Sebastian Vettel says he expects the 2013 F1 season to follow a similar pattern to last year, with no one driver able to dominate at the front of the field.
The 2012 campaign proved to be one of the most open for some time, with seven winners in the first seven races and eight different victors over the season as a whole.
While a strong end to the year saw Vettel and Red Bull
crowned for the third successive season, the German was unable to dominate in the same way he did in 2011 and he insisted things would be close again this time around.
“I don't think it will be much different from what was important last year - again it will be very close, so it will not be a case of two or three drivers fighting it out,” he was quoted by the official F1 website. “In the first half of the season I expect a very similar situation to 2012 where we saw many different winners. Then, in the second half, some favourites will become visible.
“To be one of them you have to score points at every race and be consistent - that was what got us the title in 2012. We never lost faith in our abilities, even if we didn't look too good at some stages of the season. We were fighting all the way, and fighting was what got us back into the game and delivered both titles.”
Although he admitted that the team still needs more time to fully unlock the potential of the new RB9, which has still to top the timing sheets, Vettel said he felt the team in better shape than it was last season.
“Yes, I would say so, although you can hardly compare the car that we have now to the one we had one year ago,” he insisted. “What we have is more or less the same car that we had in Brazil - with some steps forward. But from a personal level I can say that I am much happier now than I was one year ago.
“We still need a bit more time and the good news is there are still six test days left. So far everything is running smoothly here; no real issues aside from the hiccups with the software, but this is not only plaguing us - we are all in the same boat. In the mornings it is still too cold and as a result you see the tyres giving up quite fast, but that is also something that we all have in common.”