Vettel's team Red Bull Racing, with the assistance of his team mate Mark Webber, likewise successfully defended their World Constructors' Championship at the same race as their lead driver secured his title.
The following teams and drivers are contracted to drive in the 2013 season, subject to ratification of a new Concorde Agreement. At the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix, Bernie Ecclestone announced that the "majority" of teams competing in the 2012 season had agreed to compete in 2013, though he gave no indication of which teams—if any—were offering resistance to the new Concorde Agreement. At the 2012 British Grand Prix, Ecclestone announced that every team had agreed "in principle" to the terms of the new Concorde Agreement, and the final draft of the Concorde Agreement was presented to the teams ahead of the 2012 Indian Grand Prix.
On 30 November 2012, the FIA published a provisional entry list for the 2013 season. The final entry list was published on 3 March 2013.
In November 2012, Thesan Capital, the owners of HRT Formula 1 Team, announced that they were putting the team up for sale. The team needed to find a buyer by 30 November—the date by which entry fees for the 2013 were due to be paid—or else face closure and a departure from the sport. Thesan Capital failed to find a buyer in time, and HRT was omitted from the 2013 entry list. The team was later reported to be in liquidation, and despite bids to purchase and revive the team under a new name, their assets were ultimately sold to Teo Martín, the owner of a firm specialising in recycling automotive parts.
Upon starting his second career in 2010, Michael Schumacher signed a three-year agreement to race for Mercedes AMG. With that deal expiring at the end of the 2012 season, Schumacher was given the option of renewing his contract with the team for 2013. However, in the face of disappointing results over the past three seasons, Schumacher became indecisive about his future, prompting Mercedes to start searching for a new driver. Following a protracted period of negotiation,2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton announced that he would join Mercedes for the next three years. The move ended his fourteen-year association with McLaren, and Hamilton later described his decision to change teams as being motivated by the desire to find a new challenge for himself, and that the idea of taking a struggling team and building them up to become a successful one held more appeal to him than "cruising around with a great team". Schumacher ultimately announced that he would be retiring from the sport at the end of the 2012 season.
With Hamilton leaving McLaren, the team sought out Sauber driver Sergio Pérez to replace him. Pérez was previously a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, and was considered to be the leading candidate to join Ferrari should a vacant seat become available, but admitted that although he had talked with the team, he had never considered racing for them to be a realistic proposition, adding that McLaren was the best place for him to go.
Nico Hülkenberg left Force India after just one season, despite having originally signed a multi-year deal to race for the team starting in 2012, to fill the vacant seat at Sauber. Hülkenberg was joined by Esteban Gutiérrez, who had previously served as Sauber's testing and reserve driver in 2011 and 2012 whilst campaigning in the GP2 Series. Hülkenberg's place at Force India was taken by Adrian Sutil, who returned to the team after a season out of the sport.
With Hülkenberg and Gutiérrez joining Sauber, Kamui Kobayashi was left without a seat after three seasons with the Swiss team. In a bid to secure a seat, Kobayashi accepted donations from fans to raise as much money as possible. However, shortly after Lotus F1 announced that they would retain Romain Grosjean, Kobayashi announced that he had given up hope of securing a racing seat for the 2013 season. He later joined AF Corse for the 2013FIA World Endurance Championship. However, he returned to the Formula 1 grid in 2014 with Caterham.
Charles Pic moved from Marussia to Caterham, joining former GP2 Series teammate Giedo van der Garde. Pic and van der Garde had previously raced alongside one another as team-mates in 2011, racing for Barwa Addax. Where Pic joined Marussia for the 2012 season, van der Garde became Caterham's test driver and contested the 2012 GP2 championship with their GP2 team before being promoted to Formula One. As a result of this, Caterham's 2012 drivers, Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov lost their seats for 2013. Caterham team principal Cyril Abiteboul later admitted that the relationship between the team and Kovalainen had fallen apart towards the end of the 2012 season, leading to his dismissal from the team, whilst Petrov lost his seat due to a lack of sponsorship. Kovalainen later returned to the team to take part in free practice sessions on a temporary basis.
