F1 Winter Break
End of several eras as curtain falls on 2013 Formula 1 season
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Nov 2013   |  5:57 pm GMT  |  290 comments

The Brazilian Grand Prix brought the curtain down on the 2013 season, one that promised a lot at the outset, but ultimately ended up a very one sided championship.

How to sum up the season?

It was the end of an era in many respects; the last race for V8 engines, the last race for Mark Webber and possibly a few others who don’t know it yet, like Paul di Resta, depending on driver market movements in the coming weeks.

It was the last race, for the moment at least, for Cosworth engines and Felipe Massa’s last race for Ferrari. And maybe Ross Brawn’s last race at the helm of Mercedes. If so, will he return in a different shirt?

These – apart from the change of engine formula – are the normal comings and goings of a sport which is like real life on fast forward, always restless and changing.

The real question is, will the 2013 season be looked back on as the end of the Sebastian Vettel/Red Bull era, or just a staging post?

The 2013 cars today are instantly obsolete as new rules for 2014 now come into force, with cars with different aerodynamic regulations built around the new hybrid turbo powertrains. The teams will have little time to rest up after a gruelling season, as testing begins at the end of January, so new cars have to be built over the winter. Some teams will get it right and some will get it wrong.

The end of the V8 era is met with mixed feelings by many fans and insiders. The teams feel the brunt of the extra costs of the powertrains and of developing new cars to accommodate them. In a post recession environment where sponsor cash is still scarce, especially outside the top teams, this is a problem. Quite a bit of what has happened this year can be explained by teams shoring up the finances in the face of 2014 expenditure.

The rise of pay drivers and the lack of car development from a number of teams are linked to that.

Renault ended the V8 era on top with a win, as they did the V10 era. They also won the first V8 race in 2006, and have won the last four world championships among their 12 championships in total.

The 2013 season came to an end in much the same way as it had been played out since the summer; with Vettel, Red Bull and Renault in the ascendant. They continued to throw significant development at the car, particularly in the diffuser area, in tandem with engine mapping steps.

Vettel ended the season with 397 points, a new record in F1, beating his own record of 392 from the 2011 season. His points were sufficient on their own to win Red Bull the constructors’ championship; runner-up Mercedes closed with 360 points.

Mercedes are delighted with second place as it shows clear progress, but it wasn’t arrived at without controversy; the secret Pirelli test in May was one of the seasons most controversial moments. The team went on a winning streak soon after, but the FIA International Tribunal ruled that the FIA, Pirelli and Mercedes were equally culpable for mixed messages and the team was found to have acted in good faith, so no significant punishment was levied.

Vettel’s win at Interlagos was the 13th of the season and as the German is believed to be on a bonus of $1 million per victory.

He has not only broken new records and raised the bar with his fourth world title at the age of 26, but he has clearly improved a lot in all areas as a driver during 2013 and worryingly for the others, he’s still to enter the period generally considered the peak for Grand Prix drivers which is 27-32.

Red Bull scored 596 points, which means that their entry fee to the FIA will be $4.07 million next season!

Each team must now pay a basic $500,000 entry fee, with the constructors’ champions paying $6000 per point scored and every other team paying an extra $5000 per point.

In contrast after McLaren’s worst season since 1980, the Woking team will pay just $1.1 million. But their fifth place in the constructors’ championship will mean that they lost out significantly on prize money. They ended the season with one record at least; “McLaren became the first team in Formula 1 history to have both its cars classified in every grand prix during the season,” according to the team.

All of this, and the behind the scenes stories from throughout the season, are covered in the new JA on F1 2013 book, which will be published on December 7th, priced £10-99. With a Foreword by David Coulthard and stunning photos from top F1 phoographer Darren Heath this limited edition book has lots of new written content looking back on the happenings and setting the stories in context.

Every copy ordered through this site will be personally signed by me. Copies will be despatched on December 7th in plenty of time for Christmas. To order yours and to be sure of getting a copy click on this link: JA on F1 2013 Book

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So sad to see V8s go, hopefully V6s will be just as good.


I was sad to see the V10s go, but at this stage, something has to happen!

The season seemed good, up until the few tire tests, initially, ridiculously, Mercedes, and then, less so, Red Bull; then the change to the formula, at the tires...

By the full implementation of that nifty 'tilting' mechanism that Gary Anderson figured out, and nobody could really sustain any meaningful challenge to the Vettel-Red Bull package.

And it DEFINITELY HAS become boring, by now; I'm glad to see an opportunity for its passing.

A new formula, but the same obsessive, incredibly financed (even the smallest team, is spending weirdly, millions of dollars), psychotic or neurotic, depending on what side you look at it from, 'sporting endeavour' (of some sort).

Looks like Force I got the steal of the last twenty years, off the drivers market, because of the plethora of well-needed pay drivers, crowding out the race car drivers, not good; but because of this deplorable state of affairs:

Hulk and Perez!?!

At this late stage of the season?!?

They'll have their best season yet, at that team, if they can make a car as competitive as the 2013.

Looking forward to seeing Massa in a climbing Williams team (but the move on Lewy was... about the least flattering thing that that particular Finn has done in F1, very, very reminiscent of an (thankfully) ex-Williams driver; I hope it isn't contagious.

Of course the call on Lewy was... well, from someone, not in the fawning Lewy-loving multitudes on Mother England, that call was, very ripe; but let's not forget the sulphuric bad kharma cloud put out by that team, and maybe this is just 'what comes around'.

Looking forward to what Ferrari can come up with, both chassis and engine, and the coming battle of fire and ice; which could be the best spectacle of the 2014 season.

They say there'll be blow outs and unreliability: of course, almost any amount of blow outs and unreliability will seem like a lot after the past few years; measured by that, there is indeed likely to be a few, but I don't think it will be as much as expected.

Will Red Bull continue to use all these clever little tricks, for example, if they got away with the tilt mechanism this year, why not full gangbusters for next year, and perhaps the defining advantage?!?


Just about the most unreadable thing i've ever tried to read. Well done!


"Held his line" ... sounds so strong, like it's a pitched battle or something. Bottas held his line, and was punted from the race. And all for what? He was never going to pass Lewis around the outside there, and he was too far alongside to attempt a switchback.

I'm sure he wishes he had just moved over into the space that was available, and been able to finish the race ahead of Pastor. Bet he also wishes that the team had told him that he was a lap down on the car ahead, during the run down to Turn 4. I'm sure that would've had an effect on his driving in that situation.

There are no laneways on an F1 track ... it's not like us who travel on highways and would have a reasonable expectation that someone would not move into our lane when it was not safe to do so. For Bottas, he would have had a reasonable expectation that Lewis might try to move back towards the racing line before taking the corner, but he also would've had the expectation that Lewis would leave him a car's width of space in which to operate. In both instances, Lewis did nothing that could be deemed as unexpected by Bottas.


Rubbish. Bottas held his line. Lewis turned into him. To state anything other than that is lunacy.


Having recently seen clips of the 2005 cars testing, I can honestly say that, for me, the v10s are missed much more than the v8s will be. I also think that, for the television audience, the change will be much less traumatic than for those that can attend races in person.


Couldn't agree more. I first saw an F1 car via the Euro 3000 series at Brands Hatch. I believe it was a 1995 Benetton but i could be wrong. The sound of it literally made my body shake as I found it hard to digest the sound. I was 12 at the time.

A couple of years later i attended the 2004 British GP and sat at copse. The revving of a full grid at the start gave me chills.

Before now I would have said there is nothing like hearing an F1 car at full pelt or revs in person. Its a literal moving experience. But as we go into this era I wonder if it'll have the same effect on people.

I understand why F1 is doing this change but I think it'll hurt the spectacle of the car themselves BUT if it gives us better racing then I have zero complaints.


I don't like the V10s or V10s so much. Engines revving so high sound like settings Bernie Ecclestone with his hair on fire.

I very much prefer the grunty sound of the lower revving turbo engines from the 80s:






Thanks heaps for sharing these. I love this sound too. If the new engines are anything at all like I think everyone will be happy.


I miss the V10s, massive torque and power. These V8's have been too peaky


Is it true that Chilton finished every GP in his rookie year? I must admit I pay little attention to what happens outside the points positions.

...I wonder. How fast would F1 cars be today if F1 kept the V10s 8 years ago?


I wonder how much more reliable the cars were because they've never had a season where they've been driven so conservatively over the full race distance, due to the tyre preservation requirements?


Nobody was required to preserve tyres. They chose to do so rather than pushing hard and making extra stops. The teams can only blame themselves for that, especially since they tested the 2013 tyres at the end of 2012 and said that they were fine. Not Pirelli's fault.


I see your point but the softs were often so short on life they couldn't thrash them enough to gain a pitstop on everyone else.

Though it appeared from time to time that there was so much uncertainty, some people backed off too much and then had plenty of tyre life at the end in a light car.

I hope a good balance can be found well away from the 2013 tyres but also well away from those rock hard boring Bridgestones where everyone was on the same strategy, and same grip. They need to get the balance right between the two compounds as well.


There was no option to do that!.

If you pushed hard, thermal degredation destroyed the tyres in a couple of laps to such an extent that there was only one option, to manage the tyre temps to keep it in in optimum operational range.

