1. Sergio Perez has a good season
McLaren’s decision to sign Sergio Perez was a controversial one. For many, it remains to be seen whether or not Sergio Perez has the total package. Can McLaren mold this master of the one-stopper into a complete driver? If McLaren has a good year, I want to see Perez come within two wins of Jenson Button’s total for the season in the same car. If McLaren have a bad season, I want to see Perez on the podium a handful of times and win at least one race. In my eyes, McLaren will have made the right decision if Perez meets these goals.
2. Mark Webber has a great season
Whether or not he was misquoted is yet unknown, but Red Bull “advisor” Helmut Marko has been quoted in the media making some disparaging remarks about Webber’s form, and it seems the media is ready to pounce on that and bring Webber’s future at Red Bull into question. It would seem that Red Bull want to build a franchise around Sebastian Vettel and it wouldn’t surprise me if they more or less openly adopted an “A and B driver” philosophy a la Scuderia Ferrari. In a sense, Vettel has earned this status, for sure. But I also believe that Webber has earned his place in the team. I think Webber deserves to stay in F1 and under the right conditions is an asset to any team. Ferrari seemed to believe as much, considering both sides acknowledged they had talks last season and one of the main stumbling blocks to these discussions was Webber being too tall to fit into a car designed for Fernando Alonso.
I think Webber deserves a place in the history books and hope he continues driving for a few more years. For 2013, I would like to see him silence his critics and outperform Vettel. I don’t expect to see it, but that’s what I want.
I also wouldn’t mind seeing Webber (and Helmut Marko, for that matter) be a little less outspoken in 2013.
3. Lewis Hamilton does well
Hamilton’s decision to leave McLaren and drive for Mercedes made me cringe. I think he has made a mistake, and I would not be surprised to see him find in Nico Rosberg a more formidable rival than meets the eye. I hope I am wrong and Hamilton’s decision to move to Mercedes proves to be a good one.
4. Nico Rosberg wins once again – or twice
It was good to see Rosberg finally get his first win last season. It would be nice to see him get another one or two this season, and compare favorably to Hamilton’s pace in the same Mercedes.
5. Protest-free Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Formula 1 is embroiled in enough of it’s own politics and controversy to get ensnared in those of its host countries.
6. 1st time winner at Singapore
Like many of the drivers themselves, I am not a big fan of the Singapore street circuit. In fact, I find it almost difficult to watch. At Valencia last year, Alonso’s charge through the field made for an exciting race at otherwise boring circuit. Lets hope someone – anyone – does the same for us at Singapore this year.
7. Grosjean does well
I don’t believe Grosjean needs to change his driving style – at all. He just needs to pay attention. Whereas Maldonado tends to be overly aggressive, clearly most of Grosjean’s accidents have resulted from honest mistakes. He just needs to make less of those in 2013. I think he is a naturally quick driver, and on his good days he compared pretty well with Kimi Raikkonen last season. Hopefully he’ll have more good days than bad days in 2013.
8. Massa does well
Like his predecessor Rubens Barrichello, Felipe Massa’s #2 status at Ferrari makes him a perennial underdog. For this reason alone, I’ll always want to see Massa rise above that demarcation. I would like to see 2013 be a year where Massa returns to the form that almost made him a world champion. I would like to see Massa drive well enough in the first half of 2013 to earn another year with Maranello in 2014. I do not want to see a repeat of 2012 where Massa was driving for his career. He’s a much better driver than that and hopefully in 2013 he’ll silence his many critics. A competitive Felipe Massa in 2013 would make a great comeback story and I love comeback stories.
9. Button does well
2012 wasn’t the greatest year for Button or McLaren. I would like to see Button on the podium a lot in 2013 and would love to see him win at least one more championship before he retires. I don’t think he should go in the history books as a one time champion.
10. Hulkenberg does well
After watching him completely decimate the field at a very wet A1GP race in Malaysia several years ago, I began to view Hulkenberg as a champion in the making. Then as time went by, I began to question that assessment. Honestly, I really thought I had been wrong about Nico until his surprising performance in the wet in Brazil this last season.
Unlike others, I don’t consider his move from Force India to Sauber to be a sideways move, at all. I think it will prove to be a good move and I would like to see him capitalize on it and have his big breakthrough year.
With all the media speculation involving his future at either Ferrari or Red Bull in 2014, I wonder how much of a microscope he’ll be under this year at Sauber. I honestly don’t want to see either Webber or Massa lose their seats at their respective teams, but it would be nice to see what Hulkenberg does in a competitive car sometime in the near future.
11. Somebody – anybody – announces they’ve signed Kamui Kobayashi to drive with them in 2014
Although I understand the rationale behind Sauber’s decision to drop Kobayashi in favor Guitierrez, that doesn’t make it any less tragic in my opinion. After many years of lesser Japanese drivers having the red carpet rolled out for them into race seats, now perhaps the greatest driver in Japanese history has had the carpet pulled out from under him.
Hopefully we haven’t seen the last of Kamui Kobayashi. He deserves to be in Formula 1.
12. Fernando wins the championship
Like many, I believe that Fernando Alonso is the most complete driver in the world right now. To an extent, I also view Vettel as being a product of his team environment, whereas Alonso has succeeded in spite of Ferrari’s woes. Vettel had an Adrian Newey designed car, Alonso struggled with poor aerodynamics all year. I think Alonso is the best driver on the grid, and if the history books were closed today, his two championship don’t do justice to what he has accomplished in Formula 1. Hopefully Ferrari will overcome their wind tunnel issues and produce a solid car for both Fernando and Felipe. I’d like 2013 to be the championship year that Alonso probably would have had in 2012 were it not for Ferrari’s aerodynamics and his accident at Spa Francorchamps.
And last but not least:
13. Taki Inoue grid-walk at Monaco (汗)
From what I understand, this legend resides in the Principality (汗), therefore the Monaco grid is in his backyard (汗). He should get a pass to walk the grid (汗) and do interviews (汗!!!!) for the media before the race.
photo credit: Taki Inoue, @takiinoue