

Rush

Daniel Bruhl as Niki Lauda in Rush

When I first heard about the plan to make a film based on the 1976 F1 season my hopes weren’t high. Of course I’d enjoyed Senna, but that was crafted with documentary footage. For Rush the material would had to be shot and I had doubts over how well that might be done.

I needn’t have worried: Ron Howard’s team did a first rate job and Daniel Bruhl was a revelation of Niki Lauda. It wasn’t perfect, but Rush was a huge amount of fun, and a welcome tonic during a season in which the real thing often failed to deliver.

After the un-watchable guff that was Driven (2001) and Talladega Nights (2006), it restored my faith that motor racing can be realised on the big screen.

Qualifying at Spa

Paul di Resta, Force India, Spa-Francorchamps, 2012

Spa is appropriately named, for the challenge of this king of circuits is often heightened by the addition of water. Qualifying on the rain-hit track was, for my money, a more exciting session than any of this year’s races.

It began with three of Marussia and Caterham’s drivers taking a risk on slick tyres and ended with Paul di Resta almost taking a shock pole position – despite having blundered in several other wet qualifying sessions during 2013.

New cameras

As an avid fan of IndyCar racing I’ve been used to seeing rotating onboard cameras for several years. Until this season it seemed an innovation F1 was never going to get around to introducing, but we finally saw the first examples of it at the end of the season. Here’s hoping for more in 2014.

Another new view in 2013 was the infra-red onboard camera, which gave a fascinating look at how tyres cool and warm during a lap. Keep ‘em coming, FOM!

Silly season surprise #1: Raikkonen to Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Suzuka, 2013

Two world champions at Ferrari for the first time in 60 years? This was without question the most exciting driver market news of 2013, and a mouthwatering prospect for next year’s championship.

Silly season surprise #2: Kvyat to Toro Rosso

Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Interlagos, 2013

You have to feel for Antonio Felix da Costa. Twelve months ago he looked a shoo-in for an F1 seat after his exceptional performance in Formula Renault 3.5.

But when an opportunity finally became available Da Costa’s form had dipped and Daniil Kvyat was snapped up by the team – though rumours persist that lucrative Russian backing played a role in his selection.

Alonso praising Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Korea International Circuit, 2013

Nico Hulkenberg produced some superb performances for the mid-grid Sauber team in the second half of the year, taking fifth at Monza and holding off Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton for fourth in Korea.

Yet his talent continues to go unrecognised by the front-running teams. Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren all had vacancies to fill the year and all of them overlooked him.

But full credit to Alonso for drawing attention to Hulkenberg’s potential, calling him “one of the best drivers on the grid” following their Korea battle, adding “hopefully we [will] see him in a competitive car in the future”.

Singapore’s new turn ten

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Singapore, 2013

It’s rare to see circuits being changed for the better these days but the eradication of Singapore’s ugly, slow, Mickey Mouse chicane was long overdue. The new corner may not be much to shout about, but the eradication of what was the worst bend in F1 certainly is.

No Valencia

Sergio Perez, Sauber, Valencia, 2012

Did anyone miss this dreary, chicane-filled tour around a Spanish industrial estate? No? Good, then let’s never go back.

There’s no sign yet of Bahrian and Yas Marina succumbing to the same fate, but there’s no Korea on the 2014 F1 calendar so things are definitely looking up.

Greenpeace’s protest in Belgium

http://vimeo.com/73215350

Regardless of your view on the substance of Greenpeace’s protest against arctic drilling, the effectiveness with which they hijacked the Belgian Grand Prix to get their point across deserved respect. Particularly the deployment – several weeks ahead of the race – of remote controlled banners which appeared during the podium ceremony.

The sight of podium organiser Alex Morina tackling the pop-up banners as if he were playing a giant Whac-A-Mole game must rank as the best comedy moment of the season.

Proper launches

McLaren MP4-28, 2013

The simple art of the F1 car launch – have the drivers pull the covers off, let everyone take a few pictures and ask a few questions – is being lost.

Mercedes decided to reveal their car online using Tweets to slowly open a virtual garage door. Predictably, they were deluged with Tweets and the website crashed for hours.

Red Bull, meanwhile, demonstrated their commitment to innovation by inviting dozens of journalists to see the new RB9, then refusing to let them take pictures of it…

So three cheers for the teams who still get it right, such as McLaren and Ferrari, who managed to have both proper launches and working online video streams.

P1 vs LaFerrari

Ferrari LaFerrari, 2013

The contest between two of F1′s great teams has its equal on the road once more as both revealed their latest range-topping hypercars during 2013. But will the McLaren P1 (great car, great name) and Ferrari LaFerrari (great car) ever face each other on-track?

