Feb. 3 saw two more Formula 1 teams launch their 2013 machines as Mercedes and Toro Rosso both unveiled their new cars in Jerez, Spain which will be the site of the first round of preseason tests.
Mercedes has been the subject of much discussion this off season due to the addition of Lewis Hamilton to their driver line up. Hamilton’s teammate will be Nico Rosberg who has been with Mercedes for the last three seasons.
Much like the other cars we have seen launched thus far the new Mercedes F1 W04 doesn’t look much different from its predecessor, which is pictured above along with Toro Rosso’s 2012 ride. The livery is the same, but the team opted to use a vanity panel to hide the stepped nose. Only two teams, Red Bull Racing and Lotus F1 Team, have not added such a panel. The car retains the same style suspension as the 2012 model, but the rear end has been redesigned to provide better aerodynamics.
Both drivers will be looking to build on the success they had in 2012. Hamilton came up fourth in the Driver’s Championship standings scoring four wins and three additional podium finishes. Rosberg got his first ever F1 win at the Chinese Grand Prix and complimented it with one additional podium. He would finish the year ninth in the points. Hamilton has been very gung-ho in his approach to his new team, and is confident in his ability to challenge for the championship with Mercedes.
Toro Rosso launched their new Ferrari-powered STR8 in pit lane at the Jerez circuit.
Toro Rosso will be using the same driver pairing as 2012 with Australian Daniel Ricciardo and Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne in the cockpit. The team believes that the two will perform much better in their second year with Toro Rosso due to the added experience of driving together for one season.
During the press conference at the launch, team principal Franz Tost said that the team has rearranged its facilities and staff for the big changes that the 2014 season will bring, but also believes the changes will help them in 2013.
The team finished a disappointing ninth in the Constructor’s Championship in 2012, scoring only 26 points.
With the way Formula 1 is structured it is often very difficult for newer teams that lack the history and funding of blue bloods like Ferrari or McLaren to break into the upper echelon. Red Bull is the obvious exception to that rule, but Toro Rosso has struggled so it makes sense to me that they are already looking forward to 2014.
The introduction of the new V6 engines in 2014 has the potential to level the playing field a bit since all the teams will be working with brand new regulations and technology. If Toro Rosso can make some strides in 2013 as far as polishing their drivers and staff, they will be looking great for 2014.
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