Can no one design a tyre that suffers just linear degradation. ie. faster/harder means less laps?


Not only the V10s, but all the aero bits they had until the end of 2008.

And the answer? Pretty bloody fast! 🙂


As long as we are going hog wild F1 has sounded terrible since the V16 BRM stopped racing. All other engines sound rubbish and the main thing about F1 is the sound. I don't even watch the feed. I just listen to the engine notes inbetween Brundle.


The V10's were epic and responsive -more so than the V12. 2005 was an awesome year and I will never forget the incredible talent on display by Raikkonen at the wheel of that Merc Powered MP4-20 (!when in didn't blow up that is )


@clarks4wheeldrift.. Thanks for sharing. Yeah agree the V10's and 12 always sound the best.But I actually dont mind the sound the V6 too much , maybe it's because I drive one with a great exhaust note. Let's see I think the Direction injection will be a bit deeper sounding again and to be honest I don't like the sound of any car revving its arse off at low revs and going nowhere--in this regard I think the new engines with ERS will negate this effect a lot. We'le just loose that sweet buzz in the upper range a bit.

Agree the earlier the V10's with 3.5 litres and 19000 rpm had that extra howl compared to 3.0 & 18000 rpm. But I think the evolution and balance in the cars by then was just about perfect and those engines were laser sharp!


The Merc V10 that Hakkinen and DC ran at Spa 2000 sounded amazing.

Like the other V10s but with the extra howl at top revs for some reason. May have been due to the crazy expensive titanium alloys etc that they were alllowed to use back then.

The V6's could sound a bit weedy...


compared to the V10 and V12s (start and 1:05)



Why the V10's? What about the glorious sounding V12's...


I think the V12 soundtracks were great.

But the V12s also come with more frequent engine blow ups! LOL

Ferrari's fame of going out in flames came from their poor engine reliability.


The V10s actually sound better than the V12s IMO. There was a musical but still banshee like scream to them the V12s slightly lacked.


1995 was the last of the Ferrari V12's, they sounded glorious and with a few years of development if we could have heard 19+k rpm it would have been out of this world, but no we'll settle for these V6's next year, so far the Honda sound these released sounded awful, maybe it won't be so bad when in the back of the car and on a track where noise bounce off te wall like Monza


The Ferrari website has an official output of 690bhp for the V12; somewhat less than the reported 750bhp for current V8 engines.


Very bloody fast 😉


Was Berger and Alesi the last to drive the V12's or was it Schumacher and Irvine? I cannot remember, but for me they sounded a lot better then they performed. The Renault V10 was king at the time.


I wonder that. V10s. Current aero rules. With blown diffuser


Kubica said a few years ago that if it was up to him he'd have V12 turbos, saying he'd make the cars as fast as literally possible, traction control, moving floors etc. so I think the best drivers would welcome way more power. It would sort the men from the boys. These v8s aren't even that much more powerful than gp2 engines. V10s 200+ more horsepower than the V8s and a load more torque, the pay drivers would be well and truly exposed. I miss watching raikkonen rag a 900+ hp V10 Mclaren on a quali lap


Mark Webber and Massa said recently that their favorite era of racing was with the V10s. If the V10 cars had DRS and KERS now that would produce good racing (as Webber suggested). When the commentators say how eau rouge and 130r used to a corner now its taken flat it makes me wonder why don't they tighten it and make it challenging again.


Unlimited power, let the drivers drive as fast as the car can go! No traction control, no automatic or semi automatic gearboxes, no aerofoils, no KERS. Tyres designed to last 75 laps, no intermediates just wet or dry. Double the amount of teams (same amount of cars) 1 car 2 drivers per team. From the grid highest point scorers start last. Prize money to be shared more equally. Now that's radical.


I don't think death is a problem, the tissue paper Pirellis will naturally limit cornering speeds, and won't last 3 laps.

Drivers will still have to "manage" their pace down in order to win races!


= Death.

I think that package would exceed limits of the driver. All that power and adhesion would not be fun for tire life either.

Were the 2005 V10s direct injected? They had to be, right?



Thanks for the refresh on the rules info.

I would imagine that today if allowed a direct injected 3L V10 would either be more effcient or more powerful, or both.

I the Audi/Lambo FSIs the only V10 out there in the wild today? Audi claims 13L/100km combined on those V10s, which I must say is pretty good for a V10. But that rating is probably the way our mom would drive it.


No, they were not. In fact direct injection was banned in the rules. The new V6 turbo engines will be direct-injected.


Yeh someone would've had an insane crash by now, and probably been killed.


No, it wouldn't. But a difference between good and great driver would be more visible, when you do 300km on a limit rather than cruising.


Season sum-up?

Thank the heavenly powers for JA.F1 . . .
The blog and its ‘thoughtful’ replies were a damn sight more entertaining than the racing itself.

James, please could you ban the use of ‘smileys’ for 2014 –
That’ll make this site even more followable . . .

Fan [mod] typographic angst fuels humour . . .


Personally, I would like to see the end of the +1 (or + number x) as replies to posts.

It adds nothing constructive to the conversation.

And no I fully expect people to +X this post in what is no doubt the most humorous thing


-42 x 14?




Suggest you clean up your own act Jock before you start giving advice to others 😉


I looked at a recent post and checked for smileys. I'm a significant offender, there is no denying it. I either trim it down or accept the horrendous wrinkes that will come as consequence of all this laughter and joy.

You should think about being so jolly happy all the time as well. It's probably not good for you a person to be that happy all the time.


Insert Joe Pesci into Bernie's position and cue the Goodfellas speach...Is Formula 1 here to amuse you? Make you laugh? It's funny how? Funny ha ha? The way I tell a story of Vettel domination? You find that funny?


I was quite surprised the first time I used ; - )(without the spaces) and it turned into ;-). If someone doesn't want us to use smileys, how come they automatically turn into those rather unsubtle yellow substitutes?


ROFLOL (I would have inserted a smiley in there too, but have no damned idea how to do it!).


Advice . . .?

It was more like a deferentially polite request.

Besides I only used the evil yellow discs once . . .

I believe it’s four times before a penalty is incurred.

[100% ebloaticon-free post]


Four times?

Man, I'm going to be serving penalties all year 🙁

Some of these other guys are right though; If we were talking face to face one or both of us might be smiling (or frowning for that matter). Using emoticons is just a way to represent that with text which is all but impossible to do otherwise.

Sure you wouldn't use them in something like business correspondence or an obituary (although I wouldn't completely rule out the possibility of that happening in say 20 years time), but suggesting they're banned in a fairly informal setting like this one is like saying that everyone down at your local race club must have their serious face on at all times whether they're joking or not.

To be fair to you sometimes they are overused and there is definitely a time for dryness and subtlety, but to be fair to us the fact that you find some of our comments a damn sight more entertaining than F1 means we must be doing something right (of course there's also the possibility that maybe F1 is doing something very, very wrong...)


Don't ban the smileys!! 🙁 Or the frownies for that matter 😉


In spoken words we often use inflection and tone to denote our comments as being tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic or humorous. It is harder to do in writing. Emoticons are a good way to add context and help avoid the misunderstanding with the more thin skinned reader.

Sure there are people to use emoticons as a language in itself. Thankfully most of them grow out of it.


If we were participating in an international forum on brain-surgery – or any other life-critical endeavour – I would have to agree.

However, interpretation of the high (and inconsequential) art of F1 machination is best left to the beholder. When meaning is ambiguous it’s always fascinating to see how many take a negative stance by default.


I'm one of the humour offenders, also fond of the 🙂

Are you suggesting there should be no humour in the comments? As in we should all be stiff and proper and dare not crack a smile or let a fart sneak out during a GP?

May I remind you that it is humour that has gotten us through the dark and difficult six grand prix which Vettel didn't win this season.


Please don't stop being funny Sebee, your posts saying we should all be grateful for Pirelli tyres are some of the funniest things I've read all year.


Well...to be honest I don't remember putting simley faces on those.

You've provoked me into repeating, but this really isn't Pirelli's fault, and in deed they took lumps, which I feel were not their fault.

If I tell you to make a wire with I can bend back and forth 500 times, you can do it with more ease than if I told you to make a wire that will bend back and forth 17 times exactly. FOM/FIA/F1 etc. were trying to achieve move pit action for number of reasons. I personally didn't mind the drivers stopping 4 times start of the season.

And I say to you again Andrew, poles were 1s faster than years prior, race distance time was same or faster even with more stops. Clearly the conslusion is we were going faster this year than 2012 or 2011 when no one was moaning much about tires.


Abundant humour by all means but . . .

emoticon = canned laughter – audience aid

emoticon = joke revealed – joke diminished

emoticon = wall-painting for the pre-literate

Take your pick . . .



As I've said over and over, RBR operates on close, blowout, close, blowout...pattern.

As a consequence, 2014 is going to be close, but my man will live up to the "V" in his name.


Don't worry @Jock. I'm thinking Sebee won't have too much to smile about in 2014 when Mercedes and Ferrari stop taking the Bull ... From Seb- Im at least hoping that's the case. And I don't notice too many sad emoticons when Sebs not winning he just gets indignant like the rest of us. i was torn between an emoticon and a lol there.damn it I'm turning into a "Shelbot "


Have all those instances of [mod] been due to smileys?!

