Your favourite drivers and teams at the start of the 2012 F1 season

2012 F1 season preview

Jenson Button, McLaren, Barcelona, 2012

Jenson Button and McLaren are your favourites at the start of 2012

With the new season almost upon us it’s time to take a fresh look at who F1 Fanatics are supporting in 2012.

We last tallied your support in November last year. Since then F1 Fanatic has amassed over 5,000 active registered users.

Drivers

  • Jenson Button remains the most popular driver with almost twice as many supporters as when we last looked at these figures in November last year.
  • The three most popular drivers are all British – perhaps unsurprising as 35% of site visits come from the UK. Our second-largest group of users – the 10% from the USA – don’t have a corresponding American driver to cheers on.
  • Michael Schumacher has moved up two places to fourth, while Kamui Kobayashi has slipped three places in the list.
  • He may have two world championships to his name but Sebastian Vettel ranks only ninth in your affections.
  • Kimi Raikkonen wasn’t on the list last year, but now he’s been added he’s instantly received support from almost 200 F1 Fanatics.
  • Rookies Jean-Eric Vergne and Charles Pic are yet to gain much in the way of support.
Jenson Button
638
Lewis Hamilton
463
Paul di Resta
332
Michael Schumacher
327
Mark Webber
323
Kamui Kobayashi
320
Fernando Alonso
296
Robert Kubica
279
Sebastian Vettel
256
Heikki Kovalainen
236
Nico Rosberg
206
Kimi Raikkonen
198
Bruno Senna
196
Sergio Perez
132
Felipe Massa
131
Daniel Ricciardo
113
Timo Glock
76
Vitaly Petrov
73
Nico Hulkenberg
68
Pedro de la Rosa
27
Pastor Maldonado
26
Jean-Eric Vergne
24
Narain Karthikeyan
23
Romain Grosjean
20
Charles Pic
8

Here’s which of the current drivers have moved up and down since we last looked at who you’re supporting:

Rank Change Supporters Change
Jenson Button 1 = 638 +304
Lewis Hamilton 2 = 463 +225
Paul di Resta 3 = 332 +134
Michael Schumacher 4 +2 327 +160
Mark Webber 5 = 323 +148
Kamui Kobayashi 6 -3 320 +122
Fernando Alonso 7 +1 296 +154
Robert Kubica 8 -1 279 +118
Sebastian Vettel 9 = 256 +136
Heikki Kovalainen 10 -1 236 +116
Nico Rosberg 11 = 206 +90
Kimi Raikkonen 12 New 198 New
Bruno Senna 13 -1 196 +83
Sergio Perez 14 -1 132 +50
Felipe Massa 15 -1 131 +58
Daniel Ricciardo 16 +2 113 +62
Timo Glock 17 +3 76 +41
Vitaly Petrov 18 +1 73 +30
Nico Hulkenberg 19 New 68 New
Pedro de la Rosa 20 +6 27 +17
Pastor Maldonado 21 +3 26 +12
Jean-Eric Vergne 22 New 24 New
Narain Karthikeyan 23 +5 23 +15
Romain Grosjean 24 New 20 New
Charles Pic 25 New 8 New

Teams

  • McLaren remain far and away the most popular team with almost twice as many supporters as any other.
  • Support is split pretty evenly among the rest of the teams, though Toro Rosso have surprisingly few fans – perhaps a reaction against their cut-throat driver hiring practices?
McLaren
666
Ferrari
314
Mercedes
243
Red Bull
242
Lotus
237
Sauber
201
Williams
200
Force India
188
Caterham
96
Toro Rosso
69
HRT
48
Marussia
13

When you started watching F1

This final graph shows when F1 Fanatics first started following F1.

Unsurprisingly, most have discovered F1 in the last 20 years but there’s a considerable dip in the early 2000s.

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2011drivercolours.csv

Year 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Number of F1 Fanatics who started watching in this year 9 0 0 3 2 1 6 2 4 3 6 4 4 3 7 11 13 11 9 6 21 10 14 5 12 19 32 19 24 20 48 17 26 20 47 76 58 34 64 63 138 114 82 73 92 73 140 87 125 104 136 55 59 59 67 79 74 147 90 102 78 47 0

Show your support

Want to make sure your driver and team preferences are reflected in these charts? Here’s how to do it:

1. Log in with your F1 Fanatic account. If you’ve not got one, sign up for one here.
2. Go to My Account > Profile > Edit and select F1 teams and drivers.
3. Make your choices and click Save Changes.

Who are you supporting in 2012 – and why? Have your say in the comments.

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117 comments on Your favourite drivers and teams at the start of the 2012 F1 season

  1. off@turn1 said on 24th February 2012, 9:05

    Surprised to see Vettel so low down. Winning a Championship and then dominating seems to have seen him lose the ‘Honorary Brit’ status maybe. Think he’s one of the most genuine and funny guys on the grid still. A bit surprised some of the smaller teams who have put a lot into image low too (esp. Marrusia and Caterham). Maybe the goodwill and interaction they get doesn’t directly translate into people seeing them as ‘their’ team?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th February 2012, 9:12

      Just goes to show there’s no substitute for heritage.

      It reminds me of the poll we had a couple of week ago on which teams will still be in F1 in ten years’ time. The results of that poll reflect the popularity statistics quite closely, and that makes sense: if you don’t think a team has a future, why bother supporting them?

      • I would include not only teams that don´t have a future, but also teams who completelly change their identity from one season to the next. People won´t back up teams that only exist for a season! Think of BrawnGP (then Mercedes), Lotus Racing (then Team Lotus then Caterham), Virgin (then Marussia), Renault (then Lotus)…

      • libertywho (@libertywho) said on 24th February 2012, 23:42

        True, true, but that doesn’t make sense in Paul di Resta case.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 24th February 2012, 9:17

      I’d say the infamous finger has won him no fans.

      • Olivier said on 24th February 2012, 9:27

        Yeah, I can see sore losers objecting to the finger…

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 24th February 2012, 9:40

          I don’t think it’s people being sore losers. It’s people who are sick of seeing it, the way Vettel almost expects to be in a position to point his finger.

          • Nixon (@nixon) said on 24th February 2012, 10:13

            Yes, and that its sooooo annoying.

          • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 24th February 2012, 10:13

            I agree, it’s hardly a graceful celebration is it…

          • Its arrogant the way he does it, even kind of childish. If he did it only once in a while, maybe when he wins the WDC, it would not be so bad.

          • Bigbadderboom (@bigbadderboom) said on 24th February 2012, 10:25

            My pereception of Vettel has changed, I see him as almost arrogant now. But for me I like to see drivers suffer setbacks and overcome adversity, I think Jensons popularity demonstrates this fora lot of fans. Vettel has been kind of gifted his success, not saying its undeserved just not worked for it quite as hard.

          • You guys are joking right?

            He was winning races, and Celebrating because he was number one by sticking his finger up.

            It’s not like he runs around the office doing it.

            There’s a thought…

          • funny to watch at first but so annoying for now.

          • I don’t think they are joking, @mike — but I do find it hilarious that people are still complaining about Vettel’s means of celebrating victories. Every time I think people have moved on with their lives, a thread like this comes up!

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 24th February 2012, 12:39

            I agree there PM, not the best way to gain supporters between the fans.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 24th February 2012, 12:42

            What @bigbadderboom writes is true for quite a lot of people, I count myself in as well.

            Seemingly just turning everything you touch into gold is not the thing to win you fans. But overcoming some difficulties and grow into an impressive contender does. Just look at Mansell, for example, still one of the all time favourites.

            That does not mean Vettel is not a great driver, just he is not the one getting most fan support currently.

          • Optimaximal said on 24th February 2012, 12:43

            I lost a lot of respect for Vettel after Hungary 2010.

            His behaviour during the race when given the drive through and public ‘performance’ in the press conference where he stropped like a belligerent child (despite still finishing 3rd) coloured him in my eyes, something he hasn’t graciously been able to recover because his 2011 was largely flawless.

          • @Optimaximal

            Name one decent driver who you haven’t seen have a sook.

            @Bigbadderboom

            What about Alonso?

            It took Vettel 4 season to win the championship, including some very difficult races early on in his F1 career, along with some very impressive performances. He won it twice in a row.

            Alonso took 5 seasons to win his championship, starting his career with impressive performances in an under performing car. He also won it twice in a row.

            Both drivers were in the right car, at the right time, at a young age.

            All I’m saying is, There is nothing to say that Vettel had it any easier than Alonso. And there is nothing to say he deserve any less credit for his two championships.

          • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 24th February 2012, 13:16

            @Mike

            Obviously Vettel is allowed to be frustrated/have a sulk, but the way he conducted the interview, slouched in his seat, sunken shoulders, angry as he seemingly thought it was everyone’s fault but his own hat he had received the drive through.

            It was different to the Turkey debacle, where the team did everything in its power to insulate him from blame or culpability, but he just seemed to be left to his own devices in Hungary and he didn’t deal with it well at all.

