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


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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

  1. foleyger (@foleyger) said on 24th December 2013, 23:43

    My top 10 moments in no particular
    1. Webber without his helmet
    2. Raikkonen not getting paid
    3. Bottas (Montreal) and Hulkenburg (Monza) in qualifying
    4. Pirelli’s tyres at Silverstone
    5. The truck that came onto the track at Korea
    6. Greenpeace demonstration at Spa
    7. Vettel v Webber at Sepang
    8. Hamilton driving through Mclaren’s pitbox in Malaysia
    9. Vettel’s 9 race winning run.
    10. Vettel’s celebration at India and Interlagos.
    2013 after the summer break was awful boring. Before the break, It was reasonable.

  2. Arki (@arki19) said on 25th December 2013, 3:49

    Well into Christmas Day here so Merry Christmas to everyone and thanks for your dedication @keithcollantine in producing this awesome site!
    I have not watched/followed F1 for AGES so there was a lot of stuff for me to experience and get my head around in 2013.
    Radio. It took me quite a few races before I could actually even understand what was being said (except for Webber who has no accent). The amount of instructions the drivers are given was an eye opener for me; it makes sense I suppose given the multitudinous amount of telemetry involved but it is rather disappointing that they are told what to do all the time.
    The stand out moments for me are when Lewis Hamilon replied to his engineer that he couldn’t go any slower and when Sergio Perez was trying to pass Jenson Button at Bahrain. Fascinating stuff.
    Tweets. Those Lotus guys are amusing but sometimes go to far and I expect most of you serious types find the tweets of drivers and their pets hideous but I absolutely adore them! My favourite are Valterri Bottas and cat. So adorable!!
    Engine Freeze. I know the financial situation is bad but this is supposed o be the pinnacle of motor sport! What’s more new aero updates are brought to just about every race. (I did not realise till about race 3 or 4 that this was the current situation in F1)
    Fernando Alonso. He does some amazing things on the track – inspiring stuff. But then I start reading up on precious stuff he was (or possibly was) involved in. Still, for me this sport will always be about the drivers, and characters like him are what will keep me watching.

    Before you reply rudely, I have been hiding under a rock for a number of years so sorry if I am irrelevant.

  3. Arki (@arki19) said on 25th December 2013, 3:50

    Oh and the best thing about Formula One in 2013 – no big, injury inducing crashes!

  4. Nice article and of course always cause for a lot of disagreement. :-) What I don’t understand is how a loaded rookie getting pay-seat in a low tier team is among the best things of the season while McLaren darng to hire an unsupported super talent doesn’t get a mention….

    • Robbie said on 26th December 2013, 15:03

      Perhaps it is just that said super talent has yet to prove himself on an F1 track and so comment must be delayed until we see how he does, whereas this year Keith has commented on a driver’s actual actions.

  5. Paul (@frankjaeger) said on 25th December 2013, 13:03

    I really didn’t like Rush. Of course I appreciated the history lesson (though somewhat jaded) on the Lauda/Hunt era, but I really couldn’t swallow how hollywood it was. Really took the life out of it for me and would of preferred something a more accurate portrayal.

  6. Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 26th December 2013, 13:05

    Maybe we should of had a vote or poll for this. I know 2013 wasn’t exactly the greatest season, but resorting to picking on Korea for not getting a race next year after all their investment and trouble as a personal highlight… That’s scraping the barrel.

  7. Somethingwittyer (@somethingwittyer) said on 27th December 2013, 4:55

    Forgot to mention Bottas making Maldonado look like a fool, Vettel’s burnouts/WDC celebration and the German GP. To me it had the best ending of all the races this year.

  8. Garns (@) said on 29th December 2013, 12:49

    A year of two halves (the ‘mid year break’ seems to imply that really :))

    The first half I thought pretty good and hoping Fernando could maybe squeeze some more from that horse- he could not. He was dissapointing in the last, say 8, races (mostly) that he seemed to give it up, yes has a slow car but this is the first time in a few years ALO was not my ‘driver of the year’ – very sad in my mate Marks last year!!

    Seb was awesome!! I have not seen that domination since 1992 with Nigel Mansell (with a car WAY faster than the pack than the Red Bull) or even my all time fav Ayrton, but no disrespect to Mark, Senna had Prost next to him at the time- no slought!! Ok maybe The Shu as well, but thats a given :)

    The lost of Maria really our first since 1994 with Senna- hard to say 18 months after her crash but it looks like sustained from her injuries- obviously the low light!!!!!!!

    Dan getting a top drive awesome!

    Nico not getting a top drive sux!!

    Kimi to the Horse really exciting for us F1 fans- gloves are off for the first time in a LONG time (Webber V Vettel the gloves never really come off did they??)

    Romain stepping up was great- I hope he keeps it up!

    Perez sacked was shocking! I think a bit hard considering the dog they made and I think he done ok against Jenson!!

    Sutil to stay and Paul to go a hard call- personally I think Adrian can feel a bit lucky there, but best of luck to him.

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