I was thinking there were swear words, or terms negatively describing F1 people being used.


LOL - I agree ;D

What WOULD be good though are "Like" and "Dislike" or "Agree" and "Disagree" buttons so that we can simply single-click in agreement without the need to type a response when someone submits something that aligns to our own thinking (and vice versa). That might save a ton of pointless posts or the "+1"s that seem a popular method of trying to submit a quick agreement.

Definitely DO NOT stop the humour and irony. As pointed out, that is what has kept many of us in touch with F1 this year. Without JAonF1 and the many quality posts (heck, even the rubbish posts have humour in them) I would have been lost to F1 this year.


No smileys! Then when Seebe says this...

"May I remind you that it is humour that has gotten us through the dark and difficult six grand prix which Vettel didn’t win this season."

...without a smiley on the end, I'll think he's not joking...

I always thought it was:

emoticon = joke revealed for the minority two percent that are too clueless to get sarcasm till they see the smiley.

e.g. - Pirelli made awesome tyres this year. 😉


emoticon = funny comment and just incase it was a bit too risky smiley proves it was a joke so please don't call your lawyers.

e.g. - Pirelli made safe tyres this year. 😉


emoticon = cheeky comment with a smiley mainly so people don't go off on one with their replies.

e.g. - Equin0x is right, it's all Seb, Newey just likes to draw pretty pictures of cars 😉



Looking forward to the New Year then . . .

Remember, your replies are way more than good enough to stand by themselves.

It’s a win-win situation . . .

Those in the know will ‘get’ the subtlety of the humour and laugh outrageously.

Whilst those that don’t will vent indignant replies to the ‘slander’ provoking outrageous laughter from yourself.


I hate to sound all serious... but when devoid of facial expression and when working in a non-native language, emoticons can be incredibly important.

Used well, they replace the non-verbal and cultural clues that abound in the English language.

How else do you detect irony? (Is this post ironic?) (Or is that last comment the only ironic bit?)



I won't deny the fact that I've been rampant with the smileys. I'm way too old for them as well. Finally, my usage of them possibly cases a snowball effect.

Alright Jock, point taken. I'll take death of smileys under consideration as a candidate for New Year's resolution.


That [mod] is a banned word on the comments boards here!!


Apologies – will use ‘aficionado’ in future . . .

Omitting an emoticon should disguise the irony.




Is irony the same as silvery, just not so shiny ? ;-). Ooops sorry, I forgot - am I in trouble 🙁 or will you let me off with a warning? 🙂


From the context I'd imagine that it's a slang term which is a concatenation of of 'fanatic' and the word for a young male human.


[mod] = delamination


I'm dying to know what the word is!


James, thank you very much for all the work you have been doing. Reading your blog was the best thing about this season...which I hope I will manage to forget soon.

There is always hope that next year we will have a more competitive raicing, better tyres and other exceptional drivers winning.

I will always be curious what effect this season will have on the popularity of the sport and also statistics about viewers.


I was just telling a friend over the weekend how wonderful F1 is. 2 hours max, 19 times a year if you watch'em all - 38 hours total. Maximum 57 hours if you watch quali for each and every.

I said that to a football fan who watches at least 30 of the 4 hour events. And there was a hockey fan what catches about 70 3 hour games. I thought..I'm saving so much time watching F1, it's not even funny!

Of course, what I didn't tell them about was the additional 114 hours I spend here each year. Yup, I figure about twice the time of all the important F1 TV content supplied to us. This addiction is concerning.


Have to agree with you. Cricket is a favorite in my country and if I say the TV time of the matches, football or hockey would be 'no-match' for that. And Yes, JAonF1 takes double the time spent on TV for F1.

Avoiding use of smileys consciously.


See the power one guy can have? One guy shut down simleys on JAonF1 - just like that!

Imagine what we F1 fans could do if we banded together? Why...if all F1 fans everywere really hated DRS, and declared that there would only watch if DRS was out, guess what would happen? Mid season DRS out!

Guess why DRS is here in the first place? Remember what you answered on the FIA survey?


Don't worry - the football and hockey fans do WAY more hours than us. They also have blogs and chat sites that they get involved with and also those stupidly addictive online "Manager" games where, not content with watching their team get thrashed in mind numbingly boring matches each week they go online, pretend to be the team manager and watch their team getting thrashed all over again!

I also agree James - damned fine work with this site, with the interaction you have with us mortals, your reporting and behind-the-scenes insights, competitions (most of which I can't enter due to being on the other side of the world).

Here's hoping the major changes produce a more interesting season in 2014 and we get some sensible decisions taken on these stupid articial devices to contrive close racing (which haven't had the desired effect anyway). Give the drivers tyres that last the race and let them run hard. Give them fuel so they can run hard for the whole race. Take away more aero so they can run closer together. Give them steel brakes so the braking distances get significantly longer and we see corner-entry overtaking again.

Hope to see you in Melbourne when it all kicks off again on March 13. I have bought my tickets - a treat to the wife for remaining wed to me for 25 years (I know she deserves more but that's all she's getting for now). Merry Christmas everyone!!!!


Hahaha me too! I'm an F1 junkie - how my wife and kids put up with me I do not know!!!

I cant get enough of it watching every practise session, qualy and the race itself. Followed by surfing every F1 related website (even before I check my FB account!!)to find out all the gossip and read the many predictions of the sport 99% of which turn out to be untrue. But you can always rely on JA site to cut through the rubbish.

Brilliant season coverage James Keep it up! Thank God for this site during the off season.

Cant wait for Jerez testing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Same here lol! So looks like 19 weekends dedicated to just F1 from FP1 through post race. No other sport gives me the thrill though.


I do all of the above but then spend hours every week playing the F1 racing game on the computer to learn the tracks. I think my husband is sorry I ever started watching it with him because I've become much more obsessed than he ever was:)

Counting the days to Jerez testing and then the Australian GP - we already have tickets!


Well we are delighted you do!


That's mighty nice to hear.

Nice little soirée you've put together here James. Pleased to still be invited back.


The worry, to me, is this: before his recent dominance with Red Bull Racing, Adrian Newey was always deemed to be the best designer DURING A RULE CHANGE. Remember the introduction of grooved tyres and 1.80m-wide cars (down from 2 metres) in 1998?

So, while some people seem relieved that the blown-diffuser era appears to be over (I'll believe it when I see it), I fully expect RBR to be just as dominant in 2014. Good for them, but it's all getting a bit predictable...

I really hope I'm wrong.


It's probably the thought that will haunt every non-Vettel fan (including neutrals such as myself who admire the guy) over the winter. The fear that we will all turn on our TV screens in mid-March next year, see him take pole in Melbourne by 0.75s and dominate the race to win by 12-15sec, managing his pace the whole race.


Well one thing that doesn't work in Newey's favour is that Red Bull continued developing their car when everyone else had stopped developing and was concentrating on next year but time will tell if that's enough of a handicap


They can afford to pay more than one designer in Milton Keynes, you know? Also, they weren't the only team still developing the car during the season, they were just among the more successful teams in doing so.


Spyros, naughty, naughty boy, you really wish the commentators from the Spanish TV Network Antena 3 to have a nervous breakdown...

You may not believe this but there is a significant minority in Spain that wishes the same, but Hush! Don't tell anybody!


Maybe (and it's a big maybe) being a major engine change regulation, this is the least likely to provide Mr Newey with the opportunity to show his genius and make a car that is ridiculously quick. Most other major changes(including tyres) have been in some way or another aero related which is his speciality.


He also supervised the all-singing, all-dancing drive-by-wire 1991-1992-1993 Williams cars... which did have an aero element, since the car didn't move much over the ground, but there was a pretty substantial dynamic effect to it, too.

But that was some time ago now... so let's hope he falters a bit, just enough to make things interesting.


You're not.

Santa will bring you a nice purple F1 team kit and a I ♥ VETTEL sticker for your car bumper. Forgive the spoiler, but seems like you knew what he was bringing you already.


Hearts now? We are getting fancy 🙂


Hearts are fine, Emoticons are banned... remember.


First time I've used that symbols keyboard on my phone. Finally, good for something. Have to admit, it's one heck of a bumper sticker design idea.


I think Max Chilton finishing every race of the season - a first for a rookie - is admirable, although I admit starting at the back and avoiding the first corner chaos will have helped out here...


I suspect quite a few JAonF1 fans could "finish" every race too - albeit 20 laps behind the winner. All we need to do is keep to the slow lane and not get in the way of the other cars. Leisurely laps will put minimal strain on the car and parts, and that should ensure good mechanical reliability!


I would say its the biggest stat of how bad he is, he finished every race and not as fast as his team mate. I'd say he wasn't driving on the limit of the car or he would of put it in the barriers a few times to find the limit. I hope someone else has a chance in his car, but money talks. He doesn't deserve another season and I hope Marussia use the prize money to bring someone new to drive.


I reckon Marussia are quite pleased to not have to rebuild a car/ front wing every week or so. Aero parts aren't cheap. Gives me hope that they might let me have a go, as long as I promise to circulate slowly and not crash!


What I find more notable is the fact that one of the new teams has finally done it.

Normally they are littered with reliability faults!