Jenson Button, McLaren P1, MP4-28 launch, 2013

Brundle hushing the Singapore boos

Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, podum, Singapore, 2013

After a vocal minority of embittered Vettel-haters started jeering from beneath the podium at some races, it was heartening to Singapore podium interviewer Martin Brundle administer the schoolmasterly rebuke this infantile behaviour called for. “That’s not correct,” Brundle told them, and they haven’t been heard from since.

Vettel ignoring team orders

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013

If this is what the booers objected to about Vettel then they get no sympathy from me. Red Bull’s attempt to tell him not to pass team mate Mark Webber home in Malaysia, proved just as effective as when Webber was given a similar message at Silverstone in 2011. I.e., not at all.

This pair are real racers both, and they proved it with a thrilling tussle for the lead of the race that was one of the season’s highlights. Hopefully a few other drivers have taken note of how a four-times world champion responds to team orders.

Tracks with only one DRS zone

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Suzuka, 2013

DRS is gradually consigning real overtaking to the dustbin of history: this year almost every track had two DRS zones where drivers could jab the button and blast past their competitors without the inconvenience of having to think about it.

Fortunately two tracks – Monaco and Suzuka – proved incapable of accommodating two DRS zones and so had to make do with one. Know what would be even better? Tracks with none.

Kimi Raikkonen testing a GP3 car

Kimi Raikkonen, GP3, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013

I’d love to see more F1 drivers racing other cars – like Lewis Hamilton getting his elbows out in the BTCC or Fernando Alonso applying his remorselessly consistent race pace to the Le Mans 24 Hours. Kimi Raikkonen testing a GP3 car for Koiranen GP was the closest we came to seeing it happen this year.

Vergne’s Cevert helmet

Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 2013

Jean-Eric Vergne’s tribute to Francois Cevert, who died 40 years ago this season, was the pick of a large selection of one-off helmet designs that appeared during 2013.

Team radio

Red Bull pit wall, Melbourne, 2013

Yes it was on this list last year, but for me this remains one of the most entertaining and insightful additions to F1 coverage of recent years. And judging by the popularity of F1 Fanatic’s radio transcripts it seems many of you do too.

McLaren’s flat caps

Jenson Button, McLaren, Monza, 2013

There was little for McLaren to celebrate in 2013 but they marked their 50th anniversary in style at the Italian Grand Prix, sporting these natty retro flat caps.

Sauber’s new livery

Sauber C32 launch, 2013

Sauber’s livery last year looked like an afterthought which would have been out of place on anything that wasn’t a panda bear. They smartened up their style this year and with Caterham and Marussia sporting revised and improved new paint jobs the overall look of this year’s field was somewhat better than last year.

Lotus’s Tweets

The ‘funny’ hashtags could be wearisome but Lotus’s self-deprecating sense of humour gave then a winning social media presence which other teams have belatedly tried to imitate. But none have gone so far as Lotus’s amusingly cheeky reaction to losing Raikkonen to Ferrari.

Over to you

What made the 2013 season great for you? Have your say in the comments.

2013 F1 season review


Browse all 2013 F1 season review articles

Images ?? 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, Pirelli

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77 comments on 20 things that made F1 great in 2013

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  1. Kanman1 said on 24th December 2013, 10:35

    Lotus’ humor tweet gonna suffer great blow without Kimi.

  2. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 24th December 2013, 10:42

    So one of the highlights of the 2013 season is a film about another season. What a horrible year.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 24th December 2013, 13:07

      @full-throttle-f1 indeed. Few things on this list are really relevant to racing…

      Appart from the new infrared cameras, Lotus’ tweets and Vettel ignoring team orders, and the Greenpeace protest, the rest is meaningless for me.

      2013 was dreadful everywhere in the world of F1.

    • Nick (@nick-uk) said on 24th December 2013, 15:47

      Yeah I think Keith was really clutching at straws with this article. 2013 was everything but an interesting/great year. Sure there were some great moments here and there but all in all it can’t fairly be described as anything other than dull.

      When you consider that some of the ‘best moments’ of the season area team’s livery, a driver’s helmet, a film about a different season as you say, or a pair of driver changes (which doesn’t even apply or make anything great until next year anyway), then seriously shoot me now!

