March 11th, 2013 (F1 Plus/ Rebecca Creed) The midfield teams look to be closer than ever as we head into the 2013 season. In 2012 the midfield teams were closely matched at the beginning of the season but by the end there was differing results for each. Whilst Sauber were challenging Mercedes for fifth in the constructors, Toro Rosso were struggling and slipping into the clutches of the backmarkers. With the teams now closer than ever before this is certain to be an interesting 19 round battle.
In 2013 the front runners look closer together which will make it difficult for the midfield drivers to get a break at the front and produce podium performances. In 2012 the start of the season featured seven different race winners in seven races and whilst this is still possible this season, with the top teams being so close the midfield racers are unlikely to contribute to this.
In 2012 Williams was one of the teams to win one of the first seven races in Spain. Pastor Maldonado won the race taking the teams first win since 2004. The team were competitive at the start of 2012 but could only manage eighth in the constructors. This season the team’s long run pace looks much more competitive and they should be challenging the front of the midfield, however they are not alone.
Both Sauber and Force India will be hoping to maintain or better their 2012 constructors championship position. Sauber have gone radical with the design of their car electing to use narrow sidepods, although it cannot yet be seen how much of an advantage or disadvantage this will be, the car has still looked competitive on single lap runs. Last year the team were securing podiums and challenging Mercedes for fifth in the constructors and whilst this looks unlikely to be repeated in 2013 the team should be battling Williams and Force India for sixth.
Force India have two dependable drivers in Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil and will want to see a return to the top of the midfield in 2013. The car looks to have similar pace to the Sauber and despite Sutil’s year out potentially posing an issue his testing times in Barcelona seem to suggest to has not lost the pace he showed in 2011. It will be interesting to see if the team can produce even better results this year and go one better than fourth place and secure a podium that was so elusive in 2012.