I have often expressed my excitement and trepidation at Formula 1’s changing line up. A younger stream of drivers will mean different tactics and racing techniques. Namely, McLaren’s attitude will be different with Sergio Perez at the team in replacement of Lewis Hamilton; they no longer face the prospect of aiding two World Champions simultaneously.
To strike the balance between being an aggressive yet consistent driver is very difficult; Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean struggled in 2012. Rookies in particular can find this puzzling after all, you can’t win a championship without having that intuitive racing instinct – once that helmet is on drivers become, to quote numerous commentators, “men possessed”.
Compiling a list of drivers to watch is difficult, each has their own talent and experience thus making comparisons even between team mates in the same car a task. We of course greatly look forward to a rookie’s first attempt on the track. Valterri Bottas and Max Chilton have been quick in practice sessions. They will look to get themselves noticed as they compete alongside their experienced team mates.
Watch out for Sergio Perez in 2013; whilst I can’t promise that it will be a successful as Jenson Button’s I’m expecting him to have a steady season at McLaren. Three podiums at Sauber and a near win will give him the confidence that drivers very much need. He will know the pressure is on, Hulkenberg and Di Resta were also vying for that much coveted seat. I have already written about his realistic chances here: https://stoodonthepodium.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/can-perez-withstand-the-pressure/
I think that Perez will have what it takes, 2013 will be tough but will make him as a racer.
Despite finishing the 2012 Championship behind his team mate Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniel Ricciardo was the driver most noticed by the fans and commentators. Tipped to replace Mark Webber upon the Australian’s retirement, Ricciardo will need more consistent racing to prove his worth. He qualified in 6th position in Bahrain – on that same Sunday Vergne started 19th following a reprimand from the Stewarts. Expect a much more dominant display from him, after all if the departures of Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi is anything to go, this may be his final chance to prove himself worthy of a seat at the mighty Red Bull.
Jenson Button accurately described the 2012 season as ‘topsy turvy’ and right he was! This is especially true for two drivers: Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean who saw both saw more crashes than podium finishes. Maldonado’s win in Barcelona has put him on this list; he just needs to tone down the aggression. He has proved he can do it, even in a disappointing Williams. Similarly Romain Grosjean’s early podiums and Race of Champions victory secured him his seat despite a race ban. A fresh start will help him I’m sure.
As for Force India, Paul Di Resta may find the blow of losing the McLaren seat to Sergio Perez as a source of motivation, especially as his former team mate Nico Hulkenberg was close to securing a win in Brazil before a mistake cost him the twenty five points. Di Resta’s dominance in DTM and other lower tiers of racing (remember he did beat Vettel) proves that the raw racing talent is there. His lack of personality in interviews does unfortunately mean he is not as memorable as some of his peers. Perhaps a scandal may fix that? Just a suggestion!
Five drivers, all of whom need a positive 2013. I think this is attainable. It is however easy for me to say this sat at home before the testing and away from the factories. F1 is unpredictable and this is going to be the major mountain to battle.
Which drivers are you most looking forward to seeing rise up to podiums in 2013? Is your legiance with the champions (Vettel, Alonso, Button, Hamilton and Raikkonen) or do you favour those still fighting for theirs? Let me know by commenting below. Please note you do not need a WordPress account to do so.
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