Timo Glock was initially signed to compete for Marussia until the end of the 2014 season, but later announced that he would be leaving the team. Marussia team principal John Booth cited "tough economic conditions" as the reason for the team being forced to let Glock go, whilst Glock referenced the loss of tenth place in the 2012 World Constructors' Championship to Caterham at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix as the first sign that his position with the team was in danger. Glock moved to the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, driving for BMW. With Glock gone, the team elected to take two rookie drivers: Max Chilton, who spent the 2012 season competing in the GP2 Series with the Marussia-backed Carlin team; and GP2 Series runner-up Luiz Razia. However, Razia was removed from Marussia's testing line-up for the second pre-season test in Barcelona, leading to speculation that his future with the team was in jeopardy. It was later reported that his sponsors had missed payments to the team, prompting the decision to suspend his testing programme. His contract to race was terminated just twenty-three days after it had been announced, and Razia was replaced by 2009Formula 3 Euro Series champion and 2012Formula Renault 3.5 Series runner-up Jules Bianchi.
With HRT withdrawing from the championship, Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan were left without full-time racing seats. De la Rosa later joined Ferrari to aid the team in developing their simulator and was confirmed as one of their test and reserve drivers before the first pre-season test in Jerez, while Karthikeyan began contesting the Auto GP World Series part-time.
Kimi Räikkönen was forced to miss the final two races of the season in order to undergo surgery to relieve pain from a back injury he has been suffering from for a long time and which flared up during the Singapore Grand Prix. His place in the team was taken by Heikki Kovalainen.
The following nineteen races appeared on the 2013 race schedule. Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One's commercial rights holder through his Formula One Management and Formula One Administration companies, has previously said that he believes twenty races is the maximum that is viable. The number of races on the Formula One calendar is dictated by the Concorde Agreement, the arrangement between teams, the FIA and Formula One Management. At the time of Ecclestone's comments regarding the length of the series schedule, the then-current Concorde Agreement was set to expire at the end of the 2012 season. Twenty to twenty-five races would be possible if the teams agreed to it.
The calendar was originally intended to host twenty races, with the inclusion of the Grand Prix of America, a new event to be hosted on the streets of New Jersey on 16 June, as part of a 1-week North American "double-header". Following its removal from the calendar, the schedule was reduced to nineteen races until the FIA World Motorsports Council announced that a twentieth round would be included at a circuit in Europe, pending the outcome of negotiations between Bernie Ecclestone and event organisers. In February 2013, Ecclestone announced that a replacement venue had not been found, leaving the calendar at nineteen Grands Prix.
The 2013 season was scheduled to see the addition of the Grand Prix of America to the calendar. The race was to take place on a new, Hermann Tilke-designed street circuit in New Jersey in June of that year, back-to-back with the Canadian Grand Prix. However, shortly after the race was given a date on the provisional calendar, Bernie Ecclestone admitted that the contract with organisers in New Jersey had been nullified, and organisers later confirmed that the race had been removed from the 2013 calendar and rescheduled for 2014. The collapse of the race was attributed to the failure to get all of the necessary permits to hold the race from multiple branches of state and federal government departments.
At the June 2012 meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, the FIA announced plans to introduce cost-control measures for the 2013 season, which would be policed by the FIA pending the agreement of the teams. This follows a failed attempt by former FIA president Max Mosley to introduce a budget cap for the 2010 season, and the withdrawal of Ferrari, Scuderia Toro Rosso, Sauber and Red Bull from the Formula One Teams Association in December 2011 over the implementation of the Resource Restriction Agreement, a voluntary agreement between teams to limit costs in the sport.
Following HRT's omission from the provisional entry list, the grid was reduced to twenty-two cars, prompting an adaptation of the qualifying procedures. With twenty-two cars on the grid, six cars—instead of seven—will be eliminated during the first period of qualifying, with six more eliminated at the end of the second period (as in 2006–08). The third qualifying period remains unchanged, with the ten fastest drivers all advancing to the final ten minutes of qualifying.
The rules governing the use of the Drag Reduction System (DRS) have been altered. Where drivers were free to use the system at will during free practice and qualifying, from 2013, the use of DRS is restricted to the designated DRS zone in a bid to improve safety. In response to this, the FIA announced plans to include two DRS zones at every circuit on the 2013 calendar where it was feasible to do so.
The FIA will remove the rules of "force majeure" to clarify scrutineering procedures. Under the rules of force majeure, cars must be able to return to the pits under their own power during qualifying or else risk exclusion from the results. However, if a team can adequately demonstrate that circumstances beyond their control forced them to stop a car on the circuit before it could return to the pits, then the rules of force majeure dictate that the team and driver in question are exempt from any exclusion. Under new regulations, force majeure will no longer be recognised as a valid reason for stopping a car. From 2013, race stewards will measure the amount of fuel remaining in a car that has stopped on the circuit and compare it to the minimum amount set forward in the rules, and calculate any penalty based on the difference between the two. These changes were first proposed in the aftermath of the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when Red Bull Racing instructed Sebastian Vettel to stop on the circuit after qualifying. Although race stewards initially accepted the team's explanation that the order came because of an imminent technical fault that threatened lasting damage to Vettel's engine, it was later discovered that Vettel had insufficient fuel in his car at the time and had been ordered to pull over so as to preserve the mandatory one litre sample required for testing at the end of qualifying.[not in citation given] As a result, Vettel was excluded from the results, and the changes to force majeure were put forward.
