1. Williams FW35
Of all the teams that finished outside the top 3 last season, Williams perhaps has the most reason to feel confident about 2013. Williams' 8th place finish in 2012 didn't reflect it's competitiveness through-out the season. In Pastor Maldonado, Williams has an incredibly talented lead driver, and a man who won a Grand Prix last season. If last year's criticism of the car was over-complexity, that has certainly been addressed for this season, with a simplified front wing and sidepods designed to create extra downforce.
Link: Williams F1
2. Marussia MR02
Following the split with Wirth Research around 18 months ago, this is the first time Marussia has developed a car by itself. The MR02 is certainly one of the more unusual designs this year, far less angular than many of its competitors. Despite having to let Timo Glock go for financial reasons, and not having replaced him as of yet, Marussia is quietly confident that the MR02 can rack up the points this season.
Link: Marussia F1
3. Caterham CT03
Caterham has opted against adding a vanity panel to the CT03, retaining the stepped nose, but making major improvements made to the lower chassis and sidepods to improve the airflow at the back of the car. Although the Leafield-based team was arguably the best of last year’s newcomers, both Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovaleinen have been let go, with a far less experienced pair of Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde replacing them.
Link: Caterham F1
4. Mercedes W04
The Brackley-based outfit has focused it’s improvements around the front-end aerodynamics, chiefly based around a new front wing. Aside from tweaks to the car, Mercedes has been busy in the ‘transfer market’, and with Lewis Hamilton now lining up alongside F1 dark horse Nico Rosberg, the ‘Silver Arrows’ could rack up some serious points this year.
Link: Mercedes F1
5. Toro Rosso STR8
The STR8 looks incredibly – perhaps worryingly – similar to last years STR7. However, Technical Director James Key insists that changes have been made under the bonnet, and aerodynamic alterations will be made after testing. Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo retain their places, and have been set a target of sixth in the Constructor’s Championship.
Link: Toro Rosso F1
6. Red Bull RB9
In a year when most teams have made only minor changes to last year's cars, Red Bull has made... even fewer changes than that. The RB9 retains the same slim-line nose as last year, but unlike the other cars we've seen, there is no 'vanity panel' due to weight concerns. Aside from a few tweaks, the Milton Keynes-based outfit is sticking with a model that has brought them success for the last two years, and only a brave man would bet against Webber and Vettel being competitive again in 2013.
Link: Red Bull F1
7. Sauber C-32
Sauber grabbed 6th in last year's F1 Constructors Championship, but 2013 is an entirely different prospect for the Swiss team, who will start the new season with two new drivers. The car has been tinkered with from last year, with the major change being the side pods, which are 50% smaller than last season. The new grey colour scheme, and angularity of the vanity plate has the C-32 looking almost stealth bomber-like - Sauber will be hoping it's just as fast.
Link: Sauber F1
8. Ferrari F138
In contrast with McLaren and Red Bull, last year’s Ferrari was surprisingly below average for the Italian outfit. The F138 looks to address the main issues identified last season, chiefly poor aerodynamics at the back of the car. The distribution of exhaust fumes has been reworked, which ideally should give the F138 much better traction than its predecessor.
Link: Ferrari F1
9. Force India VJM06
This year’s Force India has been in development almost since the middle of last season. Although superficially there aren’t many changes, the team claims that the VJM06 is completely new, from the ground up. Like its rivals, Force India has smoothed out the nose with a ‘vanity plate’, but a totally new chassis and body gives the team plenty of tinkering room going into the 2013 season.
Link: Force India F1
10. McLaren MP4-28
50 years since Bruce McLaren first founded the company, the Woking-based team will be going to battle without Lewis Hamilton for the first time since 2007. Sergio Perez will join Jenson Button in the MP4-28, which features slight re-designs of the nose, front suspension and side pods. Last year’s car was one of the fastest in F1, so expect this year’s to be equally sprightly.
Link: McLaren F1
11. Lotus E21
The E21 looks very similar to last year’s E20, which is unsurprising given the similarity of last year’s and this year’s rule sets. The body work has been re-designed to create more down force, whilst a new nose cone stops airflow spilling into the gap between the chassis and front wheels, sending it around the body instead. Lotus is convinced it has a winning formula, predicting it’ll finish in the top 3 this year.
Link: Lotus F1