Does this website ship the book to India?


JA: I have a couple of questions..We heard Ross Brawn in an interview saying that some of the performance advantage of red bull will carry over to the next year..Could you please shed some light on the same?? I understand that regulations on exhaust blowing in 2014 is very different from '13..So Red bull cars in '14 are going to be very different.aren't they??

Another is that with increased chance of Hulkenberg going to Force India and absence of PDVSA sponsorship money for Maldonado, would Lotus consider Perez??


I must admit, I did enjoy seeing a genuine good old fashioned engine go boom in Brazil, and thought Oz GP will be interesting for the engines and the blow ups.


What I liked about that 'boom' was that the billowing smoke finally made the coanda-effect visible, as the smoke trailed over the bodywork, behind the exhausts... not sure Lotus' engineers saw it quite like that, but it was a rare case of aerodynamics in F1 actually being interesting!


There will be some aero carryover, no exhaust blowing and different front and rear wings


James, do the teams get money back if an engine fails? We see the engine guys in the pits so they would know if the team are not following the recommendations etc. Is there a warranty of sorts and would the engines be treated like any other goods, ie, they have to last for the purpose they was made for. (consumer protection)


F1 engines aren't consumer products, so consumer protection does not apply. But of course teams may have contracts that include penalty clauses as well as bonuses with their engine manufacturer - that's completely up to them to negotiate.


No because the engines have been used before

Eight engines for 19 races


James, I think there will be a lot of retirements at the first race next year.


I hope so! We need a few more attrition-based races! Where merely getting to the finish gives you points - I think the 2008 Australian GP was the last of those (in fact, the last two points finishers retired before the flag! I was gutted for Bourdais! Anyway I'm digressing!). These days a high-attrition race still often has 15 cars running at the end! Credit to the teams, tyres and engine-builders for their sheer reliability. It's a weird one because I don't think I'd want to see reliability have a big say in the championship, but equally the odd retirement-a-thon may be welcome.


who had the most unreliable KERS this year? If they don't concentrate on its reliablity, its race over for them.


This is what everyone has been saying but I don't think that will be the case. Even last Sunday there was an engine failure so it is inevitable but it won't happen in large scale.


I think you are right!


With the cost of paying win bonuses to the drivers, and each point they get costing an extra $6,000 entry fee charge for next year, I wonder why as soon as the WDC and WCC was wrapped up, RBR didn't just employ a Skeleton staff to run the rest of the GPs they were obliged to do and save themselves loads of cash 🙂

Well, I know they wouldn't as they are a racing team, but out of interest, did they as a team benefit financially from those races more then it cost them?


Just send the bill to Vettel. It's his 9 wins in a row record and 13 wins in a season joint record.

Red Bull just need to set it off against the $13m++ that Vettel's entitled to for the wins.

Come to think of it, Vettel should buy each of his long suffering fans in JAonF1 a can of RedBull plus a signed autograph cap, for enduring a season long commentary from the anti-Vettel camp!


Let's face facts (there's two of them).

First, RBR is only there to promote the Red Bull drink and they only do that by winning.

Second, 4m for a guy like Dietrich Mateschitz is pocket change.


Not to bad for a drink produced in Thailand, and

DM bought the marketing rights


Each win creates another week of talk and prominent Redbull displays on TV, magazines and internet sites. Compared to the amount of money that would cost to buy that in conventional advertising.

Think of it this way, 25 points X 6k = $150k for a win. Verses a 30 second Superbowl commercial for $3M+. It's a bargain.


And yet I have never even tasted the stuff. And never intend to.


Second that.


You are Bernie Ecclestone and I claim my five pounds!


And that is why they do it. I remember reading an article a while back that mentioned that Red Bull's spend for the year was $260 mil (US) and the amount of airtime they got worldwide was $290 mil worth so, on that basis alone, they have made a profit.


I'm surprised they didn't sabotage Vettel's car in the last few races in order to save a significant amount of money! 🙂 I was worried in the last race or two that those poorer teams lower down who were relatively secure in their positions might hold back in order to save costs by reducing points scored. Glad we didn't see that.

John in San Diego

Thanks James for your always great reporting as well as running an interesting blog with intelligent comments, and your reporting on the Chequered Flag, and the JA on F1 podcasts.


I hate to be negative, but looking back over the season, it's difficult not to be.

For me personally, the main reason why I rate 2013 as the dullest, least watch-able season (I started watching in 1989) has little to do with Red Bull and Vettel, but is all about the tyres. When I watch motor sport in all it's forms, I want to see actual racing, not a tyre management exercise. Watching these incredible drivers tiptoeing around trying not to shred their rubber after 3 laps is stunningly dull. All the rule changes in the world won't make any difference if 2014 is still all about the tyres.

I seriously hope I'm wrong, and next year will be different, or I may be finally giving up on the sport altogether.


Wait till next year. The will have to manage tires, ers, fuel, engine life, gearbox life..... Last year was nothing.


I beg to differ. The last half of the season was by far the most boring period of any season since schumacher's heyday.

And the reason for this? Pirelli were forced to change back to 2012spec tyres which were far too safe! The best time of Pirelli's era was seeing when vettel would lose grip and others stood a chance. Knowing the tyres would not give up meant there was no uncertainty. F1 has always relied on failure to deliver excitement - that is why some want to go back to manual gearboxes.


You are so right, managing tyres may be for Raids like the long gone London-Sydney or even 24 Hours races but not for Formula 1!



I suggest you go and watch some races from the 80's, a decade that people seem to rave about for F1.



Too extreme? maybe.

But there is a fine line between too durable and not, personally I have no problem with Red Bull winning everything due to the tyres, but everyone was up in arms after Silverstone, so what was the answer?


You are absolutely right, my point was that the present situation is too extreme.

Nelson Piquet's first victory with the BMW turbo engine at Montreal 1982 was a master class in tyre management. (More over with an engine that was very far from delivering its power smoothly).



I wonder if an expert can analyze this. The Merc W04 was by far the fastest car over 1 lap until Hungary. If they were not having problems with their tyre degradation and we had the Bridgestone-type tyres of 2010 and not the Pirellis, would they have had a championship winning car in 2013?


No luck for McLaren at all! Their boys didn't even get the pleasure of a couple of early retirements to pack up early!

They should have told Perez to get his elbows out even more after Monaco.


Photo Caption:

Button: Mark, your so handsome with your chiseled jaw and scruffy beard. I'm gonna miss looking at you. In fact, the heck with this photo, I'm going to soak it in while I can.

Daniel: I'm driving the frikken RED BULL next year! Yeepeee. Hope my smile doesn't create flash glare.

Lewis: I feel a panalty coming on.


Flash glare: Ricciardo's secret weapon against Vettel.


Nice try but Seb's F1 mirrors are just too small to reflect a distracting flash glare smile.

(no smiley added due to guilt and confusion over usage)


Damn that Jock, he's given everyone a smiley complex.

If it feels good, do it! 🙂


Hey...is Lewis drifting toward Bottas in that photo?


Clearly Bottas has a few pixels of space on the left of the photo to move into.


Anyone know if the 2014 cars will be minus the airbox like the turbo cars in the 80s?


It encorporates the roll hoop so some kind of airbox will remain on te car.


The air-box will still be there, if only for the sponsors as Trevor said (the same reason we have freaking huge side walls on the rear wings 😉 ). It's still very difficult to find a decent image of what the cars will look like, but try this one:


Frankly more worrying is this...



I hope so - I liked the look of the turbo cars.

It also makes sense because the air box blocks clean airflow to the rear wing.


I doubt it - lose all that lovely space to add a sponsor's logos...



In the winter season please can you do an article about the effect of various tyre types on strategy on race day. It would be so good to hear some others view on this as well, say Michel Schumacher or Ross Brawn who both raced and worked on strategies in the Bridgestone and Pirelli era's. What we need is some sensible input about what the effect of durable tyres would have in the non-refuel era we are in now and how a theoretical addition of refuelling to the short lived tyre 'Pirelli style' racing we have seen this season would alter the strategy. Many feel the 'problem' this year is the Pirelli tyers and the 'solution' would be to return Bridgestone type durable tyres providing 'proper racing once more'. Is this true?



I don't know if you have any influence with whoever controls the broadcast feed for F1 but may I make a suggestion for improvement in the 2014 season. Enlarge the graphic shown on screen left during qualifying; the one that indicates the current position of each driver based on fasted time in the session so far. The currrent display may be OK to those with 50 inch + monitors but to those of us down in the 29 to 32 inch range, it's almost impossible to distinguish BUT from GUT from SUT. If I haven't heard an update from David C in the previous few seconds and the visual is focused on another driver, then it's hard to keep up.


I have sent your comment to the FOM TV Race Director


James, I have another suggestion,

I think we should be shown driver tracks on a map for Q3 laptimes as that would provide some perspective on where a driver made some time and where some driver lost it. and it can also show something about the driving styles of drivers, their braking points etc.

I really feel that will educate a lot of viewers.


James, could you also ask them about using either split screen or picture-in-picture for replays and during pit stops? it's always frustrating to miss three minutes of racing to replay the start, especially for us dependent on the world feed.


Give them a finger, they take the hand. Normally a smiley would go here. But I'm trying to go cold turkey.

