2013: The year of Vettel.
Here in the United States our dominate race car driver is Jimmie Johnson. Since 2006 he has won six championships and amassed forty-eight wins in NASCAR. His best season of wins came in 2007 when he won ten races, winning 27% of the races.
However, in Formula One there is perhaps a more dominate driver then Johnson in his series. Sebastian Vettel had his most dominate season this year, winning his fourth championship and thirteen wins. Vettel had a staggering 68% win total this season winning thirteen of nineteen.
This piece was intended to be a review of the entire Formula One season. Those were my honest intentions. Yet, when I began to look at all the stats, reread previous reviews, and looked back at footage from this season the answer became obvious.
2013 cannot be reviewed properly because it was simply the year dominated by Vettel. Nineteen races and thirteen different winning races demands that. Were there other stories? Yes. The fall off of Lewis Hamilton in the team switch, tyre issues, the late season drama between Kimi Räikkönen and Lotus.
All deserving of reorganization, but paling in comparison to Vettel’s feat. This year of sheer supremacy tied Vettel for third on the most championships won list with Alain Prost at four. If he wins the title next year, he moves into second with Juan Manuel Fangio. A sixth championship gives him sole position of second and altering the list. A seventh win ties him with Michael Schumacher.
What happens if he wins eight? The obvious is Vettel would have won the most Formula One championships ever. What will that do for his legacy? Where will things stand in the minds of the fans?
With any form of dominate champion, comes those who don’t like the champion for just that reason. This year, more and more jeers drowned out cheers for Vettel. He’s began to have to answer questions on this issue. He’s handling them well, for the most part. There have been cracks in the armor. His famous line about the pool late in the season enraged his competitors.
As enraged as they were, none of them could do anything to stop him. None of them may be able to as long as Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel can remain as the dominate force in the sport, just as they did in 2013.
I want to end this part of this article by saying this. I am not stating which driver is better than the other with the comparison of Vettel and Johnson. They are two different drivers, in two different cars, in really two different worlds.
Johnson is not known for his road course pedigree. Vettel is unaware of the work it takes to drive a stock car into a sharp left in high banking. They could flip seats and nothing could change. Or they could flat on their faces.
However, one fact is undisputable. Until Red Bull slips, or Vettel becomes lazy, Formula One is their personal playground.
In random news:
JTG-Daugherty has officially announced they have formed a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing. They move from Toyota and TDR engines to Chevrolet and Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines. The team will have AJ Allmendinger driving for them next year.
Steve Addington has moved from Stewart-Haas Racing’s crew chief for the number 14 to the Harry Scott Jr. owned Phoenix Racing. He will crew chief the 51 and serve as team competition director.
WIX Filters has followed Ryan Newman and will be a sponsor of the team. I’m a Fram Filters guy, so I don’t care about WIX. Sorry.
Mario Andretti, Ray Evernham, and Steve Waid will be inducted into this year’s National Motorsports Hall of Fame. Waid is a long time sports writer, having covered forty years worth of the sport. Ray Evernham for those new to the sport is a highly celebrated crew chief, leading Jeff Gordon to three wins and forty-seven wins. He now is covering NASCAR for ESPN. And if you don’t know who Mario Andretti is then why in the hell are you reading this?!
Dave Blaney is unsure of his future. He hopes to be around the sport in some capacity next season but doesn’t know where. If anyone is looking for a driver to start and park, Dave is available….I’m just ribbing you Mr. Blaney….Sort of.
NASCAR is adopting new policies on sponsorship on what sponsors they allow in the sport. We’ll call this the NRA rule.
Very new rumor is Juan Pablo Montoya might be able to make a start or two for Penske Racing this season. That could be SO much fun….I already miss Montoya.
Random Sports/Non Sports Thought:
….I already miss racing. Only 89 days to the Daytona 500!
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Come back on Wednesday when we review the season that was the NHRA Mellow Yellow Drag Racing Series!