Hopes and fears for the 2013 Formula 1 season

In just a few hours, the new Formula 1 season will begin with practice 1 in Australia.

The winter months are an odd time to be an F1 fan. There are those that say that F1 is a soap opera that is occasionally interrupted by races. In winter, there are no races. It’s all soap opera.

As with every year, there has been the usual winter spectacle of testing. This is usually accompanied by F1 journalists loudly harrumphing that you cannot read anything into testing. Those same journalists then read bibles worth into tiny details, feeding the voracious demand of the F1 fans that put their dinner on the table.

Anaglyph glasses

This year the hype around testing reached truly hyperbolic levels. FOM filmed it, the first time they have ever done so. Sky even took their own cameras to provide three dimensions of bluster.

Still, the refrain from teams, drivers, journalists, and even fans, is that we won’t know anything until qualifying is finished this coming Saturday.

So I won’t attempt to predict what will happen in Melbourne, and I certainly won’t be predicting anything about the championship. But I still have some musings to make. I have no knowledge. But for each team, I have some hopes and fears.

Marussia F1 Team

Man examining fan of Langley Research Center 16 foot transonic wind tunnel

Hope
Marussia will start to move up the grid, benefiting from having their first car to have been designed with the aid of a wind tunnel from the very beginning.
Fear
After rejecting Timo Glock and Luiz Razia for financial reasons, Jules Bianchi will turn out to have neither the skill nor the money to justify his place in F1.

Caterham F1 Team

Hope
Charles Pic will be the star driver among the tailend teams.
Fear
Caterham will continue their steady decline and slip behind Marussia.

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Hope
António Félix da Costa will become a Toro Rosso race driver mid-season and continue his meteoric rise.
Fear
Toro Rosso will slip into the clutches of Caterham and Marussia.

Williams F1 Team

Pastor Maldonado Monaco 2012 Crash

Hope
Valtteri Bottas will justify the hype, despite not having raced for over a year.
Fear
Pastor Maldonado will continue to have scrappy races, counterbalancing Bottas’s good results.

Force India F1 Team

Adrian Sutil

Hope
Force India will continue to punch above their weight and occasionally give the bigger teams a run for their money.
Fear
The return of Adrian Sutil will result in a never-ending stream of unfunny stabbing jokes, while also providing the irresistible temptation to make your own unfunny stabbing jokes.

Sauber F1 Team

Hope
Nico Hülkenberg will be the star driver of the midfield.
Fear
Sauber’s car will continue to be inconsistent, preventing Nico Hülkenberg from fully demonstrating his talent.

Mercedes F1 Team

Magic8ball

Hope
We will finally find out whether Nico Rosberg is a great driver or just average.
Fear
The heavy-handed manipulation from Mercedes in Stuttgart will lead to this team becoming the new Honda (which is especially unlucky, considering it’s actually the same Brackley-based team).

Lotus F1 Team

Kimi Räikkönen, United States Grand Prix, Austin 2012

Hope
Lotus’s testing pace will translate to the racetrack, leading to the occasional great result.
Fear
Lotus’s unreliability in testing will translate to the racetrack, leading to mountains of dull jokes about Kimi Räikkönen eating ice cream. #YouAreBoringAndYouKnowIt

McLaren

Hope
Sergio Pérez will repay the trust McLaren have shown him, even if there are some bumps along the way.
Fear
McLaren will struggle to get to grips with their car, in a similar fashion to Ferrari in 2012.

Scuderia Ferrari

2012 Canadian Grand Prix Fernando Alonso Ferrari F2012-02

Hope
At long last, Fernando Alonso will have the machinery to match his talent.
Fear
Felipe Massa will fail to justify his continued presence at Ferrari.

Red Bull Racing

Hope
Sebastian Vettel will be in the running to win his fourth Championship in a row.
Fear
Helmut Marko will open his trap at some point.

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