Nov 01

Indian GP Recap -F1 2013

Indian GP 2013A new World Champion who is the same as the old World Champion.  That’s what we got at what could be the final Indian GP in the foreseeable future.  Click the link for the predictable race results as we wind down our coverage of the 2013 season.

Indian GP 2013Infinite Garage was only a mote in the eye of young Jason when the previous German dominated F1.  I can only imagine that F1 reportage during the Schumacher era was at least as equally boring during the current burgeoning Vettel era of F1.  At least there is quite a bit of solid racing going on through out the field now, something that can’t really be said for the Shumacher era.

Indian GP 2013Speaking of solid racing an impressive drive by Grosjean put his Lotus on the bottom step of the podium, after starting in 17th.  A tactical error by the team resulted in the speedy Frenchman being knocked out of Q1 during the closing seconds of the session.   The late season speed shown by Grosjean bodes well for Lotus’ 2014 season.

Indian GP 2013The other Lotus driver, Kimi Raikonnen, had a less impressive result at the Indian GP.  Starting in 6th the Finn struggled through out the race with traffic and mechanical issues and in the closing laps his gamble to remain on heavily worn tires simply didn’t pay off.  Kimi’s tires were so bad that he was forced to pit on the last lap and dropped to 7th in the finishing order. Rumors of pay disputes between Lotus and Kimi, who reportedly hasn’t been paid during the 2013 season, leave Kimi’s further participation as a driver in question.  F1 Fanatic has reported that Kimi might sit out the last two races of the season if the pay issues are not resolved.

Indian GP 2013Other notables in the Indian GP included the impressive start by Webber. The Aussie managed to get a clean start and he was solidly in first place for the middle section of the race.  With Webber putting Vettel under extreme pressure after the pit rotation it looked like there could be some fireworks between the contentious teammates during the closing laps.  That wasn’t to be however as Webber was ordered to park the car due an alternator failure.  At this point it’s not hard to imagine that Webber simply want’s his F1 career to be over, though it would be sweet for him to collect one more win before he’s gone.

Indian GP 2013Many in the field were once again struggling with tires.  The Pirelli tire issues were on the forefront for the whole weekend.  To be fair a lot of the drama involved the decision to run the soft and medium tire instead of the medium and hard combination.  As a result, there was the possibility of multiple race winning strategies and teams throughout the paddock struggled to optimize their chances.  Not surprisingly the cars that are easy on their tires had a significant advantage (the Red Bulls, Lotus, and Saubers)  while the rest struggled with tire wear and overheating (namely the Mercedes, and Force Indias).

Though his teammate once again struggled to manage the car Nico Rosberg simply drove a supurb race, stayed out of trouble, and finished second.  This year’s impressive performance by the often overlooked German really shows how much difference a good car can make.   At the F1 level none of the drivers are no talent hacks (of course as more pay drivers start coming into the field this might change) but a driver like Rosberg, who was in F1 for seven years before his first win, can easily have their talent masked by a bad or under-performing car.  So it’s good to see Rosberg in a car that has a chance for a podium or a win.

Indian GP 2013After a first corner incident and another early collision that damaged the steering, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was left to struggle in the midfield and his poor finish meant that Vettel was able to secure the 2013 Formula 1 Driver’s Championship.  Many, including Alonso, were already resigned to the fact that Vettel would once again be the F1 Champ.  Luckily for Ferrari Massa was able to finish 4th, ensuring that the second spot in the constructor’s championship will be a battle down to the wire.

Indian GP 2013With a fourth consecutive title under his belt Sebastien Vettel is without a doubt one of the best driver’s of the modern era and possibly of all time.  Like Schumacher, Vettel has a number of detractors and like Schumacher he is simply the dominant driver in the field.  The big question mark that remains is how fast Vettel really is?  Like Schumacher he has been paired with what is undeniably the fastest car in the field.

Some, perhaps many, are hoping that 2014 will be the year that Red Bull’s dominance ends.  It seems doubtful that Adrian Newey, the most successful designer in F1 history, will fail to design a competitive car in 2014.  I suspect the best we can hope for is that the new regulations close the gap between the Red Bull’s and the rest of the field.

As always we leave you with a photo gallery from the weekend and for all the official stats on the Indian GP check out the Official F1 site.