The FIA introduced a curfew system in 2011 that prohibited team personnel from accessing the circuit in the six hours before the first session of the day, with teams given four "jokers"—exceptions to the rule that allowed them to stay within the circuit boundaries past the curfew hours without penalty so as to complete work on cars—to use throughout the season. The rule has been revised for 2013, with teams limited to two exceptions over the course of the year. The curfew hours have been also extended from six hours to eight.
Teams were faced with an increased entry fee for the season. Whereas entry fees had previously been fixed at €309,000 (US$396,637) for all teams, from 2013, entry fees were based on the World Championship points a team scored during the previous season. Teams now paid a basic entry fee of $500,000 (€389,525), plus $5,000 (€3,895) per point scored. The reigning Constructors' champions paid at a premium rate of $6,000 (€4,614) per point scored. With a final tally of 460 points, Red Bull Racing were presented with an entry fee of $3,260,000 (€2.5M).
Artist's rendition of a stepped nose with a "modesty panel" (in red).
Changes to the rules in 2012 resulted in the development of a "platypus" nose, with teams designing cars with a visible change in height along the nose assembly of the car. The design attracted criticism, with Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber labelling the cars "ugly" and Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali calling them "not that pretty". At the 2012 Australian Grand Prix, Charlie Whiting, the FIA technical delegate, announced that although the changes to the sporting regulations planned for the 2014 season would effectively remove the "platypus" effect, the sport's governing body is planning to phase the stepped nose out for 2013. The FIA later accepted a proposal that would allow teams to cover up the stepped nose with a "modesty plate", a panel designed to obscure the step without fundamentally altering the aerodynamic profile of the car or offering any aerodynamic gain itself.
The FIA completely overhauled testing procedures for front wings in 2013, introducing a more-comprehensive and strenuous series of tests designed to root out the practice of exploiting flexible bodywork regulations. Front wings in particular are subjected to revised parameters, with a tolerance of just 10 mm (0.39 in) permitted when the wing is subjected to a load of 100 kg (220 lb).
The "double-DRS" system, first developed by Mercedes for the W03 in 2012 is banned in 2013. The device, which used a series of channels that ran through the car to create a stalling effect over the front wing when the rear wing Drag Reduction System was open, thereby cancelling out the downforce generated under normal conditions, would allow the car to achieve a higher top speed and better stability in fast corners. The system was the subject of several legal challenges early in the 2012 season, and rival team Lotus developed a similar system of their own before teams agreed to a ban in July 2012. However, while the regulations specifically banned the system developed by Mercedes, they make no provision for the variant developed by Lotus.
The minimum weight of cars increased to 642 kg (1,415 lb) so as to account for the weight difference between the 2012 and 2013 specification of tyres.
The sport's decision-making process will be restructured. Prior to 2013, any decision to change the sporting or technical regulations required the agreement of at least 70% (or nine votes) of the teams in order for those changes to be accepted. From 2013 onwards, those changes will only need a 51% majority (six teams) in order to be approved. The Technical and Sporting Working Groups, the committees responsible for deciding upon the technical and sporting regulations, will also be disbanded in favour of a "Strategy Working Group" that will oversee both technical and sporting regulations and will be made up of representatives from each of the teams that scored points in the previous season's championship, the FIA, Formula One Management, one engine supplier and six event promoters. FIA president Jean Todt described the changes as necessary and designed to give each of the stakeholders in the sport a proportionate representation in deciding the future of Formula One.