It is a huge peeve for me that too much happens at the end of the quali. Director has only 1 screen to work with. And remember he has to be sure sponsor logos are visible. They can't chop the screen into 1/2 or 1/4. It would be unwatchable. Lets be honest, they do a good job considering those limitations. But I've always said, it would be nice to see the pole lap from on board without commentary or interruption right after. We need to see these guys do their thing fully.


While you wait for their response, you may want to try watching qualifying on TV in conjunction with live timing on your laptop/pc. I don't do this, but it should solve your problem.


Aren't there options to adjust that delay in the app? Be sure to choose your region correctly.


Since I started watching F1 while using live timing on my laptop last year, I have often found it difficult to watch any of the sessions without the application. It is a good experience, as the app is about 5-10 seconds ahead of the live sky f1 broadcast, so I always know who is setting the fastest laps and pole positions well before hand.


So Red Bull effectively won both Championships with one driver. Fantastic. Do they really need Ricciardo for next season?


No they don't. The second car comes under the heading "nice to have".

You can see why they don't need a Kimi, Fernando, Lewis in the seat now. Surplus to requirement.


I was thinking exactly same thing as I was reading.

If Mercedes package lives up to the hype, Ricciardo's points will be needed.

Then there is the whole Kimi Alonso situation. RBR/Vettel package is good, but he can't stop 2 men. Add those Kimi and Alonso points from 2013 together and Daniel better at laest bring home a hundred, perhaps hundred and fifty to keep the WCC at home.


I know it is not a exact science, but if you ignore Mark's points, then someone else would have had the points. Next year, with hopefully a strong Mercedes and Ferrari, I believe it will be more tough for Red Bull to get the same result even if the car performs as good as this year. On the other side of the coin, the other teams will take point away from each other that makes it easier for Red Bull to win at least the drivers championship if their performance is as good as this year. The seasons that Webber did got more wins, Vettel's lead was smaller in comparison to the other teams. I can't wait for next season.


"The Brazilian Grand Prix brought the curtain down on the 2013 season, one that promised a lot at the outset, but ultimately ended up a very one sided championship."

Very good summing of the season, it was the least inspiring season I've watched in...I do genuinely think ever. In 1 or 2 years I doubt any race will rank among one of my favourites, and even the races that were notable (Malaysia, Silverstone) were so for all the wrong reasons. Admittedly, no (proper) wet races all year didn't help.


What about Malaysia and Valencia 2012?


I meant 2013 races, there were a few memorable ones from 2012. Even the bankers (Canada, Brazil) were pretty dull this year. Silverstone was memorable but for all the wrong reasons.


If you are an Alonso fan those two races are awesome, but not the racing weekends a Vettel fan would like to remember...


This is why the codemasters F1 games are obsolete only a few months from launch. They should skip next year's release and focus on launching the 2015 game in march, coinciding with Melbourne - start of the season.


By march, I meant launch it March 2015...

My point is that this article demonstrates that F1 games are being launched mid season and so go obsolete only a few months after launch, meaning that while it's the 'end of an era', as James' article title points out, you wouldn't know playing the latest F1 game. If these things were launched at the begining of each season, we could at least get to play along as the circus moved around the world.

Who will want to play with the obsolete V8 cars in march when the turbos are racing around Melbourne?..


Well, they have no other choice. Consider this season, if they had lauched the game in march or april 2013, ferrarri would have had the fastest car and we all know what happened some months later.


Updates can be run for games throughout the season to change car characteristics, driver updates, etc. Gran Turismo updates it's game constantly, adding cars, new events, etc.


And that's not even mentioning McLaren...


You do have a points. But there are other sides to your argument. In the game the era doesn't end. Also the game is not really obsolete until March, so almost a year. It will get you through off season. (All this talk about how to get through of season really sounds like we have a substance abuse issue.)

Personally I went into game lock down. 2006 Championship edition. Kimi in a McLaren, Alonso in Renault, Button in a Honda and Schumi in a Ferrari of course. Era never ended. I think I'm still rocking V10s.


People who really like the V8s and don't want the V6's and also want the option to race in iconic cars from the past.

Bernie springs to mind 🙂


That's a good idea Erik and in theory it would work, but I think you underestimate how long it takes them to create all that in game content.


One of the appeals of F1 to me at least is that it's a sport which is always moving forwards, constantly changing, updating itself. I find it ironic then that those of us who aren't interested in nostalgia are stuck with old technology while the F1 world has moved on.

It wouldn't be hard. Have confidentiality agreements with all the teams about the design and livery of each car (like Gran Turismo does), and launch it in March with the start of thd F1 season. You would have the right drivers in the right cars, and it would sell like hotcakes because everyone is excited about the new season starting. You could play along all year as the circus moves around, and codemasters could even offer players with an online championship as the year goes on, plus have fastest lap competitions and qualifying competitions on gp weekends, the opportunities are endless.

Updates to the game downloaded via the internet could take care of any driver changes and car characteristic changes, plus you would have the benefit of having the real points in the championship for each driver in the game too.

Just sayin.


How will they know what the cars look like or which tracks are included where as well as who will be driving at which team.


You're right, they should have it ready sooner, mind you they should also have the season review blu rays out before Christmas!

Codemasters could provide an editor in game so you can change the driver names, team names, load in new car textures, helmet textures, heck even tweak computer car performances say to cover if Newey were to move teams.

Then they would have the most awesome F1 game and people wouldn't need to buy it year after year after year.... oh, hang on.


How will they know who will drive where?

🙂 <- I had to do it!


Seriously man, no more emoticons in your posts. Jack doesn't like them.

James: Please ban Sebee or at least a warning. Maybe a drive thru...


I got my Senna Blueray the other day. Waiting for that nice quiet evening so I can watch it again. It's been a while since I've seen it.


Nope Sebee, still waiting for Blu-ray release.

There are probably a hundred dodgy ways I could watch it tomorrow, but if I'm going to watch it I want to watch it right and when I do I'll be sure to let you know 🙂


Random, I got a penalty! These stewards are unbelievable.

What goes around, comes around I guess.

Which reminds me, did you see RUSH yet?


His name was Jock 😉

And yes, I definitely second the penalty for Sebee: Gross overuse of emoticons is a crime 🙂

A drive-thru? How about a comment-thru?

Sebee will have to do one post without actually stopping to say anything 🙂

And before you start on me I'll have you know I am not officially part of the JAonF1 2014 Comment Championship.

You hold no sway over me sunshine! 😉


It would be 2015 in name only.

They are a video game developer, not a psycic hotline.



Is Lewis paid for his column on BBC F1?

I was thinking why not for Vettel to start running his column on JAonF1 next year. That would have made him much more closer to the fans rather than his 'donuts'))

He's got 4 titles under his belt and now high time to think about the image and PR part if he wanna become one of the greats.


I'd take donuts over a column. People will remember pictures and video of that for years to come not what he posted online.


If Seb Vettel had PR, you wouldn't get his real personality coming across in gems like this:

Straight after using Multi21 to fool Webbo and the "This is silly Seb come on!" from Horner:

"No I'm not happy, I did a mistake, if I could undo it I would but I can't"

Then a few weeks later, saying he didn't understand the message!

"I would have done the same thing because Mark doesn't deserve that"

like him or dislike him for it, it's better than hearing "I'd like to thank Infinity Red Bull Racing, Renault Engine Suppliers, Total lubricants and Geox whatever they are"

or a press officer saying you can't ask him that.


Interesting that Alonso was willing to return the favour and pull over to give Massa a podium send off if the opportunity arose but Vettle had no thoughts of doing the same for Webber even after stealing a win against team orders earlier in the season and with the WDC already in the bag – says a lot about his character or lack thereof


Vettel already gave Webber a win 2 years ago under the guise of a gearbox failure, in another season where Vettel won double figure numbers of races and Web hadn't even taken 1. Webber is supposed to not enjoy gifts anyway (I say "supposed" as the team already tried to do that in Sepang, but Vettel just won the race anyway. I don't see how being faster and passing someone is "stealing", as you claim).


Interesting that Alonso said so publicly, and that Massa did not seem offended by it. Says a lot about the hierarchy within Ferrari, imho.


I agree

He doesn't have his own PR/ right hand man (or woman) as Schuey and Senna used to and it's a mistake


I had a feeling that he's already started to work on his image. When was the last time you saw the finger? He seems to be clenching his fist more often now, which is a bit more palatable to some fans (for whatever reason). And, I hate to spill the beans, but his donuts, along with the emphasis that "he's breaking the rules" certainly don't hurt his popularity - spontaneous or not, a marketing coach could not have come up with a better idea.

Vettel has always been really witty; much more enjoyable to listen to than some of the more "popular" drivers. Of course, a little showmanship doesn't hurt, but I hope he doesn't change all that much.


Yeah maybe Seb has been reading this site too. Because I'm definitely glad the finger had died down (if not gone). Combined with his multi 21 saga and his change of opinion in other races it was very unpalatable for many fans-- in fact some will never support him..but you don't judge a racer on these facets alone


To be honest I assumed a marketing coach had come up with the idea for the donuts - maybe India was spontaneous but the subsequent displays were planned IMO.


