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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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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??


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…..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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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!


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.


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?


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)


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..


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.


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 😉 🙂 )


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.


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!


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.


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


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


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



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.




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.


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.

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