As we approach the beginning of the 2014 Formula One season and all the associated pomp and ceremony of car launches, testing and driver changes before the racing starts in Melbourne in March, let’s take a look back at the last blast of the V8 era. 2013, a year dominated by Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull on track, but defined by controversy and intrigue off it.
After being told to wield more ‘aggression’ by McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh before the Bahrain Grand Prix, Sergio Perez took it a little too far…
Maria de Villota tragically and unexpectedly passed away in October, just days before the publication of her book documenting her recovery from a terrifying testing accident at Duxford in 2012.
Romain Grosjean’s Bahrain podium was a mature and measured drive, the first of many in a season that saw him develop into a truly frontline competitor.
Winning at Barcelona made Fernando Alonso even more of a national treasure for Spaniards in a time of economic suffering. He failed to win again in 2013 as Mercedes and Red Bull found a higher gear.
Mid-season brought heated but measured words between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel after some of the German’s main rivals questioned his continued success at the wheel of Formula One’s fastest car.
The reigning World Champion also sparked anger after passing team-mate Mark Webber in defiance of team orders at the Malaysian Grand Prix, ensuring ‘Multi-21’ had its place in the annals of F1 history. (Credit to Sutton Images)
Even Kimi Raikkonen could manage a smile after winning the opening race in Melbourne at a canter, but the Finn was left with a sour taste in his mouth come season’s end as his payment was not forthcoming. He walked out on Lotus after retiring from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Nico Rosberg’s Monaco Grand Prix success was a breakthrough for Mercedes after some tough races, but the team earned a reprimand for an undercover tyre test held the week before the Spanish Grand Prix. Some thought they got off too lightly.
Whatever the results of the secret test, they didn’t benefit Mercedes too much; from Germany onwards Red Bull found new speed and swamped the opposition.
Pastor Maldonado’s frustrations with Williams’ plight boiled over into open warfare as he accused the team of sabotaging his car in Austin. The 2012 Spanish Grand Prix winner left the team at season’s end.
McLaren toiled through their worst season since 1980 as they struggled with the ungainly MP4/28.
Sebastian Vettel had little to worry about as he raced toward a record nine successive victories by season’s end.
Here the German dominates the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where he secured his first title in 2010.
He celebrated securing his fourth World Championship crown in India with a heartfelt performance of donuts on the main straight, before paying homage to his all-conquering RB9.
F1 waved goodbye to the V8 era in Brazil, but also said farewell to Aussie legend Mark Webber as he swaps F1 for sportscars in 2014. Despite missing out in the title in 2010, the Popular Australian secured nine victories in an F1 career that spanned twelve years.