JA: I completely agree with u...The youngest pole sitter,youngest race winner, youngest championship winner and 4 time world champion does not receive the adulation that he deserves,that just shows how weak his PR is...A good PR might even have spun Malaysia incident in his favour- He starts from Pole and is not overtaken but loses his position in pitstops and is asked by team inspite of having faster tyres to hold position and not attack a slower car..If the position was reversed, the whole world would have cried foul for the team orders against Webber...Shows how much a PR can & can't do


In some way, I'm glad Vettel doesn't!

Hamilton's BBC column is insightful but when he says sentences like: "I have done a bit of work here for UNICEF. I love being around children. I'd like to help in any way I can." [BBC Sport, 25/10/2013] it feels REALLY contrived, especially with his "bad boy" character.

Even though he may be controversial, Vettel on the other hand has much more personality which shines through his interviews. PR would kill that!!


Agreed. There are times where Vettel throws in a Monthy Python kinda feel or gestures to his answers, like his pink moustache and those eyes at the Brazil photo session.


On the contary I think Lewis in many ways is quite selfless, and quite a deep thinker, whereas Vettel has always put himself first as some of his stunts have demonstrate.Lewis is a hard but fair driver, with Vettel fairness does not come in to it, only winning matters to him.


An opportunity for a certain J. Allen perhaps - or is Tom Clarkson already stalking that prey?


Between your site James and the Ted Kravitz notebook, I dare say I could go a full season without ever watching an actual race. Such great entertainment and so informative...

Just one thing that I think is missing from F1 reporting in general is perhaps highlighting the contributions to technical innovations from the smaller squads. Historically there have been some excellent things done by smaller teams but much of what we hear about is just about things that the more successful teams are doing...

I've been following Adrian Newey since the Leyton House days, so figure who is the next Newey or Brawn working in a smaller team? Who's doing clever things with the slower cars that maybe the bigger teams are picking up on?

Cheers and kkep up the great work.


Doing it! But only because Kimi absent.


Hi James, as always it has been a pleasure following your informed comments after each GP.

I hope you continue this column, where we can get really good insights into this sport.

Keep up the good work, and looking forward to hearing you again on Channel 10 as well in OZ

Good job mate!!


Thanks. It continues all winter of course


I get the distinct feeling a lot of people are signing off for the holidays.. don't go anywhere the fun is just about to begin!


So glad it's over, ranks up there with one of the most boring years in F1, not because of Vettel, the constructor's make it so. We really don't know who the best driver is, we just have our opinions.

Unfortunately, where cash is king, one finds corruption and manipulation. What's the answer?

Through it all, I attended my first F1 in 1968, and have followed it religiously ever since, addicted I suppose.


James - you allude to it subtely in your post, but how much of this year's whitewash is attributable to most of the teams writing off this season to prepare for the next?

If you're an uppper/mid team (or one that got it wrong this year - McLaren), why waste any precious sponsorship money on challenging Red Bull?

Gary Anderson mentioned it during the BBC podcast, but the fact that Vettel's muddled pitstop did nothing to slow his progress to the chequed flag suggests that the true performance gap is far larger than they have show (ie because they haven't had to show it). To me this highlight's Fernando's performance this year in beating Mark (or Mark's drop has been flattered by the RB?) in what is a far better car.


Marks drop flattered by the Red Bull I would suggest is 100% right-- don't ever second guess it. Mark messes the starts and often has mech issues- but for these 2things he would have a chance at winning every race.He still out qualied Seb 3 out of the last 5


Webber didn't even outqualify Vettel 3 times all season, never mind 3 out of 5.


Japan and Abu Dhabi in succession and he was disq from one other


To play devils advocate, perhaps Mark uses up the life of the tyres more to achieve the same or better qualifying effort. Therefore in the race he is not as competitive?


I'm sure any driver would take driving in clean air at the front over fighting with the 3 or 4 best drivers in the world in terms of looking after your tyres..sure he won't be quite as good as Seb does but he would be in a position to fight him more often and even win at some circuits . A couple of better starts ( not perfect) and he would seriously have gone out with a win or two.


More than in other years I suspect

Especially for teams strapped for cash

Lotus is the odd one - money problems and yet they were challenging on last few races


Thanks James. Do you think that provides ammo for the Vettel detractors?

Agree about the Lotus puzzle. I guess you could put it down to the quality of the staff at the team.


James - sorry forgot to ask what your plans are for next year? Continuing with the BBC?


One thing I am glad about in 2014 is that blown diffusers are impossible and there is a reduction in aero by removing the rear lower wing, and reducing the length of the front wing. I don't think it has gone far enough, but on top of that it would be good to have bigger tyres on the rear in particular. I don't really buy in this green thing with F1 other than the cascading the technology into road cars, but the fuel used in flying that lot around the world otherwise makes a nonsense of it all.

Sebastion Vettel has been very consistent and very fast this year, but that would be a blinkered view of it. In my view it all stems from the quality of the car. Given a car that is fast, and agile enough to consistently win races has had the effect of racketing up quality within the team in all areas to support it, guided of course by those that lead it, but such is the enthusiasm of these guy's the whole works almost like a Swiss watch. They are going to be difficult to beat next year, but the rear ends are going to be much less stable next year, and that might just take a slice out of Vettel's confidence given the "glued to the track" nature of the current car, and that should give the other top teams the chance they need to get their feet in the door. Unfortunately I think this reduction in aero is going to impact massively on the rear tyres which should have been upsized. - As well powertrain reliability issues, I suspect Pirelli are going to have a few headaches next year as tyre failure mount, unless of course they have gone very very conservative.


"unless of course they have gone very very conservative"

Last I heard they have.

Harder more durable compounds in 2014: It's either going to be really, really good or just plain abysmal.


I guess we will have to wait and see, but I'm not keen on the powertrain idea. - It's green taken too far, and against what F1 should be. Actually I much prefer to watch cars dancing around a circuit with durable tyres than glued to the track with high deg. tyres. Much more fun to watch drivers pushing most of the time not driving to a delta. I think it is unlikely that the tyres will be durable enough to allow that but let's reserve judgment.


"In my view it all stems from the quality of the car."

In my view that view is delusional. The only time the car ever looks quality is when Vettel drives it. In the last three seasons Webber had three wins, and one of those was a gift. So why do people act as if each years RB car is the offspring of a mechanical coupling between an MP4/4 and the Millennium Falcon?


Oh well how else can they rubbish Vettel's achievements I think a lot of people would be surprised next year.

Funny enough history would remember Webber more than Alonso.

Just like Prost Ferrari almost damaged his legacy!


It's not a question of rubbishing Vettel's achievements, but rather explaining them. All drivers need a fast car, and a responsive team to win races and chammpionships! As to whether we like Vettel is another matter. He went up in my estimation when he paid tribute to his car which was a surprisingly honest thing to do, but fans have taken a dislike because of some of the stunts he has pulled which in retrospect he had no need to do.


On the contrary it is fact, and only two people have driven it! Webber is old school, and Vettel is young enough to adapt his driving to the needs of the car. Undoubtably as I have said Vettel has been very fast and consistence, but in another car like a Ferrari he would be knowhere, and I daresay somewhat behind Alonso. Adrian Newey and his team are the real masterminds in that team. As Alonso has said it is Newey that they are really competing against. The RB car is in a class of it's own and if you can't see that you are indeed blinkered.


Adrian Newey Jnr: Yes that had slipped my mind, but I really meant in race situation. I think in this formula driver comparisons are not reliable because so much depends on set up and tyre balance. Before the Pirelli era as Webber says Vettel was handy, but not unbeatable. It strikes that Vettel and his engineers are very good at setting the Red Bull car up, and it is this area that has allowed him to excel. It is also the area where some knowledge is useful, but drivers inform their engineers how the car feels, and they then do the adjustments to improve things on what is a very good car. The comparison again between Rosberg and Hamilton is fraught with difficulty for the same reasons, and that the Mercedes car lacks the feel that Hamilton wants, but the pendulum seems to swing in both directions. As it happens I think they are both very quick drivers, and while I support Hamilton, I have known that Rosberg was very capable given the right car and opportunity for quite some time. Given this if their 2014 car comes good they will undoubtably push each other to great heights, but Mercedes will need to get on top of their tyre problem completely as next year the rear tyres are going to be vunerable.


Rohind: I suggest you read what I say and not what you think I've said. I have no doubt that if Vettel was in another car he would attempt to extract everything out of it as all drivers do, but drivers strengths and weaknesses vary, and cars characteristics certainly do. There is also no doubt that Vettels skills have improved in the Red Bull, but it is a car that is extremely fast and agile, and nothing enhances driver confidence as a car with those characteristics. Alonso on the other hand is probably the best driver on the grid. So I will re-iterate everything stems from the car, and you can learn what you like, but it is what you feel from the car that makes you fast.

Adrian Newey is the genius and is far from being washed up! He and his team consistently develop a car that makes best use of aerodynamics, and the tyres that ALLOW a driver with the right skill set to win. Beyond that this formula with it's high deg. tyres and over developed aero actually protects the leading car by virtue of tyre degradation as drivers are forced to drive to a delta to preserve the tyres. Given restricted aero and more mechanical grip the balance of power would shift as drivers were released from their current straitjackets.


