FB's Big, Fat Review of the Year 2013


Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Vettel, tyres. Tyres,Vettel. Vettel.

What else can you say about 2013? Everyone got very excited in Australia when Kimi won but then Red Bull got going and the season was over. Alonso and Ferrari flattered to deceive and, despite winning a couple of races, never really threatened either title. This has to be the most dominant season for any driver since 1992 and everything went Red Bull's way. The continuation of the technical regs allowed the car to evolve, the choice of some of the teams to fit the tyres back to front meant Pirelli had to revert to the tyre construction which better suited their car and Vettel matured into the driver we all thought Lewis Hamilton would become, albeit with a sense of humour.

It really was a year for the No.1's at Red Bull and Ferrari as Webber and Massa never looked like challenging for a win without interference from the team. Who can forget "Multi 21 Seb, Multi 21". No, drive faster you chump, Aussie Grit my arse. At least Massa managed to find another drive for 2014 whilst Mark will be back flipping his way down the Mulsanne straight in an LMP Porsche next year.

Mercedes sort of justified the billions of Euro's the team has been thrown by Daimler Benz as they won 3 races. Nico Rosberg looked every bit as good a driver as Lewis Hamilton but the car really wasn't up to the job as it consumed it's tyres at an alarming rate allowing us all to chuckle at the increasingly irate "I've got not grip man", "The rears have gone man", "These tyres are shot man" radio messages. I sometimes wonder if Lewis has short term memory problems and can't remember his engineers name.

So that's all the winners, although there was only one real winner in 2013, but what about the also rans? Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg were probably the two "best of the rest". Romain managed to over come his crash kid reputation and Hulkenberg showed what he is capable of in car a long way form being the best on the grid. Why Nico II isn't in a top team next season is beyond me.

I though I'd mention McLaren, if only to snigger to myself at what must be one of their worst season in living memory (or since Peugeot engines). Without a star driver (Yes, I know Jenson Button has won a World title and quite a few races but he really not all that is he?) and some Mexican bloke they sacked at the end of the season McLaren were crap and didn't show any signs of knowing how to retrieve the situation. Martin Whitmarsh is probably safe all the time Ron Dennis is in charge but you have to wonder how long RD will be allowed to continue by his Middle Eastern pay masters if the F1 teams doesn't improve.

Elsewhere Force India managed to assemble the most workman like and mediocre driver line up on the grid with Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil there, presumably, to make Mercedes happy. Bet they weren't come seasons end. Doesn't appear FI were too impressed either as they have got shot of them both.

Estaban Gutirrez (approximate spelling) showed that to get ahead you should get a neck and, come the end of the season, almost looked like an F1 driver. Well done him, now off the endurance racing there's a good chap. But no, armed with a suitcase full of Pesos it looks like he might have wormed his way into a seat for next season.

Daniel Riccardo and Jean Eric Vergne continued with their interview for the second seat at Red Bull and Riccardo won out. Wonder if JEV had just had his teeth whitened one more time then the drive could have been his. Ho hum, a submissive and pointless Australian backing up Vettel, plus ca chnage plus c'est la meme chose.

In case you didn't notice there were three other teams on the grid Caterham sacked the bloke most likely to do anything significant with their car for a bean pole Dutch man and some French bloke I'd never heard of before he sat in the car and hope to never hear of again. Marussia had a British driver - HOORAY! It was Max Chilton - BOO! Max finished every race, usually last and a long way behind his team mate. Do us a favour lad and pop off to BTCC where your money will buy a competitive car and we can see you racing your brother. Jules Bianchi meanwhile looked quite good until everyone noticed and then he became crap. At least he has managed to get Ferrari engines for the team next season so not such a bad idea to keep him on.

And then there's Williams. The team I grew up loving as Alan Jones slayed the evil Nelson Piquet. Through the 80's and 90's Williams were THE team and now they have some mad Venezualan bloke and a fat Finn. At least Bottas looks like he can drive a bit and Maldonado's money kept the team alive. Fingers crossed Massa will do well there next year but, somehow, I think he will be as shit as he was at Ferrari.

So, Vettel won the title at a canter. He set new records winning the last 9 races. He was, without doubt, the class of the field and the Red Bull RB9 was a peerless motor car (at least when the young German is driving it). Au Revoir 2.4 litre V8's and welcome Turbo charged 1.6 litre V6 kettles. Roll on 2014 and, hopefully, closer racing, despite the interference of the FIA.
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The 2013 season will always be tainted for me. The FIA broke their own rules by allowing the tyres to be changed part way through the season. Red Bull had been complaining because they were having to compete so they moaned until they got what they wanted. I suspect that a certain small gentleman had a hand in this, he needed to get another record broken to kid people into believing that F1 is worth watching. Instead he turned it into a bore fest.
Yeah of course Bill Boddy it's the fault of the FIA and of course RedBull, Pirrelli had no hand in this at all by using cheap material and a bad construction for the tyre.
You seem to forget what happened in Silverstone or maybe you wanted that to continue?

