by

Jerez.

The calendar says February 11 and it’s only a little over a month until the start of the 64th Formula One season in Australia. Like always, there have been some changes on the starting grid from last year. Some drivers have changes teams while others have lost their contracts. We’ll also see a few new faces on the starting grid for the 2013 season. Unfortunately, there’ll be one less team in the pits this season: HRT F1 was put up for sale in November last year, but the owners where unable to find a new buyer before the 2013 fees were due to be paid, and that effectively closed the door for HRT’s participation in the 2013 season. The team was later reported to be in liquidation. To be honest, the removal of HRT from the grid might not be a bad thing: They were always the backmarkers, finishing far behind even the middle pack. To put it short, HRT probably won’t be missed too much by anyone.

But the remaining teams have been busy since Sebastian Vettel was crowned world champion in Brazil last year. New cars have been designed and tested, but fortunately for the teams, there have been very few changes to the technical regulations this year, meaning that the teams could focus on enhancing last year’s cars instead of having to start from scratch. Have you ever wondered how much work goes into designing, building and testing a Formula One car? This excellent video from Red Bull shows a small part of the process.

Last week the teams gathered in Spain, on Circuito de Jerez for pre-season testing. Prior to the testing, most of the teams had revealed their new cars and I must say they look good. Most designs have downplayed the platypus nose that was the result of changes to the 2012 regulations with a “modesty plate”, a panel designed to obscure the step without fundamentally altering the aerodynamic profile of the car or offering any aerodynamic gain itself. One of the nicest cars this season is probably the Sauber C32:

Sauber C32.

Most teams seemed happy with their Jerez tests, but even though it’s hard to say anything from the these tests, I’m pretty sure 2013 will be a great season. Only a couple of weeks left!

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