Now that the dust has settled from the 2013 season, I thought it was time to do a short round-up and a glance towards the coming season. After Kimi left Lotus for his back surgery, I must admit that some of my motivation to follow F1 and write about it were seriously weakened. But I caught the final races. F1 races are still few and far between so I enjoy the racing still.
Kimi was the big talkie when he took sick-leave for the final 2 races. If he had been paid what he was owed by Lotus, I’m sure he would have finished the season in style. But seeing that Lotus were on a wild goose chase after non-existant Quantum Group money, Kimi called it quits and pulled one of his best moves of the season. Get the back surgery done as early as possible to be fit for fight when winter testing in the red car rolls around in January.
As I am sure you have heard, the surgery went well, thank goodness, and Kimi is enjoying some well-deserved R&R before he goes back for checkups. Steve Robertson threw the media a curveball by saying that Kimi was to have surgery in Salzburg when he in fact was operated on in Strasbourg. (A town where he did rallies in and around by the way) Robertson just said afterwards that he got the town names mixed up. Haha. Nice one.
I have also given Kimis unusual first-lap exit from Abu-Dhabi some thought. It was a very atypical error from the Finn and I do wonder if he did it half on purpose. He was talked into coming to Abu Dhabi. Finds out during the weekend that no salary is coming in spite of lofty promises. And on race day, he just “loses” concentration for a few seconds and bam – I’m outta here suckers! Well – that is just speculation on my part and likely not true. But one wonders.
So – Kimis replacement is Pastor Maldonado. I guess that is as big a sign as it can get; that there is no Quantum money and there never was. Maldonados PDVSA money is needed to save the debt-ridden Lotus team. Romain will have an easy task beating him in qualifying and races next year. Which will only add to his already overhyped status due to a few good races in the final part of the season. Hulkenberg had been so much better for the team. The Lotus team decided to publish this tweet after the announcement. I have no clue why they would do that. We are not laughing with you, Lotus. We are laughing at you.
Picture and tweet here: https://twitter.com/Lotus_F1Team/status/406453321109471233/photo/1
I had to giggle when I saw Massa joining Vettel in the donut making after the final race in Brazil. First off – it wasn’t really donuts – more like U’s. Second – why was he celebrating? That he was leaving Ferrari? Perhaps it was the fact that he cost Ferrari 2nd place in the WCC by getting a penalty? The points Ferrari would have had with a 3rd and 4th place in Brazil would have moved them ahead of Mercedes. But Massa blew it. Even if the penalty was harsh, the drivers had all been warned before the race not to cross the lines at the pit entry with all 4 wheels. Ok, Felipe baby. Go on. Make your funny little half-donuts.
So what about next year? I know plenty of people are hoping and expecting a shake-up in the pecking order of the teams. I may have to apply some cold water to that. There is a whole lot going for Red Bull being at the very front again. They have the man-power, the resources and the experience. And with the weak link of Webber removed, there might be no stopping them. They also have the brain, dont forget. Adrian Newey have always done well with bigger rule changes. My hope is that the engine will play a bigger part than aerodynamics next year. And in that case, the manufacturer teams should have an advantage. Which, with Kimi at Ferrari, would be excellent.
The first testing sessions are 2 months from now. And then we will hear the V6 turbo engines spring to life. I am not too worried about the sound. Should sound good. The 1,5 liter 4-pots from the 80’s sounded pretty sweet. And we will see what kind of speed the 2014 cars have in them. Some say that the new cars are 10 seconds slower – which is slower than GP2. I doubt it, but if that is the case, I dont think anyone involved will accept that and some tweaks will be made. Thankfully that is not hard to do. Rpm limit with 1-2000 more rpms should do wonders for instance.
There is no doubt that the Raikkonen-Alonso pairing will be the strongest for next year. And to me, that is the most exciting and interesting aspect of 2014. I have a friend that is adamant that Kimi will quickly have a clear upperhand on Alonso next year. Not only because of his talent but also due to his immense feel for the tires and the fact that throttle control and ability to not break traction will be harder and even more crucial next year. The turbo engines have so much more torque and power from a lot lower in the rev range than the V8s did. Remember how Lotus raved over Kimi after he won in Australia? How he hardly broke traction even once. It’s difficult to envision how hard that really is to accomplish in an F1 car during a race.
I am not so sure that Kimi will have an upperhand on Alonso that easily. I may not like the bugger, but he is a great driver. What I do know is that the power struggle inside Ferrari between Montezemelo and Alonso is far from over. Latest development is that Monty have leaked to the press that Alonso has been restrained to write tweets about Ferrari. Ferrari themselves will take care of that. But he can tweet about anything else. Ouch. Chew on that for a while. That’s gotta be hard to swallow for someone like Alonso.
This year, we had to say goodbye to a dedicated Kimster and a dear friend to many, Denise “Dindi” Minoza. I am sure other fans of Kimi have passed on as well but we knew this one and she went far too early. She is and will be missed. RIP Dindi.
