Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren: Who'll come out on top?

Here's a close look at all the racing teams that will vie for the Formula One Constructor's Championship 2013.

RED BULL RACING
Based: Milton Keynes, England.
F1 debut: 2005
Drivers: Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber
Team principal: Christian Horner
2012 constructors championship: 1st
Engines: Renault

Enters 2013 as the team to beat, having won both the drivers' and teams' titles for the previous three seasons. Vettel may be the star but a big source of the team's success is designer Adrian Newey, whose old-fashioned reliance on hand drawings as the basis of his designs has been no impediment to success in the modern era.

Getty Images

Let the battle begin. Getty Images

 

Fuelled by the energy-drink fortunes of Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz and overseen by his trusted lieutenant Helmut Marko, the hands-on running of the team is left to Christian Horner, who has grown in status with his team to become a heavy hitter in the uncompromising world of F1 politics. Webber is an ideal No.2 driver, capable of winning races in his own right.

FERRARI
Based: Maranello, Italy
F1 debut: 1950
Drivers: Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa
Team principal: Stefano Domenicali
2012 constructors championship: 2nd
Engines: Ferrari

Ferrari may still be the name that most readily evokes the history and glamor of the sport, but the Italian team and its hordes of fans are becoming impatient for success. Since the end of the dominant Schumacher-Todt-Brawn era, Ferrari has only won the drivers' title once — Kimi Raikkonen in 2007. The team had technical difficulties in 2012 that were solved too late. This year, it has been much closer to the front-runners in preseason testing, sparking hope the title drought will end in 2013. The team has shown admirable patience with Domenicali and Massa as they chase the elusive crown, but everyone at Maranello knows the wait cannot go on much longer.

MCLAREN RACING
Based: Woking, England
F1 debut: 1966
Drivers: Jenson Button and Sergio Perez
Team principal: Martin Whitmarsh
2012 constructors championship: 3rd
Engines: Mercedes

The team lost Lewis Hamilton to Mercedes in the offseason, leaving Button as the established No. 1 driver. His experience and race craft will be vital as the team tries to bed in a redesigned car and deal with the new rapid-degradation tires. Sergio Perez replaces Hamilton, injecting a bit of international flavor to the most English of teams. The Mexican driver is similar to a younger Hamilton, often brilliant but with some flashes of impetuousness. Having chosen a different path to Red Bull in its 2013 philosophy — innovation rather than evolution — McLaren should have more scope for improvement as the season goes on.

LOTUS
Based: Enstone, England
F1 debut: 2012
Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean
Team principal: Eric Boullier
2012 constructors championship: 4th
Engines: Renault

Carrying the historic F1 name of Lotus, the team is the incarnation of the old Benetton and Renault works teams. Under the ownership of investment group Genii, the team was considered a new entity last season and acquitted itself well, being rewarded with Raikkonen's win at Abu Dhabi. Showed good pace in preseason testing, albeit with more technical problems than they would be comfortable with. Lotus could prove to be a threat to the bigger teams again, particularly in the early races. Raikkonen's talent is only partially disguised by his laid-back approach, while Grosjean should benefit from the experiences of 2012 when he was suspended for causing a series of accidents.

MERCEDES
Based: Brackley, England
F1 debut: 1954
Drivers: Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg
Team principal: Ross Brawn
2012 constructors championship: 5th
Engines: Mercedes

The signing of Hamilton is a statement of intent for a team that has been disappointing since its re-entry to the sport as a works team in 2010. The pairing of Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn could not recreate the magic they produced at Ferrari. With the seven-time world champion Schumacher now retired for good, the team needed a replacement of similar stature. Hamilton will be under immediate pressure to deliver, and much will depend on how he adapts to life outside the McLaren cocoon, where he had been since boyhood. Rosberg, who broke through for a debut win last year, won't get as many headlines but may prove just as competitive as Hamilton.

SAUBER
Based: Hinwil, Switzerland
F1 debut: 1993
Drivers: Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez
Team principal: Monisha Kaltenborn
2012 constructors championship: 6th
Engines: Ferrari

An independent team with a habit of punching above its weight and doing things differently — it is based in Switzerland rather than England's motorsports valley and boasts the sport's first female team boss. The team came so close to a breakthrough victory in Malaysia last year, when Sergio Perez spun off with victory appearing to be his for the taking. They have now lost the hard-charging Mexican, replacing him with compatriot Esteban Gutierrez, no doubt to help shore up vital sponsorship. Hulkenberg arrives from Force India, with popular Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi forced out.

FORCE INDIA
Based: Silverstone, England
F1 debut: 2008
Drivers: Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil
Team principal: Vijay Mallya
2012 constructors championship: 7th
Engines: Mercedes

The team raced in 2012 and again this year against the backdrop of major business difficulties for its two key backers, team principal Vijay Mallya and co-owner the Sahara Group.

Reuters

Di Resta was linked with some of the big vacancies last season but returns, eager to prove his value. Reuters

However, this did not appear to have any significant impact on the operations of the race team and F1 officials said that remains the case this season. Sutil, dumped by the team after 2011, has been given a rare second chance as the replacement for Hulkenberg. Di Resta was linked with some of the big vacancies last season but returns, eager to prove his value.

WILLIAMS
Based: Grove, England
F1 debut: 1978
Drivers: Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas
Team principal: Frank Williams
2012 constructors championship: 8th
Engines: Renault

A minor renaissance for the team last year, with Maldonado taking victory at Barcelona. At the age of 70, team chief and founder Sir Frank Williams remains in charge while senior figures such as Toto Wolff, Patrick Head and Adam Parr have departed over the past two years. Maldonado remains — with backing from Venezuelan state oil — and is joined by young Valtteri Bottas of Finland, who received rave reviews for his performances in lower formulae.

TORO ROSSO
Based: Faenza, Italy
F1 debut: 2006
Drivers: Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne l
Team principal: Franz Tost
2012 constructors championship: 9th
Engines: Ferrari

Born out of the old Minardi team, but funded by Red Bull money, Toro Rosso continues to straddle the divide between the battling small teams and mid-table respectability. The memories of its only win, with Vettel at the wheel, in 2008 are cherished but fading. The team is ostensibly meant to be a proving ground for future F1 drivers but all have been discarded rather than promoted since Vettel's ascension. Ricciardo and Vergne will know they need to make an impression this year.

CATERHAM F1
Based: Leafield, England
F1 debut: 2010
Drivers: Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde
Team principal: Cyril Abiteboul
2012 constructors championship: 10th
Engines: Renault

The rebadged former Renault team has not yet reached the level that founder and airline impresario Tony Fernandes envisaged when it entered in 2010. Three years down and the team is yet to earn a point and has been unable to join the mid-ranking teams and consistently challenge to make it into Q2 on Saturdays. Bringing in youngsters Pic and rookie van der Garde to replace the more seasoned Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov is not going to make progress any easier for the team.

MARUSSIA F1
Based: Banbury, England
F1 debut: 2012
Drivers: Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi
Team principal: John Booth
2012 constructors championship: 11th
Engines: Cosworth

The desperate quest for funding at the far end of the paddock was evident in the decisions on 2013 drivers. The experienced Timo Glock was released, with the team candid enough to say his talent was a secondary consideration behind the need to raise cash, with young Englishman Max Chilton — son of Aon Corporation chief Grahame — preferred. Luiz Razia was hired then fired when promised sponsorship did not arrive. Jules Bianchi — a long-term Ferrari protege — got the drive after missing out on a seat at Force India.

AP