However the FIA is doing a good job to taint the 2014 season with their ridiculous point system. In a way it was looking to be the best season in years, they had to do something.
Actually the tyres were changed mid season because there was a massive fan uproar about them from Spain to Silverstone onwards. Then when the change was made and Red Bull were all the better for it the same fans were moaning about that.

Let us not forget that Red Bull were pretty much dominating before the tyres changed anyway.
The belt had to be changed, nothing else. The uproar was due to the tyre failures not their race performance.

If RBR were so dominating why is it that during the first eight races Vettel won three, but from Germany to the end of the season he won all but one. At least under the 2013 tyres there were other winners, under the the replacements there was only one. Now that is dominance, but it was achieved by the FIA breaking their own rule about not having rule changes during the season except on safety grounds.
Can I point out Vettel and Red Bull won more races in the second half of 2009 and 2010 as well without any rule changes. Its a pattern that Vettel (and Red Bull) perform better in the races that are staged later in the year.

Plus if you throw in the fact that but for an engine failure Vettel would have won the British GP it would have been 4 out of the first 8 and that in those first 8 races he managed to win more races than anyone else did all season and was a country mile ahead by that time in the championship anyways and trying to claim the dominance was down to the rule change is mostly sour grapes.

Red Bulls dominance came from them being consistantly good and their rivals conspiring to get in each others way. Merc had a great qualifying car but it ate tyres in the race meaning more often than not they were high up the grid and slowing the chasing pack. Ferrari failed to take advantage when they had a good car and when it started to drop off the pace Alonso lost interest and stopped showing up for quali. The team from Enstone had a mid season dip and by the time the car came back to form Kimi had decided no money meant no effort which left Grosjean to do battle by himself and he did try!

All that and the fact Vettel/Red Bull turned up week in week out and consistantly performed is why they were dominant. Tyres be damned.
You could also throw in the fact that but for a tyre failure Hamilton would have won at Silverstone.

The main reason the Ferrari dropped off was that the tyres which they had used to advantage in Spain were no longer available, having been replaced by tyres which were much more suited to the RBR.

Vettel might still have won the WDC by a large margin but there is the chance that other teams could have challenged him at a number of the races.
RasputinLives - Vettel won the last 9 (NINE) races, and 10/11 after Silverstone. This was not the pattern beforehand.

The Lotus and Ferrari were kind on tyres and thus challenging on a race-by-race basis. Mercedes were challenging in the other races.

Before the "random" tyre failures, the Championship was sewn up, but not each race.
You see the problem is you have no way of knowing what Red Bull would have done if the tyres hadn't changed and when I hear things like 'its because the FIA did this and its all because of that' it just smacks of sour grapes.

The rules were the same for every team and basically the second half of the season was a combination of Red Bull doing a great job and rest of them dropping huge clangers. It wouldn't have made a difference if the FIA had changed the rules mid season so that they had to run on Weasels stuffed with pork pies instead of tyres, Red Bull would still have been head and shoulders above the rest.

No one else was near them and Ferrari started going backwards after Spain before the tyres changed anyways. The Mercs were inconsistant at all times and whilst Enstone were closest it didn't help that one of their drivers was in dispute with the team.

Using phrase like 'forever tainted' is just plain silly.
Was there a 'fan uproar'about tyres up to Silverstone? I remember more of a media uproar as it got F1 into the news headlines. I'm not that convinced there's many ways for fans to roar up, short of complaining a bit on forums, and on here at least I felt the response was quite muted with some thinking Pirelli had just designed the tyres they were asked to design.
It is very easy to dismiss the achievements of Vettel and the Red Bull boys but, as RasputinLives points out the rules were the same for all. It's not as if Red Bull had the advantage of an in house developed engine as the power units they were using were bolted into the back of three other team's cars on the grid.

Personally, I blame the teams for the need to change the tyres mid season as they were running them back to front, at lower pressures than they were recommended and at camber angles outside of the suppliers guidelines, all in an attempt to sneak an extra hundredth of a second here and there rather than addressing fundamental problems in the design of the cars they had built. We saw failures on Mercs and at Ferrari and these were the main potential challengers to Red Bull so if the change in the tyre construction was the problem they have no one to blame but themselves.
Toto Wolff indicated that Mercedes in particular had over-solved the tyre issues, and that Red Bull got it right. besides, I am fairly sure that one team alone cannot get the rules changed, and I seem to remember that the criticism of the tyres was consistent from race one, so no matter the changes made, the noise seems unabated.
We all know that Mercedes undertook 'tyre testing'. Not once, but twice, allegedly! As did another team, allegedly, which will remain nameless.

So I would say the rules didn't stand a chance this year. It's all smoke and mirrors and Bernie 'creating a spectacle'. What BE/FIA don't seem to realise is that with less interference and a faith in the teams' ability, there would be a close approximation to 'proper racing'.
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much as I doubt it will happen, I dearly want Massa to recapture his 2008 form (remember that year-6 wins, 2nd in the WDC?). Williams is in dire need of a vast improvement, otherwise I am truly afraid that the 2014 season may prove to be their last.
I do know one thing for sure and that is that Mercedes won all of their races after the illegal tyre test and before the tyres were changed bearing this in mind it would have been a travesty if the tyres hadn't have been changed and Merc had gone on to win the championship..
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