F1 2013: Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull and Lotus Will Create a Battle Royal

Barry RosenbergContributor IIMarch 4, 2013

Mercedes practicing in the wet.
Mercedes practicing in the wet.Ker Robertson/Getty Images

Anticipation runs high with the approach of the Formula One season every year, but the 2013 season has some fans quivering with excitement.

Most insiders claim that they expect the battle at the front to be unchanged from last season.

However, testing has shown that there is room for unexpected changes.

Mercedes is emerging as a threat to all the habitually leading teams. The departure of Norbert Haug and the arrival of Paddy Lowe and Toto Wolff appear to have revitalized the potentially powerful team.

Mercedes also acquired 2008 champion, Lewis Hamilton, from McLaren. Hamilton is a skillful driver and we can expect great things him.

Hamilton's teammate, Nico Rosberg, has also shown great skill and can be expected to be just as impressive.

The McLaren team is likely to be a challenge at the front as usual—although it appears not quite as strong as in past years.

Also, there is a somewhat unexpected situation within the team this year.

Relative newcomer Sergio Perez threatens to outstrip Jenson Button, the most experienced driver on the grid and 2009 champion.

Button's extreme skill and smooth tire management will probably enable him to stay ahead of his new teammate; however, Perez has a hunger to win that could push him to previously unattained heights.

Button might also be troubled by his usual inability to qualify well, while Perez's single-lap pace will top Jenson's pace.

Although they are sometimes invincible, the Red Bull team seems to be less than strong this year in practice.

This very well could be a trick, hoping to confuse the comfort zone of it's competitors. It's difficult to accept that three-time champion Sebastian Vettel might not be able to get some wins out of the fabulous Adrian Newey cars.

Red Bull also has great potential in the Australian Mark Webber. If the 37-year-old begins to have better luck and fewer mechanical failures in his Red Bull car, he could be the team's front-runner.

Lotus is a threat to all its competitors, having shown considerable pace right from its inauguration. And now, the team finally realizes that the way to get a great performance out of Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen is to leave him alone—he knows what he's doing.

In the past, teams (notably Ferrari) tried to tame the iceman. It's not possible to tame an original artist, which many of we Canadian F1 fans consider Kimi to be. Now, Kimi Raikkonen, 2007 world champion, has found a home with management that appreciates the man's independence and talent.

It's nobody's business what Kimi does in his off hours, and leaving him out of a lot of promotional baloney permits to drive racing cars without endless other obligations.

The freedom to be Kimi is quite possibly the key to his potential to be the 2013 champion.

His young teammate, Frenchman Romain Grossjean, shows fabulous speed and courage, but has yet to demonstrate the mature patience needed to survive the duration of an event. His excessive ambition has led him to many wrecks by trying to win a race in the first couple of laps.

When he gets his eagerness under control, he is certainly a potential champion...some day.

Throughout the 2013 field, there is bound to be exciting action as back markers battle for their own leadership among their peers. The midfield will also find itself populated with several teams that show potential to rise to the front.