F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson offer his views ahead of the 2013 F1 season opener in Australia...
Gary, you have an expanded brief this season with the BBC
and will now work across TV, radio and online. Are you looking forward to that?
I am - we really want to bring as much technical stuff to the people that want to know as we can. The radio is a great medium for that and doing BBC2
for the Friday practices and Saturday morning practice is also a great medium for it. There is so much that goes on during practice that is about the car and about the work load. We all love qualifying and the racing, but that is never just down to the guy driving the wheels off it. In the background a lot of work goes on before then. It will be nice to bring some more of that to it and explain what goes on. Whenever we do qualifying and the race on TV there really isn't enough time [to focus much on technical stuff] as the spectacle is big enough and so this is a mechanism to try and bring more of that to the show.
We have had all three pre-season tests now. I know it is not easy to make judgements from testing. But in your expert opinion, who is looking good?
It is tough [to make any judgements]. I went to the Jerez test and I went to the last Barcelona test. I missed the one in the middle.
But if you just take the last Barcelona test, the Mercedes car was obviously quick and the lap times were good. You can't look at them and think, 'They were quick but slow,' if you get my gist. They were almost two seconds quicker than last year's test. I think Mercedes at the beginning of this year will be very strong. They need to show that they can maintain that development all the way through the year now. They need to show they can do well and do a good job in the championships.
But the Red Bull still looks very good on the track [too]. It is very stable and I am sure whenever they get to push for a lap time the car will be right up there. I do think however, it is going to be very close.
If I was a betting man, I would say right now, it is [Fernando] Alonso for the [Drivers'] championship just because of his true, real determination that we saw last year. We hadn't seen that before in him and I think we will see a bit more of it this year. Red Bull Racing is my tip for the Constructors' because the two drivers they have will score good points all the time. The car is very good. But it wouldn't surprise me if I am sitting here again in November and one of the Mercedes drivers has won the drivers' title and Mercedes has won the Constructors' because if they can do the job, as good as I think the car is right now, there is no reason why that can't happen.
Alonso and Ferrari came close last year to winning the drivers' title - and in 2010. What do they need to do differently? Do they need to do anything differently?
They need to do a better car. Alonso drove a car last year and had results out of it that weren't anywhere near what the car's level should have been. He was driving well above the car. I think we can see another step there. He is a shrewd character. [Sebastian] Vettel and Alonso are very similar in my book. They go away and come back better people. They dig deep and they look better at the start of each year. I don't know if it is mental confidence, or just physical confidence or physical fitness, whatever. There is something in there that they are able to do. We saw that with Alonso last year. He had a spring in his step. He was in a different world. Yes, he lost the world championship, but at the end of the day it was only by a few points and at the end of a season in which Ferrari shouldn't really have been able to do what they did. The [2013 Ferrari] car looks a lot better and is a lot better on the track. It looks a lot better on lap time. It looks a lot more comfortable to drive. There is still work to do to move it forward but with Alonso's determination, for me, he will be scoring big points every weekend. Last year he scored good points most weekends and had the odd benefit. But this year he will justifiably take them because of a true competitive level.
Do you think the Pirelli tyres will play as big a role in 2013?