Yes, the start of the first race of the 2013 Formula 1 season is coming towards us like a runaway freight train. But where an oncoming freight train most certainly would result in instant death - unless you decided to move out of its way - a brand new Formula 1 season can only be a good hit. The teams have finished their pre-season testing, and all the teams now finally have their driver lineup confirmed and economic obligations sorted.

This year’s winner of the Team Voted Most Likely Not to Make it Through the Entire Season is Marussia: Rookie driver and GP2 Series runner-up Luiz Razia was almost sitting in the cockpit of the Marussia car when the second pre-season test in Barcelona started, but he was suddenly removed from the testing line-up. It was later reported that his sponsors had missed payments to the team, prompting the decision to suspend his testing programme. Poor guy had already updated his Twitter bio with “Formula 1 driver”. Marussia also got into some economic trouble before the pre-season testing had even started: Timo Glock was initially signed to compete for Marussia until the end of the 2014 season, but later announced that he would be leaving the team. Marussia team principal John Booth cited “tough economic conditions” as the reason for the team being forced to let Glock go. Glock literally took one for the team.

But this is what Formula 1 is all about: Drama on and off the circuit. I am a bit concerned about the volume of pay drivers on the grid, however. Should Formula 1 be about driving talent or the ability to bring in sponsor dough to the team? The former, of course: With the talent, the sponsors will flock to you.

Anyway.

With only four days left until the first practice start in Melbourne, Australia, it’s important that you start to prepare for the season. First of all, here’s the race calendar, shamelessly ripped from the Wikipedia 2013 Formula One season article:

<th>
  Race title
</th>

<th>
  Grand Prix
</th>

<th>
  [Circuit](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Formula_One_circuits "List of Formula One circuits")
</th>

<th>
  Date
</th>
<td>
  Rolex Australian Grand Prix
</td>

<td>
  [Australian GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Grand_Prix "Australian Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Albert Park](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melbourne_Grand_Prix_Circuit "Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit"), [Melbourne](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melbourne "Melbourne")
</td>

<td>
  17 March
</td>
<td>
  Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix
</td>

<td>
  [Malaysian GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysian_Grand_Prix "Malaysian Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Sepang International Circuit](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sepang_International_Circuit "Sepang International Circuit"), [Kuala Lumpur](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuala_Lumpur "Kuala Lumpur")
</td>

<td>
  24 March
</td>
<td>
  UBS Chinese Grand Prix
</td>

<td>
  [Chinese GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Grand_Prix "Chinese Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Shanghai International Circuit](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_International_Circuit "Shanghai International Circuit"), [Shanghai](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai "Shanghai")
</td>

<td>
  14 April
</td>
<td>
  Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix
</td>

<td>
  [Bahrain GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahrain_Grand_Prix "Bahrain Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Bahrain International Circuit](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahrain_International_Circuit "Bahrain International Circuit"), [Sakhir](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sakhir "Sakhir")
</td>

<td>
  21 April
</td>
<td>
  Gran Premio de España
</td>

<td>
  [Spanish GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Grand_Prix "Spanish Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Circuit de Catalunya](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circuit_de_Catalunya "Circuit de Catalunya"), [Montmeló](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montmel%C3%B3 "Montmeló")
</td>

<td>
  12 May
</td>
<td>
  Grand Prix de Monaco
</td>

<td>
  [Monaco GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monaco_Grand_Prix "Monaco Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Circuit de Monaco](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circuit_de_Monaco "Circuit de Monaco"), [Monte Carlo](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Carlo "Monte Carlo")
</td>

<td>
  26 May
</td>
<td>
  Grand Prix du Canada
</td>

<td>
  [Canadian GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Grand_Prix "Canadian Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Circuit Gilles Villeneuve](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circuit_Gilles_Villeneuve "Circuit Gilles Villeneuve"), [Montreal](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal "Montreal")
</td>

<td>
  9 June
</td>
<td>
  British Grand Prix
</td>

<td>
  [British GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Grand_Prix "British Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Silverstone Circuit](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverstone_Circuit "Silverstone Circuit"), [Silverstone](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverstone "Silverstone")
</td>

<td>
  30 June
</td>
<td>
  Großer Preis von Deutschland
</td>

<td>
  [German GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Grand_Prix "German Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Nürburgring](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%BCrburgring "Nürburgring"), [Nürburg](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%BCrburg "Nürburg")
</td>

<td>
  7 July
</td>
<td>
  Magyar Nagydíj
</td>

<td>
  [Hungarian GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_Grand_Prix "Hungarian Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Hungaroring](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungaroring "Hungaroring"), [Budapest](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest "Budapest")
</td>

<td>
  28 July
</td>
<td>
  Shell Belgian Grand Prix
</td>

<td>
  [Belgian GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgian_Grand_Prix "Belgian Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circuit_de_Spa-Francorchamps "Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps"), [Francorchamps](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spa,_Belgium "Spa, Belgium")
</td>

<td>
  25 August
</td>
<td>
  Gran Premio d'Italia
</td>

<td>
  [Italian GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Grand_Prix "Italian Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Autodromo Nazionale Monza](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autodromo_Nazionale_Monza "Autodromo Nazionale Monza"), [Monza](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monza "Monza")
</td>