And with that I will round off my 2013 round-up. We have exciting times ahead of us. So keep passing the open windows and let the winter of our discontent pass you by.
Thanks to my friend Zeljka, for the video below.
I`m following You here and on FB for a couple of years.
If You agree I would be free to post my own opinion on first lap of Abu Dhabi race.
I`ve downloaded and watched so many times video and I concluded that there is no Kimi`s mistake or any intended reaction there. Whatsoever, he actually experienced back right understeer(if I am right – meaning oversteer, back of the car goes right with no control) and he just reacted as every driver do – corrected it with sharp right turn and eventually he touched with car on the right.
I rewinded it many times in real time with no slowing and no fast forwarding and from my point of view it just happened. Nothing to doubt.
It is just my opinion. If anyone has something to add, I am open for any discussion.
Happy New Kimi in red winning year 2014th 🙂
Vlada – you are probably right. I saw him correct the oversteer – which in turn made the car jerk into the Caterham. The conspiracy theorists will say: oh, but he provoked that oversteer – just so that would happen.” However, I can see no such thing. It’s just a racing incident really. But like I said, the thought just crossed my mind with everything that was going on at the time.
Well, I can agree with that. In light of everything that was going on, this could be subject for some theory, but I also think it`s just regular racing incident.
Thanks Søren! It cheers me up when you post your reviews. I was kind of hoping for a round up, -and voila, there it was! I am really not so sure it will be a walk in the park for Kimi next year. Alonso has already made the team belong to him, and he is a damn fast racer as you point out. I expect Kimi to be using at least the early season to get settled, and get on top of things. About the Abu Dhabi exit, I was pretty convinved of a deliberate move as I saw it go down. And it would have made sense! But in hindsight (and after watching the clips over and over again) it is clear (to me at least) that he is caught out by the early braking point of the “real” backmarkers. He arrives the corner with too much speed, and is forced to take a too tight line, loses the back and is again forced to correct -pure reflex. Just the way you say, Søren. But the Robertson-directed screenplay with the timed back surgery is obvious to anyone. And indeed justified. Lotus crossed the line so many times this year, lying the public up their faces, telling us Kimi was being paid. Behind the scenes a completely different and rotten story unfolded. That is all there is to say about it. Lotus has demonstrated to all of us that british honour and honesty is no longer what it used to be. Too bad. And the italian way? I am crossing my fingers, that is for sure! 😉
Thanks Alex. I always look forward to your comments.
I suspect Alonso giving it all to win the WDC next year and if it doesnt seem to be going his way he is outta there. I knwo they are his team, but at the same time there is trouble in paradise. So that does calm my nerves a bit when it comes to Kimis return to Ferrari. The all for Alonso strategy is discarded. Proven by Kimis hiring. They know full well what they are getting. So Kimi just has to blitz the field next year. Simples 😉
I’m just hoping 2014 goes better for Kimi than 2013 did and that someone can finally knock the dominator who got his first non-runoff F1 seat at the expense of one of my countrymen off his pedestal.
Refresh my memory – who was that countryman and when?
I always read your articles, they are very good!!
See you in march
Always supporting Kimi!
arrivederci mio pisano. vedivi in marzo. forza ferrari!
just in case you are still picking up late comments……
First: good wishes for 2014 to you and family. Next year promises to be quite a challenge for all bloggists, and should certainly keep you busy, so good luck.
I think you put your prophetic finger on it again: “10 seconds slower – which is slower than GP2. I doubt it, but if that is the case, I dont think anyone involved will accept that and some tweaks will be made.”
That’s what I am afraid of. There will inevitably be several ‘tweaks’ and while each tweak will be justified, no doubt, it is how these are arrived at that worries me a bit. Because the team with the biggest and loudest mouth, and the most clout, will be the one that calls the tweaks.
We know currently that is not Ferrari. It is RB. And an alliance of RB with another team will make them invincible in a dispute about rule adjustment, esp if that other team happens to be Mercedes.
So we could find an early advantage for Allison and Ferrari negated by the political will of opponents.
Of course, the new rule book could be so successful that no changes are needed. Or changes may come about that favour Ferrari. Maybe I am just growing into a diehard pessimist.
Maybe Perez or Maldonado will run away with the title with 12 consecutive wins from pole…….
Hey John. Of course I pick up your comments 😀
Thanks for your point of view here. Even though it paints a gloomy picture. I was thinking more of engine and power plant tweaks. So seeing that Ferrari is a constructor, then that should slightly more in their favor than in Red Bulls. To me that seems logical anyway and that is my hope as well.
From press statements it seems Ferrari will probably crank up an extra gear and go all out to win it this year. Even more than previously with Alonso. All they need is for Alonso to keep his cool when things doesnt go his way. Hopefully Kimi will see to that it doesn’t by performing his best. But he is a ticking time bomb and no one causes better turmoil within a team than he does. I expect further clashes between him and Di Montezemelo. Unless everything goes his way. But who in their right mind hopes for that? 😉