F1 lead commentator Ben Edwards has said he sees no reason why Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing can't successfully defend their crowns in 2013 and he believes they will again be 'hard to beat'.
Vettel and Red Bull will be looking to make it four title wins in a row this year and while Edwards conceded that won't be easy to achieve, especially given it is likely to be so close at the top, he added the signs are still very good for the Milton Keynes-based outfit.
Indeed speaking at the London press launch for the BBC's
2013 F1 coverage, Edwards noted that the stability in the regulations will play to Red Bull's advantage.
“It is [a big ask to make it four in a row], but I think they can [do it] because they have been the supreme team under the current regulations,” Edwards told Crash.net
“Brawn won in 2009 but Red Bull Racing were the nearest challengers - and once they got the double diffuser up and running they were arguably quicker than Brawn. At the beginning of last year they struggled when the exhaust blown diffusers were banned, but they came back - it was amazing how they came back.
“They just seem to have such a handle on these regulations. It might all change next year because there are new regulations. However right now I still believe they are going to be hard to beat. Vettel is on such a crest of a wave. Michael Schumacher managed to do it in the early 2000's [and won four titles in a row. In fact he did five]. Why can't Sebastian do it? He would love to emulate what Schumacher did.”
Meanwhile, Edwards noted that while Ferrari does look stronger, he isn't convinced they are yet quite up with Red Bull.
“Fernando [Alonso] doesn't need to do anything different [this year]. He drove a perfect season from my point of view last year. You don't often get seasons like that and I think he would be the first to admit it. But what let him down was the car. We know that and particularly in the early part of the year, before the Barcelona race. So, it is clear what they need. They need the car to be competitive from the word go and looking at testing it looks like they have that. I am not sure, however, that it will be quite what they need throughout the whole year. Let's see," Edwards continued.
“They are making progress and technically they will be stronger this year than they were. But I still think it is a bit of an evolution that they are going through at Ferrari. They have come from somewhere that wasn't very good, with problems with the wind tunnel and so on. They have made a lot of strides forward. But I am not 100 per cent sure they are quite ready yet technically, to be at the same level as Red Bull.”
As for winter testing, Edwards said it was difficult to make any concrete conclusions: “Obviously Mercedes had a great Barcelona test and I am really pleased for them,” he added. “We all want to see Lewis [Hamilton] up there and fighting with a car that is capable of winning and it does look like they are certainly in a better position than at the end of last year. It is interesting because they started last year quite well with Schumacher and [Nico] Rosberg. But I think that was maybe also partly because of the underperformance of Ferrari and Red Bull Racing. Whereas this time they look like they will all be very even.
“What we do know is that it is going to be mighty close and that is what really excites me. From a viewing point of view and from a spectators' point of view you just want lots of cars fighting for pole position and fighting for race wins. I think we will get that,” Edwards concluded.
STOP PRESS: To read more about what Ben Edwards thinks about the coming F1 2013 season, CLICK HERE.