drivers have suggested that the 2013 F1 world championship will be as closely fought as last year's, even though it is unlikely that there will be as many race winners.
The first seven races of 2012 saw different drivers stand on top of the podium, with Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen
making it eight victors by the end of the campaign, but neither Fernando Alonso
nor Felipe Massa
reckon there will be as many this time around. Not that they're counting themselves out, however, with pre-season testing have engendered a degree of optimism around Maranello.
“I think we are more or less ready for Melbourne,” Alonso claimed, “Of course, we would have liked more testing, but the rules are the same for everyone and we completed our programme throughout the tests.
“I don't think we will see one team dominate, but also I don't expect seven winners in the first races, like last year. It will be very close and, from our point of view, a good result this weekend would remove some of the stress. I enjoy the Albert Park circuit, it is technical and difficult and the track, being a street circuit, evolves throughout the weekend.”
Both drivers cite getting to grips with the new Pirelli tyres as a key to success in 2013, and Melbourne could provide an early test of Ferrari's capability in that area, with high temperatures expected to coincide with mandated use of the new supersoft compound.
“Managing the tyres, as well as making improvements to the aero side of the package through the year, will be very important, but we really need to be perfect in every area on the mechanical side of the car,” Massa commented, “Personally, I plan to start the 2013 season the way I went during the second half of 2012 and then build on that.
“We will have the supersoft tyres and I like that as I always prefer the softer end of the range. We start the season with a better car than we did last year, so I am happy and positive with the way testing went, when I felt the car evolved from the first day to the last.
“I can't say Albert Park is my favourite track, but I love coming to Australia. The track here is demanding, but I expect the F138 will be well adapted to it and that we can have a good first weekend.”