<td>
  8 September
</td>
<td>
  Singapore Grand Prix
</td>

<td>
  [Singapore GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore_Grand_Prix "Singapore Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Marina Bay Street Circuit](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_Bay_Street_Circuit "Marina Bay Street Circuit"), [Marina Bay](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_Bay,_Singapore "Marina Bay, Singapore"), [Singapore](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore "Singapore")
</td>

<td>
  22 September
</td>
<td>
  Korean Grand Prix
</td>

<td>
  [Korean GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Grand_Prix "Korean Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Korea International Circuit](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korea_International_Circuit "Korea International Circuit"), [Yeongam](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeongam "Yeongam")
</td>

<td>
  6 October
</td>
<td>
  Japanese Grand Prix
</td>

<td>
  [Japanese GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Grand_Prix "Japanese Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Suzuka Circuit](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzuka_Circuit "Suzuka Circuit"), [Suzuka](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzuka,_Mie "Suzuka, Mie")
</td>

<td>
  13 October
</td>
<td>
  Airtel Indian Grand Prix
</td>

<td>
  [Indian GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Grand_Prix "Indian Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Buddh International Circuit](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddh_International_Circuit "Buddh International Circuit"), [Greater Noida](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Noida "Greater Noida")
</td>

<td>
  27 October
</td>
<td>
  Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
</td>

<td>
  [Abu Dhabi GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Dhabi_Grand_Prix "Abu Dhabi Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Yas Marina Circuit](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yas_Marina_Circuit "Yas Marina Circuit"), [Abu Dhabi](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Dhabi "Abu Dhabi")
</td>

<td>
  3 November
</td>
<td>
  United States Grand Prix
</td>

<td>
  [United States GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Grand_Prix "United States Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Circuit of the Americas](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circuit_of_the_Americas "Circuit of the Americas"), [Austin](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austin,_Texas "Austin, Texas")
</td>

<td>
  17 November
</td>
<td>
  Grande Prêmio do Brasil
</td>

<td>
  [Brazilian GP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_Grand_Prix "Brazilian Grand Prix")
</td>

<td>
  [Autódromo José Carlos Pace](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aut%C3%B3dromo_Jos%C3%A9_Carlos_Pace "Autódromo José Carlos Pace"), [São Paulo](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A3o_Paulo "São Paulo")
</td>

<td>
  24 November
</td>
Round
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19

Like every season, the teams have designed new cars with new liveries. Most of the colours are, of course, not that different from previous seasons, So it won’t be hard to tell the different teams from each other. The drivers on the same team, on the other hand, can be a nightmare, but there are three distinct features you can look for to tell them apart: Car number, helmet design and t-bar colour. Unfortunately, The car number is almost impossible too see at the speed these cars are driving. The helmet design is usually a good indication, but the t-bar is your safest bet. The helmet design has the potential to be the easiest way to tell who is who, but some drivers, like Sebastian Vettel, has the annoying habit of changing helmet designs for each race. So, which drivers use what colours, then? The Spotter’s Guide Central has created a great resource with liveries, car numbers, default helmet designs and t-bar colours you can use. Download the Formula 1 2013 Spotter Guide.

A great way to get last minute updates during the race is to use the official live timing on the Formula 1 web site. It requires you to create an account and log in, which is a whole lot of bull crap. But fear not, there is really no need for you to waste any time registering, simply use the following information to log in:

Username: a3627318@bofthew.com

Password: 123456

If this should, for some reason, not work, have a look at BugMeNot for an alternative username/password combination. The official timing application requires Java to run, and you might have uninstalled Java because of all the security issues it’s been having lately. There are alternatives to the official live timing available, but I’ve never used any of them, so I can’t tell you if they work all right or not. But a quick Google search will lead you to them.

If you really want to go all in when it comes to live timing and statistics, you might want to consider the official F1 2013 Timing App by Soft Pauer. On paper, it’s a great app for Formula 1 fans: Real-time track positions, live timing, tyre data feed, race control messages, live leader boards, DRS zones, live pause and replay and the ability to track your favourite drivers on the circuit. But all this comes at a price: It will set you back a whopping £23.99 (~USD 36), which is pretty hefty for a mobile app. That said, if you’re a hard core F1 fan, there are a lot of features there that I think you’ll really enjoy.

But none of this really matters if you are unable to actually view the races. I’ve used premium streaming services to view previous seasons, but in my experience you should avoid using streaming services if you have a choice. Watch on the telly instead, at least if your streaming service option is Viaplay. This year I will do my best to avoid using Viaplay and instead try to find unofficial streams online. Sure, they might be just as unstable as the Viaplay streams, but at least I’m not paying for a premium service that sucks monkey balls when it matters the most. Or maybe they will get their act together this season? Riiiight… If you are able to find a broadcaster or you feel will give you the quality you pay for and you have a lot of money to burn, you might also want to consider a setup like this guy. ironically, he is using Viaplay as his streaming provider (source).

So, with all these resources you should be more than ready for another great F1 season. Grab your favourite beverage and snack, sit back and enjoy the world’s number one motor sport.