The new Formula One season may still be over a month away, but the public preparations are now very much underway. After being holed up in their respective bases through the winter, 210 of the 11 teams that will take the grid for the first race in Australia on March 17 have now unveiled the cars they jope will bring them success in the coming season.
After Red Bull secured their third straight constructors’ and drivers’ titles, the unveiling of their 2013 car has long been keenly awaited. Last season was by far the toughest of Sebastian Vettel’s hat-trick of titles as the Red Bull struggled for raw one-lap pace in the first half of the season.
Although there are no major changes in the Formula One regulations heading into the new season, Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey has said that the team has been hard at work on the RB9, although refused to give too much away.
“RB9 is an evolutionary car,” Newey said at the launch.
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The unveiling of the new Ferrari car is always a hotly anticipated event. For a team in which winning is an expectation, there is a huge desire to end a run of what will be at least five years without a drivers’ title and six years since last claiming the constructors’ crown.
Fernando Alonso came agonizingly close to claiming the championship for Ferrari last year, but in truth it was only the Spaniard’s majestic abilities behind the wheel that masked what was, in truth, a car that was not on the same level as Red Bull.
Alonso will again be joined by Felipe Massa in the new F138, which is so named in reference to the year and the V8 engines, which the team will use for the last time.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domencali said the launch was “a starting point for a year with only one goal: To add to our wonderful history,” according to the Associated Press.
To mark its 50th anniversary, McLaren have unveiled their redesigned MP4-28 car striving for improved consistency. Last season was riddled with mechanical failures which prevented a concerted title challenge by either Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button.
“It’s a deep and sweeping re-design of an already successful chassis in several key areas – most notably around the nose and front suspension, the sidepod profiles and the rear bodywork,” McLaren said of their 2013 effort for which big things are expected.
After Hamilton’s high-profile switch to Mercedes, exciting young Mexican Sergio Perez will partner Button.
Lotus were the first to launch their 2013 car, the E21, and are targeting an improvement on their impressive 2012 season. Kimi Raikkonen finished third in the drivers’ championship, while the team came fourth in the constructors’ standings. But team principal Eric Boullier has said that he is gunning for a top three sport for Lotus this year.
The Lotus features the much-criticized step on the nose, with the team initially deciding against using a “vanity panel” which have been enabled by Formula One this year.
After a dismal 2012 season, Mercedes have unveiled the car that big off-season signing Hamilton will compete in alongside Nico Rosberg for the coming year. The team has also seen an overhaul at management level with Toto Wolf coming in as executive director, sparking speculation over the future of team principal and technical supremo Ross Brawn. But Brawn remains and says that the 2013 car will see a significant upgrade in aerodynamic performance.
Expectations are low for the W04, with Hamilton even conceding that he expects to have a tough first season. Much focus at the team is on 2014 when they expect to benefit greatly from new engines being brought into Formula One.
Swiss team Sauber have unveiled their new C32-Ferrari, which will house two new drivers in 2013. After Perez’s departure to McLaren, Sauber have replaced him with another Mexican in Esteban Gutierrez, while Nico Hulkenberg has come over from Force India in place of Kamui Kobayashi.
Sauber finished in the middle of the pack last season and are hinting that the new car, featuring slimmer sidepods and with a focus on tire management, could help the team can continue to move forward after the progress made in 2012.
Paul di Resta has yet to discover the identity of his new teammate, yet Force India have pressed ahead with the launch of the VJM05, which they hope will improve on their standing in the middle of the pack last season.
The new car features a vanity panel on the stepped nose, but, despite its similar appearance to the 2012 chassis, technical director Andrew Green has said that everything has been changed.
“It’s a brand new car from the ground-up—everything is new,” he said.
The sister team of Red Bull will be hoping that the STR8 can help them move up the Formula One grid after taking a step back last season. Both Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, have been kept on and Torro Rosso are hoping that the two young drivers will benefit from the experience of their first season with the team last year, which was also Vergne’s rookie campaign in Formula One.
Having finished 10th in the constructors’ standings last year, Carterham’s modest target is to close the gap on the teams running in the middle of the Formula One pack. The car continues to feature the uncovered stepped nose, while also having undercut sidepods.
Carterham have two new drivers for 2013, with Charles Pic moving over from Marussia to join rookie Giedo van der Garde.
There is plenty of optimism around Marussia, after a season in which they finished last of the teams still on the Formula One grid. Much of that hope comes from the fact that their 2013 car will feature the Kers power-boost system for the first time.
British rookie Max Chilton is currently the only driver announced.