With the nineteen races of the season completed, the defending World Champion, Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel, retained the Drivers' Championship. He did so by winning in India and opening an unassailable 115 point gap with only three races remaining. He broke the record for most consecutive wins in a single season with nine. He also tied the record for consecutive wins, which was set by Alberto Ascari in 1952-1953, and for total wins in a single season with 13, set by Michael Schumacher in 2004. His record tally of 13 wins included a controversial victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix that came when he defied team orders, overtaking teammate Mark Webber late in the race to secure victory. Vettel apologised afterwards to the team, although he later refused to apologise for winning. Vettel's other wins came in Bahrain, Canada, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Singapore, Korea, Japan, India, Abu Dhabi, the United States and Brazil. The four times world champion scored 397 points, also a record. Webber finished his last formula one season in third place with 199 points. It was the first time since 2008 that the Australian failed to win a race. Their combined results have allowed Red Bull to clinch the 2013 Constructors' Championship in India by opening a gap of 157 points, with only 129 still up to grab. The team scored a total of 596 points.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished as the runner-up with 242 points. The Spaniard won two races, in China and Spain, and scored five second places, in Australia, Canada, Belgium, Italy and Singapore, to keep him in a strong championship position throughout the season. However, a retirement in Malaysia and relatively poor results in Bahrain, Monaco, Korea and India has seen him fall behind Vettel in the points. The gap closed briefly after the German's gearbox failure at the British Grand Prix, but the defending world champion scored eleven consecutive podium finishes since his sole retirement of the season, including ten wins, to clinch the title. Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa finished eighth in the standings, scoring 112 points with a single podium finish in Spain.Ferrari lost second place in the Constructors' Championship to Mercedes, finishing a mere 6 points behind.
Lewis Hamilton, who has scored a win in Hungary, four third places and five pole positions in 2013 with Mercedes AMG, finished fourth in the drivers' standings with 189 points. His Malaysian Grand Prix podium came with a share of controversy as team orders were employed to help him retain third place. After the race, Hamilton admitted that teammate Nico Rosberg was the one who actually deserved the podium.Italy was the first time that Hamilton failed to make a Q3 appearance since the 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix. As a result, the Briton's streak of consecutive Q3 appearances ended at 66. Hamilton also suffered his first retirement of the season in Japan due to damage caused by a puncture, which he got from a clash with Vettel. Rosberg, despite winning the Monaco and British Grands Prix, finished sixth, with retirements in Australia, China and Hungary, as well as a string of bad luck preventing him from having clean races, hurting his point tally. Mercedes finished as the runner-up to Red Bull in the Constructors' Championship with 360 points.
Despite finishing the 2012 season with two wins in the final two races, McLaren have openly admitted to a difficult 2013 campaign. Button finished ninth overall, 39 points behind Massa, whilst teammate Sergio Pérez ended up twelfth. The team ended the season in fifth place in the Constructors' Championship, with a best result of fourth achieved by Button in Brazil. It was the first time since 2006 that McLaren failed to win a race and the first time since 1980 that the team did not score a podium. Force India had a strong start to the season, with Paul di Resta finishing fourth in Bahrain and Adrian Sutil recording a fifth place in Monaco, though the team's performance fell significantly during the second half of the season, with only 3 points scored in seven races from Germany to Japan. However, the team put both cars in the points at its home race as well as in Abu Dhabi. di Resta has been very consistent during the first half of the season, claiming points in six consecutive races from China to Great Britain. The team finished in sixth place in the Constructors' Championship, 45 points behind McLaren.
Sauber endured a very difficult first half of the season, scoring just seven points in the first 11 Grands Prix. However, Nico Hülkenberg showed impressive form in Italy, qualifying third and finishing fifth in the race, in Korea, where he started seventh and fought off Hamilton and Alonso for fourth, as well as in the United States, where he qualified fourth and finished sixth. The team also enjoyed a great team result in Japan, where the German finished sixth and his rookie teammate Esteban Gutiérrez seventh, the Mexican's first and only points of the season. Sauber scored 57 points and finished in seventh place in the Constructors' Championship. Gutiérrez endured a difficult introduction to Formula One, with a retirement due to driver error in China, a lowly eighteenth place in Bahrain and a string of grid penalties for causing avoidable collisions and blocking other drivers during qualifying. Despite this, he recorded the fastest lap of the race in Spain, secured his first career top ten qualifying appearance in Singapore, repeated the feat in Korea and drove a strong race for seventh in Japan. Scuderia Toro Rosso finished in eight place overall with career-best results for both Daniel Ricciardo, who finished seventh in China and Italy, and Jean-Éric Vergne, who finished sixth in Canada. Qualifying has improved as well with the team making the top ten in qualifying on a regular basis, with a peak of fifth for Ricciardo at Silverstone.Williams endured one of their worst seasons, not scoring points until Pastor Maldonado finished tenth in Hungary. Teammate Valtteri Bottas qualified third in changeable conditions in Canada, but was unable to carry the speed into the race. However, the Finn scored his first career points in the United States after a strong weekend, finishing eight in the race. Williams finished ninth in the Constructors' Championship, 28 points adrift of Toro Rosso.
