A Review of the Year: F1 – March, April & May

Part two of a review of the year (2013) in Formula One. Part one (January & February) can be found by following this link.

March 2013

No sooner had Luis Razia been announced as a Marussia driver than he was replaced by Jules Bianchi due to financial reasons.

The third and final pre-season test continued and concluded with Nico Rosberg setting the fastest overall time.

Prior to the first race of the year (the Australian Grand Prix), Formula One announced the extension of its partnership with DHL, with the company remaining as the Official Logistics and Global Partner and sponsoring the Fastest Lap Award.

Sebastian Vettel demonstrated a taster for the year ahead by topping both FP1 and FP2 in Australia. Romain Grosjean was fastest in FP3. Qualifying was delayed until Sunday due to heavy rain. Vettel took pole position but it was Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen who took the first race win of the year. Fernando Alonso and Vettel also finished on the podium. Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta, Button and Grosjean rounded out the top ten. The race was the first indication of the struggles McLaren would face over the year.

Mercedes announced that Chief Executive Officer Nick Fry would be standing down from his position, although remaining with the team as a consultant.

Mark Webber and Kimi Raikkonen topped first and second practice in Malaysia but it was Sebastian Vettel who ultimately topped FP3 and qualifying, then going on to win the race.

Force India announced that their deal with Mercedes would continue into 2014 and beyond.

Williams announced that Claire Williams had become Deputy Team Principal.

April 2013

Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were fastest in the practice sessions for the Chinese Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton took Mercedes’ first pole of the season and his first away from McLaren. Mark Webber was sent to the back of the grid after he stopped on track after qualifying, unable to provide the required fuel sample. Alonso won the race ahead of Raikkonen and Hamilton.

Caterham announced that former race driver Heikki Kovalainen would be re-joining the team as a reserve driver.

Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso topped the Bahrain Grand Prix practice sessions. Nico Rosberg took Mercedes’ second podium in a row but it was Sebastian Vettel who won the race, beating the Lotus duo of Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

Sebastian Vettel became the first Formula One driver to drive at Sochi – the location of the Russian Grand Prix in 2014. He said: “I can already see it will be a fun circuit to drive in a Formula One car and the rest of the venue is very impressive.”

May 2013

In early May, Lotus announced that their Technical Director James Allison would be leaving the team. They replaced him with Nick Chester.

Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa topped the Spanish Grand Prix practice sessions, but none were able to prevent Mercedes taking their third pole position in a row. It was once again Nico Rosberg, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton qualifying second to make it a front row lock-out. It was Alonso who won the race, however, beating Kimi Raikkonen and Massa to the chequered flag.

McLaren revealed that from 2015 they would once again be partnering Honda. The multi-year technology partnership would result in McLaren’s long-standing relationship with Mercedes come to an end after a final hurrah in 2014.

Mercedes announced that Paddy Lowe would join them from early June, following his early departure from McLaren.

Felipe Massa took part in a demonstration run in Warsaw. He drove the 2009 Ferrari around a specially-designed street circuit.

Pirelli announced that they would be changing their tyre constructions from the Canadian Grand Prix onwards. Paul Hembery said at the time: “Our aim is to provide the teams with a new range which mixes the stability of the 2012 tyres and the performance of the current ones.”

It was revealed that the Mercedes F1 Team had taken part in a ‘secret’ test with Pirelli following the Spanish Grand Prix. The matter was brought in front of the FIA International Tribunal in June.

Nico Rosberg dominated around the streets of Monaco to top all three practice sessions, qualifying and the race itself. It was his second victory of the year and saw him finish ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. It was Mercedes’ fourth pole position from five races.

Toro Rosso revealed that they would move from Ferrari to Renault engines from 2014 onwards.

Also on the engine front, Williams announced that they would be moving from Renault to Mercedes for 2014 and beyond.

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