F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson is tipping Fernando Alonso for the title this season and he has said he expects the Spaniard to score 'big points' every weekend.
Alonso came very close to securing his third crown last year - and in 2010 - and with Ferrari having seemingly produced a better car in the F138, he should be an ever greater threat, not that he is the only one that showed well in winter testing.
Indeed Anderson added that Red Bull remain the favourites for the Constructors' in his view, although having said all that, he wouldn't be that surprised either, if Mercedes ended up doing the double.
“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,” Anderson told Crash.net
during the London press launch for the BBC's
2013 F1 coverage.
“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 in 2012. 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.”
“Red Bull Racing is my tip for the Constructors', however, because the two drivers they have will score good points all the time,” Anderson continued. “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.”
Asked about winter testing and it was clear the former Jordan and Stewart designer had been impressed by the speed shown by Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the final Barcelona session.
“It is tough [to make any judgements from winter testing]. 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,” he explained.
“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. It is going to be very close.”STOP PRESS: To read more about what Gary Anderson thinks about the coming F1 2013 season, CLICK HERE.