2013 has been a massive year for Sebastian Vettel and his dominating win at last weekend's USA Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, only further cemented his place in the record books by claiming an eighth straight win.
Since 2010, Vettel has been dominant behind the wheel of Adrian Newey's Red Bull, however, with regulation changes for the 2014 season meaning that the specifications of the cars will be dramatically different from this season, I don't think we will be seeing another Vettel championship doughnut for quite some time.
The engine replacing the speedy 2.4 litre V8's is a more reliable, economical 1.6 litre V6, and this means the cars are heavier because of the added energy recover system (ERS). This comes as a disadvantage to the bigger drivers (over 6 feet tall) such as Nico Hulkenburg and Jensen Button because their teams will have to sacrifice the aerodynamics of the car to accommodate for the added height and weight. For drivers such as Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Vettel, this is less of an issue as they are small enough for their height not to have an affect on the aerodynamics of the car i.e. their head doesn't stick out a mile from the cockpit.
Hamilton's new Mercedes AMG team have been vigorously preparing for next season, but at the same time not forgetting about the competition this year, unlike Button's McLaren team who seem to have completely forgotten that there was a championship being contested this season. The highest place achieved by a McLaren car was Sergio Perez's 5th at the Indian GP, and with team boss Martin Whitmarsh adamant that their car for next year will be challenging for the title, you have to hope that we won't be disappointed.
Another man hoping for a break from Vettel is Alonso. The Spaniard won two Championships back to back in 2005 and 2006 with Renault, but since joining Ferrari in 2010, has had no luck in his battle to topple the German. No doubt he has been the closest challenger to Vettel, but all that shows is how brilliantly Vettel has done each year to win out in the end. Perhaps most upsetting for Alonso was that he had one hand on the trophy before the last race in 2012 at Brazil, until Vettel put in a stunning performance to snatch it from his grasp. 2014 will definitely be the first year for a long time when Ferrari and Alonso, with new team mate Kimi Raikonnen, will have a serious chance of finally getting one over on Red Bull for four years of hurt.
Red Bull's dominance has been based on the fact they had a brilliant start template to work from. Now that the other teams around them that had been off the pace have the chance to start fresh, I can see next season being very close especially between Ferrari, Mercedes AMG, McLaren, Lotus and the formally mentioned Red Bull.
My pick for World Champion next year is Lewis Hamilton, purely because he has been brought in specially for next seasons AMG car and together with Nico Rosberg, I think they will be the best pairing since Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello at Ferrari.
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