Connect with us

Phuket

Phuket Sports: Truth, tyres and tall tales – F1

Published

 on 

PHUKET: The 2013 Formula 1 rules are much the same as last year, so slower teams have had a better chance to copy and catch-up in the off-season rather than have faster teams increase their lead with innovations. But the new Pirelli tyres are going to degrade even faster than the 2012 versions. So I expect a very close season.

Pre-season testing of the teams’ new cars in Spain is over. The top ten results in order were: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Jenson Button (McLaren), Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber), Kimi Räikkönen (Lotus), Paul di Resta (Force India), Pastor Maldonado (Williams), Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Valtteri Bottas (Williams), Charles Pic (Caterham).

What to make of it? Are the results and comments to the media indicative of relative rankings or of crafty camouflage? They are both. F1 teams play their cards so close to their chests that they are nailed on. They may not have used their latest gizmo’s to keep progress up their sleeves, and they could have over-fuelled their cars to slow themselves down. One thing is certain; we are in for some shocks. Following is what I guess.

Red Bull was slower than Mercedes and Ferrari in Spain, and Red Bull faces looked very worried. Perhaps they had taken excellent acting lessons, but I think they are terrified by Ferrari’s progress. I think Vettel will be lucky to make the podium in Melbourne.

Ferrari looks like the team to beat in Australia, and maybe for the season. If they really have a car to match Alonso’s skill, they will be formidable. Barring accidents, he should be on the podium.

McLaren had difficulty with the new Pirelli tyres in Spain. The 2013 tyres have been designed for hot circuits, and Spain was cold. I would not be surprised to see Button on the podium in Melbourne with Alonso.

Despite Nico Rosberg being fastest in testing, I would be surprised if Mercedes managed a podium finish in Australia. They were far behind last season. Lewis Hamilton is a great driver, but I fear that history will say that in changing his colors he cashed in his birthright for a mess of Euros.

Kimi Räikkönen and Lotus will be asking tough questions too. They were not at their technical best in Spain, but expect them to be in the points in the first race, and Kimi would be a good outside bet for a podium position.

Sauber may not have their tyre wear sorted out for Australia. I suspect Williams and Force India will both be happy if they end Melbourne with two cars each in the points. And a newly revamped Caterham would love a point.

Melbourne is a cool street circuit. The cars run with high down force, and it has a bit of mystery about it. Practice sessions tell little; the track starts very green, and evolves fast over the weekend as rubber gets laid down.

After Melbourne, the circus will head to Sepang, where the track is notorious for flooding and upsets. But Alonso, Vettel, Button and Räikkönen all feel at home, and Sergio Pérez did so well last year. Shanghai was Schumacher’s only win for Mercedes last season and then it’s Bahrain where politics overshadow sport, but both are hot. At Catalunya, the race last year looked like a dodgem circuit littered with broken cars. Then it is Monaco where anyone can win who qualifies well, and it’s the high point of the social calendar. Silverstone is at midsummer, and that’s always a great race.

Nürburgring is early July. Initially announcing 20 races for this year, the FIA then scrapped the New Jersey Grand Prix. The circuit will not be ready to host its inaugural race. There was talk of filling the space with Turkey, dropped in 2012 following a disagreement over fees. Austria and Portugal were also mooted. But we now know that the July 21 date will not be filled, leaving a three-week gap between the German and Hungarian Grands Prix.

Neither of these races inspires me much, but the next three are magic: Spa in August, Monza in early September, and Singapore later that month. Spa and Monza are fast hard tracks that can change the face of the championship. Monza is also the jinx circuit – win at Monza and lose the championship! And Singapore is becoming a circuit to rival the social position of Monaco.

Then it’s a mediocre Korean GP and on to Suzuka for the Japanese GP, always one of the great races of the year. India tends to disappoint, but Abu Dhabi in November will be splendid. And if the season is as tight as I think it will be, the winner will not be decided as they head to Austin for the US GP. That was wonderful last season, entertaining and classic. The year ends as always in Sao Paulo. That will be November 24.

A whole year to look forward to. Lies now, truth by Sao Paulo – a splendid prospect!

The Australian Grand Prix starts at 1pm on Sunday and will be shown at The Green Man (click here for details).

— The Digby

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Video8 hours ago

Timeline of the mass shooting in Thailand

Crime9 hours ago

Finnish CEO detained for alleged mistreatment of 1,100 Thai berry pickers

Thailand9 hours ago

Thailand News Today | No drugs detected in system of daycare center killer

Sponsored17 hours ago

5 reasons why Thailand educators shouldn’t miss Bett Asia in Bangkok this year

Myanmar10 hours ago

Burmese junta sentences Japanese journalist for sedition and other charges

Thailand10 hours ago

Thai woman & foreign men charged for child sex trafficking in Pattaya

Guides10 hours ago

10 strange laws to be aware of in Thailand

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand10 hours ago

Love rat Thai soldier threaten’s Israeli husband of adulterous wife

Best of10 hours ago

Outstanding halal restaurants in Bangkok

Pattaya11 hours ago

Pattaya dwellers want public restrooms built faster at pier

Thailand11 hours ago

No Buddhist temples willing to cremate body of daycare centre killer

Phuket11 hours ago

AI upgrade planned for pier in Phuket

Medical12 hours ago

When snakes strike, why not call for the chicken-ass squad?

Crime12 hours ago

Massacre in Thailand: No drugs detected in system of daycare centre killer

Thailand12 hours ago

Woman’s body in suitcase identified as Lao millionaire

Crime12 hours ago

Massacre in Thailand raises questions on gun control

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending