2010 F1 season review
Should Michael Schumacher hang up his helmet in 2011? Were the new Bahrain and Silverstone tracks a success?
From team orders to proximity wings and who had the best-looking car, here are the fans’ opinions on the big stories of 2010 as revealed in a series of F1 Fanatic polls.
Incidents and penalties
Ferrari’s team orders
Without question the biggest debate of the season.
Ferrari were found to have used team orders in the German Grand Prix, handing Fernando Alonso an extra seven points in the drivers’ championship, but the World Motor Sport Council decided not to dock any of their points.
Result: Three-quarters of F1 fans said the WMSC’s decision was too lenient.
Red Bull drivers clash in Turkey
While senior members of the Red Bull team came down on Sebastian Vettel’s side following his crash with Mark Webber, others saw their costly crash very differently.
Result: Three-quarters blamed Vettel for the collision with Webber.
Did Hamilton deliberately slow Alonso in Valencia?
Although Alonso was clearly furious about how things turned out at Valencia he did not say Hamilton tried to get him stuck behind the safety car. Why did Hamilton slow down at this crucial moment?
Was it, as he suggested afterwards, a moment’s hesitation because he wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do? Or was it really a calculated ploy to get Alonso stuck behind the safety car?
Result: An impassioned debate with over 300 comments and strong arguments on both sides. 56% said ‘yes’, 34% said ‘no’.
Spa: Vettel crashes into Button
Sebastian Vettel ruined his race and Jenson Button’s by crashing into the McLaren driver at Spa. It was poor driving, but should he have received the penalty he got?
Result: A slight majority of 57% of readers said Vettel deserved his penalty.
Both Vitaly Petrov and Felipe Massa caused crashes on the first lap at Suzuka. But only Petrov was penalised.
Result: A mix of views on this one. While 39% felt both deserved penalties, a quarter thought the stewards shouldn’t have got involved at all.
Should blue flags be banned?
The blue flag rule, which, forces lapped cars to get out of the leaders’ way very quickly, was a bone of contention for the new teams and their drivers.
Result: This one provoked some strong differences of opinion. Taken together, 61% of fans wanted the rule to be scrapped or relaxed.
Lapped cars at restarts
The rules of racing came up for discussion again after the Brazilian Grand Prix, when a late race restart saw the front runners separated by groups of lapped cars.
Two years ago the rules would have moved those cars out of the way but the regulation proved problematic. Even so, is it time for a rethink?
Result: Over 70% of fans want the rules to moved lapped cars out of the way in these circumstances.
Two-part qualifying in Monaco?
Several teams and drivers voiced concerns about the dangers of trying to have 24 cars on track at once in qualifying at Monaco.
Result: Three-quarters of fans opposed splitting qualifying. Sure enough, the session went ahead as usual without any problems.
The new Bahrain Grand Prix track
The Bahrain Grand Prix organisers took the surprising decision to use a different, longer version of the circuit for the 2010 race.
However the first race of the season was roundly condemned for being dull. Was the track to blame?
Result: Just 2% wanted to see the new track again. The most popular alternative was the Outer Track, voted for by 46%. In the end the organisers decided to switch back to the original Grand Prix track for 2011, which 36% wanted to see.
Was the Silverstone Arena circuit a success?
The changes to Silverstone were originally designed to allow Moto GP bikes to race at the track. But the circuit owners charged designers Populous with ensuring it remained an exciting track for cars, too.
After the first British Grand Prix on the revised layout, were the changes for the better?
Result: A resounding 80% of readers gave the changes the thumbs-up. However I know one of them was Populous’s own Drew MacDonald…
Should the Korean Grand Prix have started sooner?
The cars spent 17 laps behind the safety car before the inaugural Korean Grand Prix finally got started. Lewis Hamilton agitated on the radio for the race to be started sooner.
Result: 79% of readers agreed with Hamilton that the race should have started sooner.
Should engines be equalised?
Christian Horner complained that the lack of power from his Renault engine put Red Bull at a disadvantage. His team had been blocked from using Mercedes engines by rival outfits.
But is power the only thing that matters in engine performance? And does performance equalisation really belong in Formula 1?
Result: Over three-quarters of you were unconvinced, 77% voting against equalisation. Red Bull went on to win both championships and extended their contract with Renault.
Should in-season testing return?
Several F1 figures have been unhappy with the ban on in-season testing.
But running a test team is expensive – are there better things for F1 teams to spend their money on?
Result: Perhaps unsurprisingly, most fans wanted to see an increase in both testing and racing, with a slight majority favouring the former.
Drivers will be able to adjust their rear wings while driving in 2011. But they will only be allowed to do so when within one second of another car.
Worthwhile innovation or gimmick?
Result: The majority of fans (69%) approved of the new wings but more than two in three of those said drivers should be allowed to use them whenever they like.
KERS in 2011
The teams agreed not to use Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems in 2010. They later decided to allow them once again in 2011.
Result: Most fans approved of the move with 82% backing KERS in F1.
Mandatory pit stops
Because of the rule requiring drivers to use both types of slick tyres during a race, F1 effectively has a “mandatory pit stop rule”. Is that good for the quality of racing?
Result: The vast majority of fans – 86% – oppose the mandatory pit stop rule.
Should Schumacher quit in 2011?
Schumacher’s return to F1 this year clearly didn’t go according to plan. He ended the season with barely half the points scored by Rosberg.
Should he stick around for more in 2011 or return to retirement?
Result: Most fans want him to ride it out, 70% saying he should stick around.
Who is Germany’s best F1 driver?
German F1 fans have never had it so good. But which of the seven Germans who raced in F1 this year is the top driver?
Four years ago a poll like this would probably have seen 100% of the votes go to Michael Schumacher.
Result: Vettel had the largest share of the vote with Nico Rosberg second ahead of Schumacher
Who should Renault sign for 2011?
This question was first asked back in September and the second seat alongside Robert Kubica is still the top place on the grid for next year which hasn’t been claimed yet.
Result: Petrov came out on top with 25%, leading Adrian Sutil (18%) and Nick Heidfeld (17%). Since then Petrov’s had crashes in Suzuka and Korea but also that excellent drive in Abu Dhabi.
Should Massa stay at Ferrari?
Felipe Massa has the classic number two driver’s dilemma. He won’t get a car that’s half as good anywhere else. But what’s the point of staying at a team that won’t let him win?
Result: A small majority of 61% said Massa should stay at Ferrari.
Who’s got the best-looking car?
It wouldn’t be an off-season without the annual beauty parade.
Result: The McLaren MP4-25 was named the most attractive car with 25% of the vote. Ferrari were runners-up, just ahead of Virgin. HRT came in last place.
Ferrari’s Luca di Montezemolo argued strongly for three-car teams on several occasions in 2010, while insisting the new teams weren’t good enough to be in F1.
Result: There was little appetite for a move away from two-car teams, most fans preferring the status quo.
More to come in 2010
Which of the verdicts above do you agree with? And which views don’t you share? Have your say in the comments.
2010 F1 season review
- The complete F1 Fanatic 2010 season review
- Lewis Hamilton voted best driver of 2010
- The best guest contributions of 2010
- F1 Fanatic’s 50 best articles of 2010
- The 2010 F1 season in 100 pictures
- 2010 F1 driver rankings part four: the top three
- Vote for the best F1 driver of 2010
- 2010 F1 driver rankings part three: 8-4
- 2010 F1 driver rankings part two: 17-9
- 2010 F1 driver rankings part one: 27-18
Images © Ferrari spa, Motioncompany, Williams/LAT, Red Bull/Getty images, Mercedes Grand Prix, www.mclaren.com