      I was mildly offended/annoyed by Keith’s decision to slate Valencia so harshly too – and also to assert his view that nobody would miss it so freely. Consider that last year Valencia was one of the best races of the year (in a year that had many brilliant races). We praised Texas last year as being a future great when in fact it could end up being just as boring as any India in the next few years – it was boring as hell in 2013 after all. If 2012 had been Valencia’s debut imagine how much praise it would be getting. Over time, yes, it has shown that it is far from perfect but on the right day/when things fall into place then the race there (or anywhere) could be amazing (Abu Dahbi/Bahrain 2012 etc). Who is to say so definitely that it’s a good thing that Valencia is now gone. China’s races took a turn for the better after a few aweful races. Maybe Valencia was on the up… but I guess not according to Keith.

      Also a great moment being – tracks with one DRS zone… that’s great!? Didn’t you report how DRS is killing your interest in the sport not only a few months ago? But those tracks with one were great to you!? Did Bernie commission this article?

      In summary, 2013 was largely awful. I would have liked an article that highlighted that in 20 ways than this. At least then it would help add to the opinion that people don’t like F1 much now with all its gimmicks and could lead to a change. That article/pole on the double points was widely referred to in other publications which shows just how much this site is viewed. Paul Hembry even commented personally on an article concerning tyre rules a few years ago. You have a platform here Keith, you should exploit that!

      • Nick (@nick-uk) said on 24th December 2013, 15:52

        I’m sorry to be so negative, I do appreciate your article for what it is. I just found it hard to digest given the state of 2013 F1. Merry Christmas :)

        • Robbie said on 26th December 2013, 14:45

          I think Keith made his point about the negatives of the season by stating from the get go that it was hard coming up with less than half of the positives that in his opinion last year carried.

          And his anti-DRS point is made by stating it was at least better to have only had one zone at a few venues.

          Personally I think we have grilled each other ad infinitum on the negatives of F1…that’s a constant in F1 these days so I see nothing wrong with accenting the positive.

          And I didn’t know about a few things, like the Greenpeace banner for example, or Mac wearing the retro caps.

          And while I was fine with Brundle reprimanding the booers I also had no real problem with the booing as I think it is an indication not just of one driver always dominating lately, but I think of the overall product. There’s always ‘one in every crowd’ and I’m concerned that F1 is dumbing itself down, and now wants to censor it’s paying audience as well, when booing has always been present in sport, and the one being booed took it all in stride. F1 puts a product out that Keith has a hard time mustering the positives for, yet we don’t dare tolerate a handful of booers at a few races. I remain of the opinion that they weren’t booing SV personally, but a combination of the product out there and a gadget filled one at that, which still hasn’t shaken up the usual order of things and have only affected the sport negatively. Everyone seems to agree that the sport is not F1′s concern, but entertainment and ‘the show’ is, so doesn’t that only invite booing from fans looking for entertainment and show who felt let down?

          And regarding SV ignoring a team order…I get that to some, like Keith for example, that is showing Championship form, and that more drivers should do that, and I don’t entirely disagree at all, but then imho SV didn’t own it right afterwards, like the type of WDC level driver that Keith admires. He looked sheepish and awkward, and took way too long and for the heat of the moment to die down, to claim he would not have done anything different. A pure, diehard WDC of the type that is admirable, would have owned his actions immediately and without wavering. I would have loved it if he told the world defiantly and immediately including his fellow drivers, and especially the one-rooster teams, hey this is supposed to be the pinnacle of racing and that’s what we’re out there to do. Instead imho, SV looked like a wimp and came off apologetic initially. And don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of team orders.

  3. andae23 (@andae23) said on 24th December 2013, 10:49

    Sauber’s livery last year looked like an afterthought which would have been out of place on anything that wasn’t a panda bear.

    Hehe

    My personal highlights were Vettel’s celebrations in India – simply awesome. And of course the subsequent donuts he did following his race wins. :)

    • Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 24th December 2013, 11:08

      Aye to that too for other highlights. Hopefully it conveys a message to the FIA that teams take a lot of care and responsible in their machinery, and that rule of returning straight to parc ferme is applied in a more relaxed manner.

      I think we can do with the drivers from other big teams (i.e. McLaren and Ferrari) doing donuts after every win; it’ll make the message bolder.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd January 2014, 11:26

      Yeah, I agree that Vettel actually celebrating winning it in India and doing so in front of the main grandstand was a highlight as well @andae23

  4. AndrewT (@andrewt) said on 24th December 2013, 10:52

    I also was very critical about Valencia, but to be honest the 2012 race was awesome with some spectacular performances, I really enjoyed the Schumacher-Webber duo fighting their way through the midfield with on-track overtakes together. of course this year there weren’t many tracks that could deliver what we expected, so maybe the 2012 Valencia race was a rare exception, and the 2008-2011 era showed its real face.