You forget that Ricciardo also tested the car. Therefore there were three drivers who drove the car.

This raises an interesting question. Ricciardo was lauded for his results during the Young Driver Test. Perhaps this is due to:

a) the car is easy to drive, so much so that someone with no or little experience in the car can be straight on the pace (Heiki proved this is hard to do). This raises questions about the quality of the current drivers.

b) that Ricciardo is the real deal if he can set similar times with less experience. Given he hasn't smashed Vergne by too much this year (noting he had additional experience at the start of the year), that must mean Vergne isn't too bad either.

I guess we will know next year when Ricciardo steps up. It seems that its only when drivers swap teams that their quality can be judged against others who are not their teammates (eg the Hamilton/Rosberg comparison this year). Perhaps this leads credence to the argument that Vettel will one day drive for another team.


Prior to Vettel appearing Newey was considered a washed-up has-been. And that actually is a historical fact.

What are you on about?! That is so far from the truth!

Williams wanted him to return in 2004:


McLaren wanted to extend his contract, but AN didn't want to.



Technical director Adrian Newey, widely considered to be the best aerodynamic designer in F1, is believed to be considering a break from the sport.


Then RBR signed him.


Horner at the time was quoted saying that given the choice between Newey or Schumacher, that he would take Newey every day of the week.

Yeah, all that over some washed-up has-been!


"Vettel has been very fast and consistence, but in another car like a Ferrari he would be knowhere, and I daresay somewhat behind Alonso."

What a disrespectful statement about a 4X WDC, in a car that Massa has matched Alonso in qualy and only Alonso of the top drivers was never on the front row you have the audacity to say Vettel would be nowhere might I remind you that other than alternator failure in Valencia '12 he led the title race in redbull.

Its unfortunate you are butt hurt about Vettel's success but sadly for you the best is yet to come.


"On the contrary it is fact"

Too bad for you that "facts" are not something which are established by your edict.

"As Alonso has said it is Newey that they are really competing against."

Comical stuff, considering that Alonso had the chance for a long term contact with Newey in 2008 and he turned it down! He, and everyone else, only started Newey-worshipping when Vettel started winning. Prior to Vettel appearing Newey was considered a washed-up has-been. And that actually is a historical fact.


I don't know if Alonso opinion in this matter is valuable, he thinks he is the best driver in the whole world of all eras in all motorsport categories, so obviously he will say that his competence is an engineer, remember, he said he got the 2nd position in the championship in a car slower that Sauber and FI.


If Vettel can get the best out of Red bull for 5 years, what makes you think he cannot do the same with a Ferrari or Mercedes for that matter...He continues to learn and improve...All this nonsense about Vettel not being able to overtake or drive a bad car is wishful thinking from the part of fans of other drivers...You sound as though no effort is required at all to drive red bull..You just have to sit in it and press a button so that car finishes all by itself...Please understand that Vettel is successful because he has studied his car and tyres so well and knows how to extract 100% out of it...It is drivers responsibility to adapt to the car and not vice versa...If you notice closely, u will find that his driving style is slightly different from 2010 & 11, being early on throttle and with his braking..So plz stop with this kind of attitude and learn to respect the genius when you see one


My first time at Interlagos, must say (in compare with other venues) it was terrific and beyond expectations, sorry to see some grandstands half empty but Brazil is going into a major economical crisis nobody wants to talk about rather than the upcoming World Cup and Olympics.

Regarding the V6's how lighter the cars will be from now and on?


Hi Martin,

Could I please ask you a favour and read through my guide to the Brazilian grand prix?

I've researched the topic for over a year but do not have much information first hand.

Here's the link: http://grandprixadvisor.com/index.php/circuit-guides/formula-1/brazil-sao-paulo

Not many English speakers attend this one, so that'd be super helpful - thanks in advance!

(James, I hope it's OK to mention the above link? I'll be in Melbourne again next year by the way. Just bought my plane ticket today.)


Cars will have less petrol in the tank, but the new V6 turbo engines are heavier.

So overall, the minimum weight limit has gone up.


Hey James! Great coverage this year as usual!

Just wondered if you knew if the V8 engine burn up/melt down send off happened in the end? Ted mentioned it on sky a couple of times and would love to hear it!


You might want to check your email in box! You have a message from us we need an urgent answer to!


Oh my days! It was in my spam inbox! Did you get my email? Yes yes yes yes yes! I can make it, and I'd be honoured to attend!


So from 13 to 2014 does this sound about right? :-


Maldonado's money in for Kimi, Maldonado cheesed off as the team wanted Hulk.

Quantum ditherers out.


Massa in for Maldonado

Symonds (don't mention Sing'08 to Felipe) in to organise

Merc in for top speed

Force India:

Hulk in for Sutil

Perez's money in for di Resta (with some guilt trip or other forms of help from Whitmarsh for the deal?)

Equal best v6 in the back.


Untested rookie, Magnum P.I. in for Perez !?!

Prodromou in to annoy Newey

(Alonso and Hamilton ready for 2015 return)


Sutil plus money in for Hulk

Guitierrez cash or Russian cash whatever is most


Chilton's dad in for Chilton


The greatest of:-

Money 1 Pic?

Money 2 van DG?

Money 3 Ericcson?

Money 4 Petrov?

Kovy advises newbies


Lowe in for Brawn

Toto in for Lauda in for Toto etc

Fastest car till it reaches a corner


Kimi in for Massa

Ice-cream in the fridge

Allison in for Fry

Brawn in for Domenicali (costly $10m loss means sideways move for SD and buys Luca DM some time)


mini-Seb Dan in for smiley-Aussie Dan

Red Bull:

Smiley Aussie (at least for the first race) in for Tough Aussie

Sam Michael in for Adrian Newey (sorry that was just a fantasy where everyone could race each other closely)

Porsche LMP:

Webber and di Resta win everything, that is if their luck changes?


jajaja...excelent summary of the posible driver changes for next year. Hulkenberg deserves a top car, so I hope that if he go to FI Mercedes engine would be as strong as we expect.

And see Alonso and Hamilton again at Mclaren in 2015 would be insane! But in my opinion they are the two best drivers in F1, so it would be bad news for other teams.

I'm looking the new season to star and to better evaluate all technical changes introduced. Although among these changes they should prohibit Newey if they want things to be equal. Ahh, and they also should ban Toro Rosso to remove whenever there is a RB behind. I'm surprised that the image of RB is not harmed by how they treat TR and his second pilot


I stand corrected; You should develop the 2015 F1 game 🙂


if ((selectedDriver = "Webber") and (lapno = totalracelaps - 1)) then


carfailure = random(1..8)


when 1 then stopcar(WheelFallsOff)

when 2 then stopcar(CarOnFire)

when 3 then stopcar(DoublePuncture)

when 4 then stopcar(EngineBlows)

when 5 then stopcar(WingFallsOff)

when 6 then delaycar(Multi21)

when 7 then delaycar(KersFailure)

else playRadioMessage(PatronisingHorner)


😉 🙂 😉 🙂 😉 🙂

...release. freedom. Man I was bottling them smileys up...

🙁 😉 🙂 😀 8) :O :\ 3:) 😛 8| :|] 😐 😕


I love the smell of slightly dodgy code in the morning - Brilliant! 🙂


Its going to be a shame to watch it go from Formula 1 RACING to Formula 1 PACING.

Though I guess it has been going that way for a while...


James, what is the prize money scale for both the drivers and constructors championship?

As well as this, can you give us an update on 2014 driver line ups, and tell everyone where certain drivers are going because I hear Hulkenberg going to Lotus one day, the next day he is staying at Sauber, the next day he is going to Force India?


Prize money scale is secret but we can explain some aspects

Team driver combinations we will cover in the coming days yes


Why is the prize money scale secret? The prize money amounts at golf and tennis tournaments are made public, so why not here? Doesn't the sport want to be transparent with the fans, and the media to understand the past, present and the future?


I think it's because Bernie negotiated individual deals with each team as opposed to having a Concorde Agreement in place for the start of 2013.

If you look in the premium section of Autosport, you'll find features from Dieter Rencken explaining Column 1, Column 2 and Column 3 payments. All of them assumptions of course but he seems to specialise in that type of information at grands prix


"Doesn’t the sport want to be transparent with the fans, and the media to understand the past, present and the future?"

It's probably more transparent than it used to be and they're making more of an effort to connect with fans (or at least the teams are), but as for the media?

The less they understand, the more they have to guess. When they have to guess, it tends to generate wild rumours, and the more wild rumours there are the more they generate interest and publicity in F1.


F1 is never transparent.

Hence the show (kangaroo) trials with ineffective (wrist slaps) punishments.


Renault may have achieved a lot in F1 but that reliability has not transferred to their road cars, which continue to languish at the bottom of the satisfaction surveys and reliability indexes.


That's why if you want to buy a Renault you should save up and buy an F1 car.


Di Resta: for 2 seasons has not beaten his team mate in points scored over the course of the season, yet managed to hang on to his seat.

Ironically in 2013 he does beat his team mate but may not keep his seat.

The topsy turvy world of F1, where common sense doesnt always rule.



Is there a problem on the Penalty cost Felipe a podium article. I am not able to post any comments. All Reply links are disabled.