For the first time since the 1987 season, no race featured the use of wet weather tyres on at least one car. Wet practice and qualifying sessions did take place throughout the year, however all races were dry.
Tyre supplier Pirelli faced criticism early in the season due to the wear of some tyres, with some claiming tyre management had become too important to race strategy. This prompted Pirelli to announce plans to introduce new designs after the Canadian Grand Prix. The testing Pirelli undertook on these proposed new designs led to an official complaint on the eve of the Monaco Grand Prix from Ferrari and Red Bull who claimed the way it was done, using the 2013 Mercedes car and drivers, would give them a competitive advantage in both Monaco and Canada. There were also disputes over the change in the failure mode that were the result of new manufacturing methods, as to whether these increased or decreased safety. As the teams arrived in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix it was announced that, after further enquiries were made to all teams, the FIA were referring the Mercedes tyre test to its International Tribunal as it may have breached the rules. The FIA cleared an earlier test by Ferrari as it used a 2011 car, which was not a breach of the rules. In order to reduce the number of delaminations, Pirelli introduced two new specifications of rear tyre in time for the Canadian race, which also reverted to the belt pack used in 2011 and 2012 tyres. In announcing the tyre, Pirelli said there would be no further tyre changes for the 2013 season due to the fact that to doing so would need the agreement of all teams, some of whom did not want their performance to be affected by such a mid-season change.
Tyre issues continued to dominate headlines at the British Grand Prix when several drivers suffered explosive punctures during the race. Amid concerns that the issue would continue at the German Grand Prix one week later, Pirelli received permission to introduce an entirely new specification of tyre in time for the Hungarian Grand Prix, whilst introducing modifications to the existing tyres for the race in Germany as a stop-gap solution. The FIA also imposed restrictions of their own, banning the teams from swapping the left- and right-side tyres around, a practice that had been employed to extend the lifespan of the tyres.
^Noble, Jonathan (7 July 2012). "Ecclestone suggests leading teams should help set future technical rules in new Concorde Agreement". Autosport. Retrieved 7 July 2012. "Ecclestone made it clear that all teams – including Mercedes that had been holding out for improved commercial terms – were now on board with the new Concorde. "Total agreement," said Ecclestone. "We are just talking to the lawyers – 'why have you used this word, that word'. Typical lawyers but everything's fine. Commercially it's done.""
^Collantine, Keith (12 April 2013). "Mercedes comfortably quickest in first practice". F1 Fanatic (Keith Collantine). Retrieved 12 April 2013. "Ma Qing Hua became the first non-race driver to appear in practice this year. More significantly he was also the first Chinese driver to participate in his home race weekend."
^ abBeer, Matt (19 April 2013). "Bahrain GP: Felipe Massa tops opening practice session". Autosport. Retrieved 19 April 2013. "Heikki Kovalainen made his F1 return in 20th place. He ended up 0.6s slower than team-mate Charles Pic in Caterham's upgraded car as he settled in. [...] Rodolfo Gonzalez's GP weekend debut with Marussia was curtailed by a gearbox issue after seven laps."
^"Di Resta tops damp Montreal opener". Formula One. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2013. "Behind them Alexander Rossi had a difficult re-introduction to Formula One racing in the changing circumstances as he took Charles Pic's Caterham to 1m 27.143s ahead of Pastor Maldonado on 1m 27.522s and Jules Bianchi on 1m 29.306s"
^"Force India won't stand in drivers way". Autosport. 9 September 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012. "Bob Fernley, Force India's deputy team principal, says that it would be unwise for his squad to block any good opportunity his drivers got – but it is up to rival outfits to make an offer first. "Our drivers are with us long term so it is not an issue. If there is any movement in drivers it is not something we will initiate. While we don't want to lose Paul or Nico, they are two super young drivers. Equally we will not force a driver to stay because then he will not have his heart in it.""
^"Glock: Petrov's pass set alarm bells ringing". Crash.net. Retrieved 29 January 2012. "The German, who has already confirmed that he will switch to the DTM touring car series with BMW in 2013, revealed that Vitaly Petrov's pass on Charles Pic late in last season's F1 finale was a major blow to his hopes of remaining a part of the team he had devoted three years of his career to. Petrov's successful move on the second Marussia secured not only eleventh place on the road, but also tenth overall in the constructors' standings, and the prize money that went with it."