Clarkson also believes Felipe Massa will start 2013 as he finished 2012: “Let's not forget Felipe out-qualified Alonso for the last two races, if we disregard the gearbox seal being broken in Austin. But he did actually out-qualify Fernando there. It is great to see Massa back on track [after an awful start to last season] and he does have a good record against these top drivers.
“If he has carried that momentum through the winter, which I think he has, he will be up there. If you look at testing, he seems much happier in himself and much more relaxed around the team. It is going to be a strong team,” added the respected F1 scribe.
Despite that though, Clarkson doesn't reckon the Alonso-Massa combination will be enough to stop Red Bull from taking the Constructors'.
“I don't think it [the Ferrari line-up] is as strong as Vettel and [Mark] Webber,” confirmed the long-time F1 Racing
writer. “I think Red Bull will win the Constructors' Championship because the cars will be close together in terms of performance and then, you have just got to work out which is the strongest driver pairing on the grid and for me that is still Vettel and Webber.
“Webber's experience and ability to sort a car is vital to that team and Vettel is blindingly quick - we have seen that over and over again.”
But could we have another title showdown in Brazil in November?
“Absolutely, I think with rule stability the cars are pushed closer together and then it becomes much more of a drivers' championship. I think we will see the best drivers getting the best results and that is not always the case in F1 obviously.
“We will see the [Lewis] Hamilton's and the Alonso's and the Vettel's all hammering it out at the front. Personally I believe it will be one of the best season's ever. Bring it on!” Clarkson summed-up.
STOP PRESS: To read more the full interview with Tom Clarkon's ahead of the coming F1 2013 season, CLICK HERE.