James - any chance of your book (and previous) being available for the ipad please?


Hi James. Have you heard anything regarding the look of next years cars? Autosport ran an article (complete with picture) of a front nose that made the step noses look attractive. Will we be subjected to cars that look like Gonzo?!!!


There was a nice Piola animation last week on Auto Motor ind Sport website. It showed it clearly. Looked a bit like Brawn car of 2009 with narrower front wing


A bit off topic----Perez is going to Force India with sponsorship money that presumably he would have taken to McLaren ? is the signing of Magnussen linked to a new sponsorship deal ? as McLaren are losing Vodafone, sorry if you have already covered this


I still remember, as if it were yesterday, the first time I heard the 3 litre V10s in Melbourne. An amazing sound by ANY measure. It was simply not possible to not wear ear plugs within 20m of the track...they were just soooo loud! Absolutely thrilling experience to hear those extraordinary V10 engines.

Contract that to the much quieter and far less exciting sound of the now retired 2.4 litre V8s. Instantly, that very important dimension of the sport went significantly backwards.

Now we await the 1.6 litre, V6 turbo machines in Melbourne in March. I suspect, but we don't yet know, that these things will be even quieter and less engaging than even the V8s.

A bad step for F1? I suspect so, as the sound of the sport is a critical dimension, but let's wait and see.




The sound is only really critical for the spectators paying a little fortune to attend a race.

I'm not sure the viewing public will even notice as the sound on TV is massively tuned down.

I remember the big outcry in 2006 when the cars switched to the V8 and to be honest, my ears didn't notice the difference as the engines were still revving between 19,000 and 20,000 rpm!

No one said much when the power trains were detuned to 18,000 rpm in 2009 but you could feel the difference.


Hi James,

Any comment on the pending Ross Brawn announcement, and more importantly his next destination?

It's interesting that Sky's rather clutching at straws report (IMO) of him in the Ferrari area got virtually no coverage from anyone, especially the well respected and in the know journalists like yourself.

Would love to see him there, and respect Stefano's comments when asked, but can't see it...

Look forward to your coverage during testing and 2014


According to the German daily, "Bild" R. Brawn has announced on Wednesday that he is leaving Mercedes



I would have thought he would take stock rather than jump straight in. Ferrari is gearing up massively and James Allison and Rory Byrne are part of it, which was Ross' winning team at Ferrari last time. I'm not sure I see it.

Question is whether Ross has another big challenge in him, if he insists on being the "reference point for any team, as he wanted at Mercedes.


I think Ross would be ideal to take over from Bernnie


I don't think Bernie would sanction that move!


So Renault made the last V10 winner, and the first and last V8 winners... was Renault also the first factory to win with a 1.5 litre turbo in the 70s?


Also the last to have one blow with Lotus on Sunday.Renault produced the first turbo F1 car.The turbo engines at the end where 1000+BHP for Qualy.


Which proves what exactly?

For all intents and purposes they are identical, right up until Vettel is certain to win the championship and Alonso has no hope.

I fail to see a connection.

(Dammit, Jock was right - look how much more classy that sign off was without the 😉 🙂 )


Now that the V8 era is over it would be interesting to know what the engine manufacturers plans are to preserve the remaining units for posterity.


James, what was your favourite race of the season?


Austin for the venue and occasion

Probably Australia for the race -seven leaders, great strategy battle, Raikkonen win

It was everything the end of the season wasn't!


+1. I reckon if you made every driver drive in a different team / car at every race. Raikkonen would be the winner He adapts more quickly than anyone. No surprise he won his first race at Ferrari at the first race in Aust.too. Hope he does it again..


Hi James

Any comment on vettels last lap in Brazil?

I was very disappointed when massa got a penalty for crossing the line but on the last lap vettel did the same and got nothing but a big trophy.

There's no way rocky didn't radio him and say massa got a drive through so stay away from the line. Shouldn't he have a post race 20second penalty (about drive through time) and send webber his bigger trophy?


Massa had several warnings before penalty

As far as I'm aware it was Vettel's first time on last lap


Any insiders comment on who did not react accordingly to the threat then ?

Did the pit wall (Smedley/Domenicali) believed they would not get a drive thru and did not pass a strong message to Felipe

or did Felipe ignored "team orders" and thought he would get away with it or was too "into the fight" that he did it inadvertantly ?

it's just weird considering he was looking good for that 4th place (and maybe a gifted podium)


Insightful article, I reckon you all on here should have a look.



Its a daft article am sorry, the writer believes Alonso and Hamilton would do same as Vettel in the Redbull but doubts Vettel would do same in their respective cars based on what exactly?

Believing that all you need to do is turn up and drive the Redbull.

The driver has to set the car up to get the best out of it one thing you never hear from the Redbull drivers is the setup was wrong!

Whats to say Alonso's poor qualy does not hamper the Ferrari development?


Is Sutil a pay driver? Otherwise why would a team pick him over di Resta? I am not saying Paul is outstandingly better but I definitely think he has the edge.


I'm glad that season is over. I did watch every race, but towards the end I often though "shall I bother?". Hopefully 2014 will be better but I do question the reasoning for wholesale changes to the formula against a background of cost cutting policies. One glimmer of hope I picked up from Brazil that BE commented that he was looking for a successor!


At times its so amusing,we all have a favorite

horse,don't we ?,a V8 engine that last w/end

went in to the history books and the Red Bull

as the mighty recipient of it.

To some V10 was it,in every which way.

However to hard core F1 followers nothing

surpasses the V12 in sheer sound and grunt in

particular that of Ferrari engine, for those

lucky enough to witness it will tell you is

simply out of this planet.

Sir Jackie Stewart, the other day was asked by

CCN to his opinion as to regard of Vettel, and

will he regard him as one of the great

Sir Jackie answer short and simple "No" you

can't compare him to the likes of Jacky Ickx

Lauda or Prost and many more,but by saying that

he's a good driver.

Next year when machinery will vary some what

will we see how he performs against his peers.

Well said Sir Jackie,well said.

Now my gripe, how any journalist can compare

Vettel with the Ascari.


Thank you.. Exactly what I've said in many posts here. There is no doubt Sen is a top 4 driver but it's hard to prove greatness without a great team mate or exactly the same cars


Advise I give myself with 2014 - lower my expectation about the engine soundtrack by a few notch and I hope I will not be disappointed.

I wonder how unreliable will the electrical components be. We have seen RedBull's KERS failing on a regular basis for many years. It seems that the seemingly complicated Internal Combustion Engines are super-reliable these days. Hail to all the mechanical engineer!

The KERS electric system barely has any moving parts and yet it fails so often. eyes-roll...


One thing I picked up from Adrian Newey was that cooling was going to be a major challenge for 2014, and I think this is directly related to ERS because it is bigger and more powerful, but on top of that the engine is rather highly pressed which means higher temperatures so again the cooling needs to be more effective. A front running team will not be able to afford an ERS failure with it supplying about 23% of the total power, and should they do so will result in massive time loss.


Won't miss DiR a jot. Would have been sick if he got a drive and Hulk missed out.


+1 and the fact that he never stops talking himself up.



"Japan and Abu Dhabi in succession and he was disq from one other"

Japan and Abu Dhabi weren't in succession. SV took pole in the other 3 (by over half a second over Webber & the field in India/Brazil, by a tenth over MW in Austin).

The only qualifying session all year where Mark was DQ'd was back in China, because during Q2 his tyre came off. Seb reached Q3, and didn't set a time there. That cannot be counted in his favour.


Season's been dusted quite awhile but now it's officially over for 2013.

As Brawn indicated Red Bull will still be at the top of their game, I SURE HOPE NOT! or else it will be a struggle for us fan following the new season unless we have to ignore Vettel and pretend he doesn't exist. I've always liked Vettel since his BMW debut but not dominating in this manner.

Screaming V8s no more…..looks like I'll have to be at Sepang to know the true audio of the turbos, but if cars are faster I'll be happy. Let's see what happens.


bugger the V10/V8/V6 debate I'm hoping that this might be the end of the sad looking man child facial hair era too.


James, do you think money is the main reason it looks like Di Resta is probably without a drive next year? I don't think he is a top talent or anything but easily good enough for the grid and better than Sutil who seems to either be staying or going to Sauber.

Just curious if his personality has put teams off or whether he's just not rated that highly in the paddock?


He's in that bracket where having a bit of money makes a difference

Hulkenberg is a cut above and even he is struggling, but I think he is going to be ok


James.....two questions?

1= is it always You(yourself) replying whenever there is reply to a comment under "James Allen" name or you have some helper(s)?esp. the replys of moderator?

2= can you ship the book to Pakistan,more specifically Azad Kashmir, Pakistan?


1. We have a few mods but I do make sure I answer as many as I can
2. Yes I believe so. Contact jon@grandprixlegends.com


Mr.Allen, talking about next year? Which driver do you think can make Sebastian Vettel under pressure?


Depends on the new cars.

Alonso always a threat if the engine is on a par, Hamilton and Rosberg clearly


James as ware discussing earlier in the comments with drivers favorite era of racing. Both Massa and Webber have said they enjoyed the V10s. What has been your favorite era to watch? and what do you think would provide the best racing like V10s with DRS or next eyar and the V6s??

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