2011 F1 season review
The safety car is used too much and qualifying tyres are a good idea.
Also, Sebastian Vettel gearbox problem in Brazil wasn’t an attempt by Red Bull to hand a win to Mark Webber.
Says who? Says F1 Fanatic readers – here’s the result of our polls throughout 2011.
Champion of Champions
We began the season with a look at the 32 Formula 1 world champions. After five rounds of elimination we picked a grand Champion of Champions.
Result: Senna beat Schumacher in the final with 57% of the vote. In the semi-finals Senna had beaten Juan Manuel Fangio with 54%, and Schumacher triumphed over Alain Prost with 55% of the vote. See the full breakdown of results here.
Formula 1 cars are built for one thing and one thing only: to be the fastest thing on the track. But that doesn’t mean they can’t look nice too. So who had the best-looking car?
Result: Silver cars are popular with F1 Fanatics. McLaren won with 27.9%, while Mercedes came second with 20.1%. Renault’s ‘John Player Special’ livery took third place with 12.9%. The bottom three were Williams, Sauber and Virgin.
Mandatory pit stop rule
Since 2007, the rules have forced drivers to use both types of tyre compounds during each race. But is this adding to or detracting from the sport?
Result: The mandatory pit stop rule is not popular with F1 fans – 82.9% want to get rid of it. Yet it remains in the rules for a sixth season next year.
Bahrain Grand Prix
The debate over the future of the Bahrain Grand Prix raged throughout the year as the country’s government clashed violently with pro-democracy protesters. We ran a poll in April on whether the race should take place at all in 2011.
Result: Around three-quarters of F1 Fanatics – 74.8% – were against the race happening.
Almost half of the Canadian Grand Prix was run behind the safety car due to rain. When it was finally judged safe enough to race, drivers almost immediately switched to intermediate tyres.
What did F1 fans think of the management of the race – and last year’s Korean Grand Prix, run in similar conditions?
Result: Overwhelmingly, fans want to see less running behind the safety car – 84.6% said it was over-used in Canada.
During the season we became used to seeing some drivers refrain from setting lap times in qualifying to save tyres for the race.
Some team principals – notably Mercedes’ Ross Brawn – said the tactical dimension this added was positive for the sport. Pirelli proposed reintroducing qualifying tyres to combat the problem. What did the fans prefer?
Result: Pirelli’s solution found favour with fans – 71.2% said they would like to see qualifying tyres in F1.
Maldonado and Hamilton at Spa
One of the most controversial on-track moments of the season was the clash between Pastor Maldonado and Lewis Hamilton in qualifying at Spa. What did fans think of the incident?
Result: There was much strong criticism of drivers causing deliberate collisions – however slight – and 70.8% said Maldonado’s penalty was too weak.
Drivers betting on drivers
At Singapore we learned that Timo Glock had bet Sebastian Vettel would wrap up the world championship that weekend. What did fans make of the ethical implications of competitors betting on each other?
Result: News of Glock’s wager was not well-received with 77.8% of fans saying it shouldn’t be allowed.
Drivers bowing out
Heading into the final race of the season, which F1 drivers did we not expect to see again in 2012?
Result: The driver most widely-tipped to lose his seat was Rubens Barrichello, picked by 78.6% of fans. Second was Jerome d’Ambrosio, who lost his place immediately after the race. However Jaime Alguersuari, who was only picked by 6.3%, has since lost his place at Toro Rosso.
Vettel’s gearbox in Brazil
When Vettel dropped back with a gearbox problem in Brazil and Mark Webber took his sole win of the season, some wondered whether Red Bull had been trying to pull the wool over our eyes in order to hand Webber victory.
Result: Red Bull got the benefit of the doubt from the majority with 57.1% saying Vettel’s problem was genuine, and 35.6% believing it was a covert team orders instruction. Red Bull later showed some journalists telemetry from the car to prove Vettel had a gearbox fault.
Force India drivers
Before Force India picked their drivers for 2012, F1 Fanatics named who they wanted to see in the VJM06.
Result: The most popular choice with di Resta and Hulkenberg, which was picked by 58.7% of you. It was also Vijay Mallya’s choice.
2011 F1 season review
- The 2011 F1 season: The complete F1 Fanatic review
- Your 2011 F1 predictions revisited
- 2011 F1 statistics part 3: Stats and facts highlights
- 2011 F1 statistics part two: Vettel’s domination
- 2011 F1 statistics part one: car performance
- New 2011 rules produced best racing of last four years
- What F1 Fanatics really thought of the 2011 season
- Sebastian Vettel voted F1 Fanatic Driver of the Year
- F1 Fanatic’s article highlights of 2011
- Dominant Red Bull join F1′s top teams
Image © Red Bull/Getty images, Williams/LAT