Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

2013 Predictions Megamix revisited // Pre-season F1 thoughts compared to the end of year reality

Published by Christine

Way back in March, we challenged Sidepodcast listeners to submit their predictions for the upcoming Formula One season. We had a great response, packaged together in a neat little megamix show, but I did, rather ominously, promise: "we will revisit this podcast in about nine months time, and see who was right!"

That time is now, so let's dive right in and see who said what, when and where.

Hulk hopes

Hülkenberg answers many questions
Credit: Sauber Motorsport AG

There was a lot of love for Nico Hülkenberg early in the season, and whilst I don't think the affection for him died down over the course of the year, I think almost all the optimism that he could spring a surprise did. Predictions came thick and fast, with Adam saying: "My dark horse, Nico Hülkenberg, wins a race in his Sauber." And Pat added: "If you want an underdog winner, my pick would be Nico Hülkenberg."

Steven was slightly more reserved in his expectations, and thus came home completely correct.

I don’t see Gutiérrez getting anything out of the Hulk. Nico’s a driver I really rate and I think he’ll come out of there comfortably number one.

At the end of the year, and on pure numbers alone, Hülkenberg had outqualified his rookie teammate 18 times, and come out top in the races on 13 occasions. That is a comfortable number one status.

Ferrari favourites

Lukeh had a lot of faith in Ferrari, which was both rewarded and not so much. Fernando Alonso fought as best he could, and didn't give up until the bitter end, but Lukeh's prediction didn't come to pass.

The team to watch out for this season, I think, is going to be Ferrari. I think Alonso is going to be the man again. He was so good last year, so, so, so, so, so good last year. He’s got to be in with a shout at the championship this year. I’ll be so disappointed if he’s not.

Adam thought the Spaniard would have competition but still favoured Fernando: "My heart says Alonso and Räikkönen renew their 2005 rivalry. Alonso has the edge, in a much improved Ferrari." Will also thought Räikkönen would be able to take the fight to his fellow racers: "If Kimi can continue with this level of consistency, I think he’ll be in with a fight come the end of the season. If he can manage to turn a few more results into victories or podiums, then he could see this tipping the scales in his favour."

Midfielder's progress

Romain Grosjean was a hot topic last year, for all his crashes, but Will thought he would improve. "Romain, he's going to make strides this season. He's not going to be the reckless idiot he's currently known as." I'd say that was a fair assessment of the season.

Force India garnered a lot of attention for the return of Adrian Sutil, alongside the untapped potential of Paul di Resta. Lukeh had Sutil all sussed out: "Sutil needs to make the most of this second chance, because he’s a lucky boy and I think he will... for a while. But I think he’s going to fall off towards the end of the year, and I think he’s going to be dropped at the end of the year, basically." Pat also summed up the situation quite nicely.

Now Sutil has come along, Paul’ll have more of a fight, although having had a year out, you never really know how quick he’s going to be. He was average before, Paul’s got more experience, he’s generally better, I think.

Although they finished next to each other in the driver standings, Paul ended up 12th with 48 points and Adrian was 13th with 29, and that was despite Paul's constant concern about strategy calls!

Mercedes and McLaren

Feeling the pain at McLaren
Credit: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

The fortunes of the two M teams were reversed to how most of us expected them to be. With a new lineup, and focus on 2014, Mercedes were thought to be biding their time, whilst McLaren would have to deal with the loss of their star driver, but could start a decent recovery programme. No one could have predicted how much they would struggle, in fact, Alex went so far as to peg them for a winner.

I also think McLaren are going to do better than people think and Lotus are going to be up there. So, I think we’re going to have a lot of winners, and maybe some new winners with Bottas and Williams. And maybe the Sauber boys will be in there, too.

Sadly we only saw five different winners across the season, with no sign of McLaren, Williams or Sauber. Meanwhile, back on Mercedes, Pat pointed out one of the problems with making predictions for this team: "I’m not sure what to make of Hamilton, he either could respond well and fight with the car and drag it to whatever finish it can possibly do, even though that depends, drag a point out of it. Or his head might drop." Kind of both, in the end!

Noelinho was feeling positive about the fortunes of Mercedes: "It’s hard to know where Mercedes will finish this year. They’ve looked very good in testing, and they do have Lewis Hamilton so if they have a very fast car, they’ve got a very good shout at the constructor’s championship." Lukeh was keen on the new driver line-up at the German squad: "Mercedes are going to be the team to watch this year, aren’t they? Hamilton and Rosberg are going to be a really good team together but I’m not sure they’re going to push the car as much as Mercedes hope." But for every Mercedes point, there was a lack of top ten finishes over at McLaren. Steven took a good look at the driver line-up:

You have the Pérez at McLaren situation. Frankly, I think he’s there for the money, I don’t think he’s good enough to be in a McLaren seat. I think Button will blow him away and if somehow McLaren have comfortably the best car, I can see Button beating him by 100 points.

The 100 points was a little wide of the mark, but Pérez has been dropped from McLaren, showing they didn't think he was good enough to be there either. Will's thoughts about the Woking team were slightly out: "The McLaren duo will be hoping that Lewis has taken last year’s bad luck and mechanical troubles with him to Mercedes. If this is the case, then a consistent McLaren is going to be a fast McLaren..." But perhaps it all can be blamed on Lewis.

Championship choices

Naturally, any predictions show has to include the choice of champion and most of our callers didn't have Vettel too far from their thoughts. Adam said quite rightly: "My head says Sebastian Vettel will win a fourth world title with a bit to spare." Alex agreed: " I think that it’s going to be a close season, but I think Vettel and Red Bull are just going to sneak it again because I don’t think they’ve shown their true potential in testing."

Noelinho was torn, and eventually went the wrong way, but his reasoning was good.

In my mind, it boils down to Alonso versus Vettel for the title again this year. So, who is going to win it? Well, I’m going to plump for Fernando Alonso. To be honest, there’s not really very much between the two drivers. Vettel is the three time champion, Alonso is a two time champion. They are probably as good as each other when they have the fastest car. The difference between the two, I think, is their ability to drive round the car. If Vettel has the fastest car, he will win. If he doesn’t have the fastest car, will he win?

Pat also put his faith in Ferrari: "My pick for the championship is Alonso. I want him to have more wins than Vettel, so he has to get it this year to get himself back ahead. Then again, that depends entirely on Ferrari." Steven had those two teams on the mind: " I think Vettel’s obviously going to be in a good position to challenge for that, and I think Alonso’s going to be his closest challenger." And, just because it's fun, Will wasn't quite right on both counts: "My last words on the matter are going to be Fernando Alonso and Lotus."

Spot on

There were a couple of people who had their season predictions spot on, one of whom was Miika from Finland, who said: "I think that the tyres will make for crazy races in the early part of the season, so it’ll settle once again later on but the first races will be really chaotic." I don't think anyone could have predicted the tyre trouble that did occur but the races did settle (and then some!) in the second half.

I'll leave you with Dap's slightly unorthodox prediction, which turned out to be almost entirely accurate.

Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Button, Button, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Button, Button, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Button, Button, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Vettel, Kimi Räikkönen, Räikkönen, oh Räikkönen.