The week between the Indian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix has seen a number of announcements about driver line-ups for 2013. There are no surprises, but nonetheless these drivers will all be relieved to have at least another season in Formula One.
Lotus have retained the services of Kimi Raikkonen for next season. The Finn has had a strong return to Formula One after spending two years rallying. Although he has not yet won a race for Lotus, Raikkonen has stood on the podium six times and is currently third in the Drivers’ Championship. He is no longer in a position to win this year’s title, but expects to challenge for the top spot in 2013.
Nico Hulkenberg is moving to Sauber for 2013. He was previously linked with a possible move to Ferrari, but the Scuderia opted to re-sign Felipe Massa for another season. Hulkenberg’s switch to Sauber has been greeted with scepticism from some quarters, with suggestions that it is a sideways move, rather than one that will move his career forward. Sauber are currently ahead of Hulkenberg’s current team, Force India, in the Constructors’ Championship, and have scored four podiums this season. That competitiveness will almost certainly have been a large factor in Hulkenberg’s decision to move.
Toro Rosso have announced an unchanged driver line-up for next season. Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne joined the team at the beginning of 2012, and have done a reasonable job, looking particularly strong in the second half of the season.
The grid for 2013 now looks as follows:
Red Bull – Sebastian Vettel / Mark Webber
Ferrari – Fernando Alonso / Felipe Massa
McLaren – Jenson Button / Sergio Perez
Mercedes – Nico Rosberg / Lewis Hamilton
Lotus – Kimi Raikkonen / TBC
Sauber – Nico Hulkenberg / TBC
Force India – TBC / TBC
Williams – TBC / TBC
Toro Rosso – Daniel Ricciardo / Jean-Eric Vergne
Caterham – TBC / TBC
Marussia – Timo Glock / TBC
HRT – Pedro de la Rosa / TBC
Toro Rosso are the third team to launch their car today. The car is called the STR7 and will be raced in 2012 by Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.
The STR7 features the stepped nose that is now characteristic of 2012 Formula 1 cars. The new car retains the double floor that was a unique feature of the STR6. There is a gap between the bottom of the sidepods and the floor, which effectively creates a double floor, useful for extracting extra downforce. The car is powered by the Ferrari V8 engine, as used in the Ferrari F2012.
Toro Rosso have released a video of the new car, which can be found by clicking here.
The STR7 will be on track at the first pre-season test in Jerez, Spain from tomorrow 7 February to Friday 10 February, with Ricciardo first to drive the new car tomorrow morning.