    Related to the “silly season surprises”, I believe that I never have enjoyed the events of the transfer market that much, but most of the transfers happened after the season ended. Most likely Mercedes will be the only team with an unchanged lineup, and combined with the rule changes, this might produce something special for 2014.

    • Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 24th December 2013, 10:59

      I’ll always remember Valencia 2012. I had convinced a friend the previous weekend to come over to my house to watch his first F1 race. After qualifying I was a bit disappointed as it looked like it was going to be any easy Vettel cruise to victory (not the best way to introduce someone to a new sport). But come race day, me and my friend were watching in awe at Vettels car failure, Alonso doing one of the best performances of his career and Hamilton being taken out by Maldonado. It was nail-biting to the very end and we both loved it.

      He now comes over to watch the first race of the year, so I guess I didn’t do too bad. I think I am slowly getting him more and more interested. I think I am doing well as a couple of weeks ago he started telling me things he knew about F1.

      F1Fanatics, have I done a good job? :-)

    • I will really miss Valencia. I went to the race in 2012 which was a milestone for me as it was my second ever race (first in 5 years), but importantly the first race I attended after I had started working and could pay to go to a race myself. The race was great but the atmosphere was fantastic on Sunday when Alonso won. Joining in with the crowd chanting “Alonso, Alonso” as he drove past slowly with the Spanish flag is my favourite Formula 1 memory. I’m very critical of DRS and the poor Pirelli tyres, but Valencia is one place where they really worked, and I could see work well again in the future. I’m not just sad that Valencia was not on the calendar for 2013, but that it is unlikely to be on the calendar ever again.

    • Steven (@steevkay) said on 24th December 2013, 15:28

      Yeah that’s what I was thinking, too. It generally is not an interesting grand prix, but last year it was quite fun (and I think it was even rated highly by other F1 Fanatics).

      Oddly enough, this was one of my favourite tracks to drive in the Codemasters’ F1 games.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd January 2014, 11:28

      Isn’t it great that this terrible GP-venue can now always be remembered for going out with a bang – like how we keep the Detroit races in mind because of drivers collapsing from the heat.

  5. Rifqah said on 24th December 2013, 11:05

    I would have added Hamilton’s pit-stop blunder if I were you, hahaha

    Great website BTW! :D Your F1-Fanatic round-ups helped me survive the winter break so far! :D

  6. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 24th December 2013, 11:11

    Great list.

    One thing you did miss was Alonso’s Monza selfie.

    The best selfie, tweet and F1 photo. Ever.

  7. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 24th December 2013, 11:21

    I do think that the including Kvatt to Toro Rosso, a new dull turn at Singapore, Sauber’s awful livery and Raikkonen testing a GP3 car rather proves that 2013 was a horrible year.

    I’m delighted we’ve come to another regulation change to shake things up. I couldn’t take another 2013…

  8. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 24th December 2013, 11:32

    I still can’t believe that one of the best years in the history of F1 (2012) was followed by one of the worst (this year) even though there was hardly any rule changes.

  9. Steph (@stephanief1990) said on 24th December 2013, 12:00

    “20 things that made F1 great in 2013″ – it wasn’t the racing ;)

  10. Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 24th December 2013, 12:03

    Such lame highlights shows how easy this season will be to forget. There’s nothing to really remember it by besides the Perreli tyre blowouts.

  11. Kanil (@kanil) said on 24th December 2013, 12:17

    I still think Sauber had the ugliest car on the grid. Here’s to hoping next year’s livery is better, ’cause the driver lineup sure isn’t…

  12. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 24th December 2013, 12:18

    Bottas and Hulkenberg getting top 3 qualifyings in cars not capable of it was good. How about Grosjean finally shining? That was nice. Also Webber helmetless was fantastic! Hamilton’s Brazil helmet was really nice as well!

    Okay the racing was awful at times but it’s nice to see some decent things about F1 happening this year. Also the idea of now being able to throw a Red Bull around Imola or Brands Hatch is nice!

  13. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 24th December 2013, 12:22

    Highlight of the year?

    One word: doughnuts.

  14. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 24th December 2013, 12:40

    Nico Hülkenberg’s battles in Korea were the racing highlight for me; can’t think of any others. And I’m hoping a current F1 driver races at Le Mans again soon – maybe as part of a Ferrari squad…

    It’s the great, thoughtful articles like this one that have kept me coming back here, particularly in the off-season. Thanks Keith and everyone else who’s contributed this year. Have a great Christmas. Remember to drink.

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