            Maybe he’s massively matured now – it’s more than likely the case – but every situation since has either been a genuine case of bad luck or a car failure.

            How did he conduct himself in Germany 2011? Did he fess up to dropping the ball at his home GP? I can’t remember.

          • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 24th February 2012, 13:34

            @prisoner-monkeys I think pole position was pretty much Vettel’s last year by default, unless proven otherwise. Can’t blame the guy!

            At least he kept it up.

          • Mustalainen (@mustalainen) said on 24th February 2012, 14:35

            I’m just sick of neither Ferrari nor McLaren winning very much :( /s

          • F1fanNL (@) said on 25th February 2012, 12:09

            @Prisoner Monkeys

            I think it is. You won’t hear people complain when someone else does it. And you can see by raymonu999′s post that other drivers do it too.

            It’s like in 2010 when Witmarsh labeled Vettel as a crash kid for 2 incidents that year and every McLaren fan happily picked up on that. Then came 2011 and Hamilton took out drivers almost every race. What was Witmarsh’s response? “It’s not his fault, he’s just having a bit of a rough season.” and every McLaren fan happily picked up on that as well.

            I don’t give 2 cents about someones preferences but I do believe one should apply the same set of rules and criteria when viewing something. Something you clearly lack.

      • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 24th February 2012, 14:43

        @prisoner-monkeys

        While I don’t deny most people point to his finger as the reason for their… “dislike,” of him, *drumroll please:

        Click
        Click
        Click
        Click
        Click
        Click
        Click
        Click
        Click
        Click
        Click
        Click
        Click
        Click
        Click[/quote]

        I guess what I’m trying to say is… he should really be more humble :P

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 24th February 2012, 11:43

      To be honest, I didn’t like him at all until he appeared on Top Gear.

      He’s a top bloke, really, very funny and very talented of course. So he’d have my vote… if only he didn’t win so much!

      I don’t like supporting the driver that always wins. I guess it’s like boring, or easy…

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 24th February 2012, 14:04

      Webber being more popular than Vettel shows that it’s not all about driving skills (e.g. Button more popular than Alonso) but then, like you put it, being funny is not enough either.. So it’s about being British or from a Commonwealth nation, oh no, Schumacher is German just like Vettel! What’s wrong with Seb? However, I don’t think is resembles a drivers rank by perception of skills.

      • Dom (@3dom) said on 24th February 2012, 15:06

        I’m primarily a Hamilton fan but I like webber coz of his openness & honesty in front of the camera. He’s straight-talking.

        Interviewer: if you had to be ruthless to make sure you won the championship, would you.

        Webber: I’d have to say… *blows through cheeks* … Yeah.

        No BS.

        Lewis is my fave driver coz he’s so exciting. Even fans that don’t like him would miss him out on the attack. He may have not had as good a year in 2011. But could overtake well before DRS came along. He’s pure skill!

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 24th February 2012, 15:44

        “Button more popular than Alonso”
        how did you figured out this
        that’s only true in the UK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 24th February 2012, 9:15

    As ever I’ll be supporting Vettel/Hamilton for the championship.

    I’ll also be supporting 2 rookies Ricciardo because he’s awesome and drives for Toro Rosso and Grosjean. I really thought he deserved another chance and his GP2 season was incredible. I’d love to see him challenge Kimi.

  3. BluNt (@blunt) said on 24th February 2012, 9:15

    seems a tad many di Resta supporters dont you think. hope hulkenberg can change that this season

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 24th February 2012, 9:19

      What’s wrong with having a lot of supporters?

      • In that a rookie, who only did so well against his only so good team mate, is more popular than say, All of the other drivers?

        It doesn’t quite add up, I mean, I’ve seen him in an interview, his expression, (and he only has one I should add), makes him seem like he has spotted and is entranced by a large mole on the reporters face…. So that can’t be it. :D

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 24th February 2012, 11:55

          When the Sky-BBC deal was first announced, a lot of people talked about how important the British market was to the sport, and the way the arrangement would only push people away. If the British audiences are as important as these people say they are – and, as Keith points out, 35% of posters on the blog identify themselves as British, thereby suggesting this importance is not exaggerated – then, as a British driver, Paul di Resta would have a natural advantage when it comes to popularity.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th February 2012, 12:02

            @prisoner-monkeys

            35% of posters on the blog identify themselves as British

            Just to be clear, 35% of visits to the site have been from computers in the UK. I haven’t been asking people what nationality they consider themselves to be!

