Karun Chandhok's take on the 2013 Formula 1 season so far

Karun Chandhok Published: October 23, 2013, 02:59 PM IST

As we head into the 2013 Indian Grand Prix, it's only natural to look back at the season so far. It is no surprise that Sebastian Vettel has been the dominant force this season. Although it wasn't entirely evident at the start of the season, Red Bull and Vettel proved to be a force to reckon with after Formula 1 returned from its customary summer break in August. The team appeared to find the strength needed over the course of the summer break, and Vettel too pushed hard. Red Bull, with the help of Adrian Newey and his team of aerodynamists, managed to get the car's rear downforce sorted out perfectly. But it isn't just engineering prowess that their success is down to. Other than the fact that the team has proven to be strong on the whole, Vettel himself has been driving particularly well. A stark comparison can be seen when we take a look at his team-mate's performance this season. Mark Webber is a fast driver, but in 2013, he's been nowhere in comparison to his team-mate who is already looking well on his way to taking his fourth world championship title on the trot.

Red-Bull-Racing-@BIC-Track-Opening-(9).jpgSebastian Vettel during his previous visit to BIC

On the other hand, it's a real shame that Ferrari hasn't managed to be as competitive as they'd have liked to be this year. Of course, Fernando Alonso managed a win in Barcelona, and if you win at Barcelona, it usually means that you can win pretty much anywhere on the F1 calendar. And that you'll be competitive on the other tracks as well. That doesn't seem to have worked in Ferrari's case this year. While the race team is very good, Ferrari started 2013 with a car that wasn't particularly competitive to start with.

Then there is the Lotus F1 team who started the season with Kimi Raikkonen's first place at the Australian GP. Given that the team began their season with a double podium, Lotus really did have a competitive start to the 2013 season. But midway through the year, the team's struggles became apparent. They contemplated debuting the longwheelbase version of the car, but shelved that plan. However, it must be said that given the team's financial position, they have certainly outperformed their budget. Then there was the departure of Technical Director James Allison, while Dirk de Beer, the head of aerodynamics also departs Lotus for Ferrari next year. This means the team has a particularly stiff challenge in terms of developing their 2014 car as well. However, their drivers have performed well. It really is commendable the way Romain Grosjean stepped up to the plate and began delivering podiums, and on occasions has even managed to outperform Kimi Raikkonen.

It's also been a good year for the Mercedes AMG F1 team. The Silver Arrows have managed to fight for second place in the constructors championship, a visible measure of their competitiveness in 2013. While they clearly started the season with the fastest car on the grid, where the team has struggled has been in their ability to catch up, in that they haven't been as quick to react as some other teams have been. A major struggle for Mercedes has been the fact that they haven't been able to get their tyres to last, and have had to slowdown performance to ensure that a compromise is reached and a balance is struck. The end result of which has been that they haven't managed to match the Red Bulls this season. And as the Indian GP approaches, the season's almost at the very end.

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