F1 2012 Season Review
Last updated on November 15th, 2015 at 12:08 pm
Are you missing F1 like us? Well read on with our F1 2012 Review, we take a look at our favourite moments of the past season and we want you to share yours with us!
The Formula One 2012 season is over and what a year it has been. The title race has been thoroughly captivating right up until the chequered flag in Brazil, and only then did we know who would be crowned champion. It was almost the iconic tortoise and hare story, the speed of Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull against the ever consistent Fernando Alonso in the famous red Ferrari, however there was one problem; Sebastian Vettel obviously didn’t know how the story ends. And snatched the victory from the jaws of defeat as he was left facing the wrong way in a damaged car on lap one of the final Grand Prix.
With the first seven races of the season producing seven different winners from five different teams, everyone could sense that this was going to be a special season and in no way did it disappoint. Even some of the historically dull tracks such as Abu Dhabi contributed with absolute classics. When looking back at the season and analysing why it was so exciting and unpredictable you have to look towards the Godfather that is Bernie. Bernie has suggested crazy things in the past, such as sprinklers to create artificially wet races and while that seems extreme, a more subtle method of creating unpredictable races was used; tyres. Pirelli can make tyres which will last a whole GP suffering little to no degradation/performance loss quite easily, but the top brass in F1 asked them to make tyres which would bring back excitement to F1 after a subdued 2011 when Vettel and Red Bull dominated all.
Charged with this task, Pirelli have done a fantastic job in creating tyres which only deliver top performance in a tight temperature operating window and can dramatically degrade over the course of a lap which made strategy crucial in all the races.
For this review we will take a look at the final championship standings, the race winners and pick out a few drivers, teams and races of note.
F1 2012 Championship Results
I don’t think anyone can argue that Sebastian Vettel does not deserve to be champion; he won the most races, recovered from adversity in Abu Dhabi and Brazil to take good points and lost out on major points due to two alternator failures. Given this, it is curious that many think Alonso a more deserving winner, mainly due to his consistency and ability to score good points despite never having the fastest car in the dry at any point during the year.
The only two races in which Alonso didn’t score points were when he was taken out in first lap incidents, but matched with Vettel’s alternator failures it does equal out. Had Alonso won the title, would people forget about Massa’s huge hand in his points haul?
Kimi Raikkonen finishing 3rd with a solitary win in his comeback year is a testament to his skills behind the wheel. Mr consistent finished every lap this season and had only one pit lane speeding violation to his name in terms of penalties; he will have high hopes for next year as the Lotus looked a match for the big boys in many of the earlier Grand Prix.
F1 2012 Constructors Results
The final standings are quite astonishing when you consider McLaren and Red Bull both managed seven wins in the season and the closest challenger was Ferrari with three. You have to wonder how McLaren could possibly look back on this season as a success, finishing third behind Ferrari who had an inferior car in terms of speed and arguably only one competitive driver for the first half of the season. On the flip side, Ferrari have done an astonishing job after starting the season 1.5 seconds off the leaders; reliability has been the key for them and of course Fernando Alonso.
Sauber and Force India will be extremely pleased with their efforts, being so close to a huge name like Mercedes. Sauber will look to push on next year with an all new driver line up including Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg; who had a brilliant end to the season. Will Mercedes be embroiled in this battle next season? I can’t see it, they concentrated on development for the 2013 car early and will hope having Lewis Hamilton behind the wheel will propel them at the very least into a battle with Lotus.
Following a dismal 2011 season, Williams will be ecstatic to have got more points on the board and even a race win. Torro Rosso will be disappointed I feel, at times they looked competitive and would have hoped for more points than that but they can build on it for 2013 I am sure.
I feel Caterham will have mixed emotions when they take stock of 2012. Elation will have followed Petrov’s 11th place finish in Brazil to seal 10th in the Constructors but I don’t think they have made the step toward the top 9 teams they would have liked. With the first seven races being so unpredictable, Caterham would have hoped to get in on the points and only clinching 10th on the last race will have irked them as they do consider themselves to be a step above the other new teams. Caterham are a very popular team but I think much of that stems from Heikki Kovalainen, if he isn’t driving for them next season some of their popularity may disappear with him.
F1 2012 Race Winners
There is a clear difference between the first and second halves of the season when looking at the race winners; seven different race winners in the first half compared to four in the second, five different race winning constructors in the first half compared to three in the second. It is also interesting that no constructor won two races back to back in the first half season whereas the second half started with three straight McLaren wins followed by four Vettel / Red Bull wins.
Until looking at that table, I hadn’t actually realised that Sebastian Vettel was the only driver to win back to back races this season and I think it puts those four consecutive wins into context.
Seven different winners in the first seven different races was a Formula One first and really did put down the platform for the epic season that we had the pleasure of witnessing.
F1 2012 Driver of the season
There are quite a few candidates for driver of the season; Vettel won the title, Alonso took the championship to the wire in an inferior car, Raikkonen had a brilliant comeback season, completing every single lap and Lewis Hamilton drove superbly and fell short mainly due to factors outside of his control.
Sebastian Vettel is my choice, Red Bull had a slow start to the season and alternator problems stole huge points from the young German. Alonso had quite a large lead in the championship at one point but Vettel fought back and put together a string of four consecutive victories. As I said earlier, Vettel won the most races even though Lewis Hamilton actually qualified on Pole more times.
In both Abu Dhabi and Brazil, Sebastian found himself in last place on the first lap and that could have finished him off but he took the little bits of luck he was afforded and fought to the end to reap the rewards. No-one knows what would happen if Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton were all in the same car and I get the feeling that both Fernando and Lewis think they are the top two drivers in the world; the only problem is that Vettel keeps winning.
F1 Moment of the season
This really is impossible to get right as most people will have a different opinion. I am going to go for the one that stood out the most for me; maybe it was because I was there or because it was so unexpected but my moment is the podium in Valencia. A home winner on the top step of the podium after missing out on Q3 accompanied by two former world champions on their comebacks in Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher was a fantastic sight and the first of six occasions when the podium had been occupied by three world champions. It was also the moment when the streak of a different winner for each race ended.
F1 2012 Race of the season
Discounting Brazil as the title being decided makes it unfair on other races, I am going to go for the United States grand prix in Austin. With it being a new track and no-one really knowing what to expect it was a huge success. Being one of the closest races of the season, I was literally on the edge of my seat from start to finish. It may also be the last time we get such an exciting race as a lot of the excitement was down to a lack of grip. In 2013, the track will have significantly more grip from other races and Pirelli will take softer compounds which could see a lack in overtaking opportunities.
This was also the first and only time that Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso have shared a podium; add to that the custom made Pirelli cowboy podium hats and you have a fantastic race.
F1 Bad boy of the season
Only one real candidate really, Pastor Maldonado received a whopping 11 penalties not including gearbox replacements! He didn’t manage a one race ban like Romain Grosjean but plenty of grid drops, drive through penalties and reprimands came from the steward’s office. With an average of over one every other race surely something needs to be done if this continues next season. I know Maldonado won a race for Williams and can be quick, but is he too much of a liability?
F1 2012 Review and Round Up
So there we have it, a quick look at the 2012 season, one of the best I can remember and everything looks promising for this excitement to continue into 2013. The good news is that we only have to wait until March for it to get started!