With only a week to go until the Belgian Grand Prix, TPL has a few bold (and not-so-bold) predictions for the second half of the 2013 Formula One season.
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- Well, the title already gave away our first prediction – that Caterham will finally score a point. It is now mid-way through their fourth F1 season (the first two as Team Lotus – not to be confused with the Lotus team), so it has to happen some time, right? Maybe there will be torrential rain in Belgium or Brazil, and 11 or 12 cars will end up parked in the barriers; or maybe half the teams will boycott the Indian GP because they don’t want to pay the extra taxes; or maybe there will be a huge first-corner pile-up in Italy, with a bunch of cars too damaged to make the re-start. Anyway, it will have to be something like that, because the Caterhams aren’t beating anybody on merit (except the Marussias . . . sometimes).
Photo credit: Morio via Wikipedia
- Kimi Räikkönen will have five more second-place finishes (and at least one more victory). The Finn finished second five times in the season’s first ten races, and he is not particularly happy about it. With Mercedes improving and Red Bull sure to pick up a bunch more wins, it seems like the Iceman will spend a lot of his time on the podium looking up.
- Bernie Ecclestone will be convicted in his bribery trial in Germany and immediately announce that the 2014 German Grand Prix has been moved from Hockenheim to somewhere crazy, like, um, Bahrain. Oh, wait . . . they already have a race? Awkward. OK – he offers it to France, but only if Nicolas Sarkozy loans him a few bodyguards to fight off anyone trying to extradite him to Germany.
- Mark Webber will win one more race before he retires from F1. Preferably, it will be in Brazil, in the following circumstances: Sebastian Vettel and Webber are running first and second, respectively, in the closing laps of the season’s final race. Vettel needs the win to secure the Drivers’ Championship and Webber hears “Multi 21” over the radio, ordering him to hold position. Instead, he passes Vettel on the final corner, flips off the team on his way by the pit box and takes his car on a tour of São Paulo, presumably using the same escape road Kimi tried to use in 2012, to exit the circuit.
- In October, Pirelli will finally receive a contract to supply tyres for the 2014 season. Paul Hembery will thank Bernie Eccelstone and tell him he’ll get back to him. Two weeks before the start of winter testing, Hembery will call and say, “Thanks, but no thanks”, causing a revolt amongst the teams who threaten to turn Bernie over to the German authorities is he doesn’t fix the tyre situation.
- Red Bull team principal and outspoken Pirelli critic Christian Horner calls Hembery to say, on second thought, the 2013 tyres weren’t that bad.
- [I know I will regret this one, when Red Bull announces something different two days after this is posted] Red Bull will sign Daniel Ricciardo to partner Vettel for the 2014 season. As awesome as it would be to watch Vettel and Alonso/Räikkönen battle it out in the same car, choosing Ricciardo makes too much sense for Red Bull: he has come up through their driver development program, he has shown potential, he is much cheaper than Alonso/Räikkönen, and he likely won’t ruffle Vettel’s feathers by beating him too often (at least at first). Plus, didn’t it work out really well the last time Red Bull partnered Vettel with an Aussie?
Ricciardo looking good in a Red Bull at the 2013 Young Driver Test.
Photo credit: _chrisUK via Flickr.
- OK, a couple predictions for the smaller teams, before the grand finale: Vladimir Putin, jealous of Nicolas Sarkozy’s close relationship and bodyguard-sharing arrangement with Bernie Ecclestone, and anxious to drum up support for the inaugural Russian GP, will attempt to take Sergey Sirotkin‘s seat for 2014 at Sauber. Upon investigating Putin’s background, Sauber team prinicpal Monisha Kaltenborn is forced to concede that the Russian president does actually have more racing experience than the 17-year-old Sirotkin.
- For the first time since 2010, Adrian Sutil will drive an entire F1 season without stabbing someone in the neck with the jagged edge of a broken champagne flute. He and Paul di Resta will each finish on the podium once, and Force India will hang on to their lead over McLaren for fifth-place in the Constructors’ Championship.
- And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: TPL‘s pick for 2013 World Champion. Sorry for everyone hoping for a new champion this year (that includes TPL), but Sebastian Vettel is our pick to hold on and take his fourth title in a row (only one behind Michael Schumacher’s record five straight). Even with all the talk of Mercedes’ improvements, Vettel has won two of the last four races and was leading at Silverstone until his gearbox decided it was done for the day. He should have the title locked down by Austin.
Bonus prediction which probably won’t come true, but would be really cool if it did: Following Vettel’s World Championship victory, Christian Horner will reveal his true identity as a Sith lord, Darth Flugtag, apprentice to the evil Emperor (Bernie Ecclestone). Darth Flugtag replaced Emperor Ecclestone’s former apprentice, Jean Todt (Darth Maranello), who left for a position as commander of the Trade Federation (the FIA).