          • Le Jimster (@lejimster82) said on 24th February 2012, 13:58

            I personally am not a fan of Di Resta and I’m British. I prefer Kobayashi over most of the drivers with the exception of Jenson, I’ll never forget 2009 and his awesome wet races in 2006,2010,2011 especially.

            All I seem to remember about Di Resta is him crashing into other cars last season. Probably being unfair to him their, I’m sure he had some good races.. But nothing special springs to mind.

          • JCost (@jcost) said on 24th February 2012, 14:17

            Not everybody in the world speaks English. One should not take this site as benchmark to determine British fans importance to F1.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 24th February 2012, 22:05

            One should not take this site as benchmark to determine British fans importance to F1.

            But, with 35% of people posting from British computers, surely you can see why di Resta would have so much support on the blog.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 24th February 2012, 11:48

      He’s british, what did you expect?

  4. Girts (@girts) said on 24th February 2012, 9:16

    I think I selected Lotus (the team now known as Caterham) as my favourite team last year and, after reading this article, I noticed that I’m still a Lotus (the team formerly know as Renault) fan. I’ve changed that to Caterham but I guess there are maybe more Lotus fans who ain’t Lotus fans anymore.

    Yes, I also find the Lotus naming dispute very very annoying. It must be the weirdest and most confusing thing I’ve experienced in my 15-year long F1 fan career.

  5. Todfod (@todfod) said on 24th February 2012, 9:32

    Jesnson, Lewis and Paul at 1,2 & 3 . LMAO

    • Of course! Its only natural to want to support your own countrymen. If there were more visitors to this site from say Spain, or Australia, the numbers would be different.

  6. Brolloks (@brolloks) said on 24th February 2012, 9:41

    Satan clearly on McLaren’s side.

  7. Jack_Burton (@jack_burton) said on 24th February 2012, 9:46

    The self-congratulatory Jensen Button

    The self-aggrandising Lewis Hamilton

    The self-deprecating Seb Vettel.

    I guess the poll question should be, “Which of these drivers are from Britain?”

  8. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 24th February 2012, 9:50

    Kubica, the guy who’s not even on the grid for over a year and most probably won’t be this year is STILL more popular than Vettel.

    • Adrian (@adrian_debian) said on 24th February 2012, 10:11

      Robert had (let’s hope he still has) huge potential and there are a lot of people out there including me that would love to see him back in 2013.

      • Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 24th February 2012, 15:06

        Obviously Robert is my number one driver and regardless of circumstances always will be, but it only shows how much Vettell is disregarded or even disliked. For a double world champion to have less fans than a currently not active driver with only one win on his tally is pretty unexpected situation. I wonder what’s the reason behind this. Any ideas?

        • caci99 (@caci99) said on 24th February 2012, 16:46

          I guess it’s the controversial preceding his world champion win. It is the same for all drivers of that category, they will never get full support from people because, we do not want to accept that we were wrong.
          Myself, I wasn’t supporting him that much when he won the first championship, but the 2011 has proved he is a very mature and skilled driver. But still, somehow, inside me, I want him to be beaten :).
          Whatever the feelings, he deserves props anyway.

        • F1fanNL (@) said on 25th February 2012, 12:15

          I think it’s because right now he’s the main rival of the McLaren boys.

          I can’t say for sure but I doubt Schumacher was very popular amongst British fans in the mid/late 90′s.

    • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 24th February 2012, 11:53

      @keith-collantine I wonder why Kubica is still on the list?
      Since his team has moved on to hire new drivers, it’s not like he’s on sick leave anymore.

      Sutil, Buemi and Alguersuauri are not on it, while Buemi even will step in the World Championship car if needed.

      * Maybe ‘sympathy reasons’ are sufficient in the case of Robert. I’m sure everyone wishes him well *

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th February 2012, 11:55

        @verstappen It’s a bit of a special circumstance with Kubica. Yes, he has effectively been replaced at Lotus now but I doubt if he were able to drive he wouldn’t have a place at some other team. So, partly on sympathetic grounds, I’ve left him in.

  9. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 24th February 2012, 10:17

    For me it’s not that Jenson’s British, but he’s been around for a long time now and he’s the good guy that’s had to deal with some real dogs. He stayed loyal to the Honda team for so long (the Williams contract buy-out aside) and even through 07-08. I remember being about 13-14 and cheering on his BAR, I’d be so glad if he got a podium! Through the Brawn year was very moving for me to watch him take all them wins and also how hard he fought later on in the season.

    He’s British, yeah, but I’m really not that patriotic, and I think many of his 638 fans will share the same sentiments I do.

    • LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 24th February 2012, 10:33

      LIKE+!! :D

    • Bigbadderboom (@bigbadderboom) said on 24th February 2012, 10:48

      Well said, Jenson has worked very hard for his oportunities and made the most of them when they have appeared, his also one of F1′s good guys, pretty genuine and open, ok he maybe “safe” but he’s also solid.

    • I agree Jenson is an alround good guy and a very good driver. But I’m a Lewis fan and would you believe an Alonso fan!!
      It’s all down to their driving style, balls-out!!
      I was the same when ‘our’ Nige and Senna drove their style was the same as above. I did not go for Prost or Piquet who went for the averages.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 24th February 2012, 17:06

      He was a great underdog in 05 when I started watching full-time (and he’d had a very successful 04 which I ‘d seen bits of). As somebody who naturally follows drivers mainly for nationality, the only other British driver was Coulthard. I don’t think I was put off by Coulthard being Scottish, as I identify myself as both English and British, but I just found him dull and past it.

      Watching his 1st win was special, and his end to 06 was pretty good. Seeing him in a poor car for the next 2 years made me even more excited to see him get back in at least a half-decent car.

      And when Hamilton came along in 07 and Button was doing badly, I took a while to actually support Hamilton (partly because before the season I hadn’t heard of him and wanted Pafet to get the drive) because I didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon as everybody seemed to forget Button, who I knew still had potential.

      Eventually (mid 07 I guess), Hamilton won me over because of his driving, although his personality still puts me off while Button’s is another part of the reason I support him.

  10. Le Jimster (@lejimster82) said on 24th February 2012, 10:34

    My fav drivers are Jenson & Kamui. Infact I’d love to see Hamilton move to Ferrari and Kamui take his spot at Mclaren. Well actually I would love to see Sauber be good enough to win the WDC, but unless their is a miracle I don’t see that happening any time soon.

  11. LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 24th February 2012, 10:38

    JB has been a fan favourite, for a long time…not just on this site….and he is just as popular among the fans as he is well-liked in the f1 community….

  12. smifaye (@smifaye) said on 24th February 2012, 10:59

    Interesting statistics from this:

    McLaren 666 fans, spooky!
    Marussia 1 fan. Poor person who supports them.

    Disappointed to see Williams so far down the list. Although there’s not exactly much to cheer about with them at the moment :(

  13. I seemed to have missed the voting this time.
    I am from Scotland but my vote is
    1. Lewis Hamilton
    2. Jenson Button
    3. Paul di Resta
    4. Kimi
    5. Alonso

    Team is McLaren
    Started watching in the 60′s with my dad, cause we had to quite good Scottish drivers in F1 at the time.
    The dip in the early 2000′s would be down to the Michael Schumacher factor when it got quite boring. I hope Red Bull and Vettel don’t get us into that again.

  14. dangerouspartridge (@dangerouspartridge) said on 24th February 2012, 12:51

    I’m really surprised that Jenson is always so highly regarded! The only reason he ever won a world championship was because his car was the only one with the double diffuser which none of the teams had. Once the other teams adapted this technology he quickly stopped winning races. He’s also so smug and self-appreciative – Lewis always thanks the team whereas Jenson thinks he’s a little wonder kid and it’s all done to his driving. Never again will he win a world championship.

    And to top it off he appeared in that god awlful shampoo advert.

    • bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 24th February 2012, 13:01

      I think you have Lewis and JB mixed up.

    • LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 24th February 2012, 13:40

      Ahhh I am sorry but do you even follow F1….or are you just Lewis´ cousin or something….. i seriously believe that one of the reasons that Lewis is less supported, are his fans…. believe me you can grow to despise one bc of his childishly ignorant fan-girls… its happens all over again in the celebrity world…..

    • McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 24th February 2012, 13:47

      The only reason he ever won a world championship was because his car was the only one with the double diffuser which none of the teams had

      Categorically incorrect. Toyota and Williams also had the double diffuser at Australia. Brawn had an extra 6 months development time over everyone else, that’s what made the real difference. Ross also pointed out the loophole in the diffuser rules but almost all the other teams weren’t interested and were left behind.

      Also, I get that you don’t support Jenson, but there is absolutely no need to troll. There’s no need for others to bite either.

    • smifaye (@smifaye) said on 24th February 2012, 14:46

      Wowzers! Can’t believe you are questioning Button’s talent as a driver. He is obviously well liked and well liked for a reason so your judgement appears to be well off the norm.

  15. Interesting to see Felipe Massa so high on that list ;)

    My choices
    1. Kimi Raikkonen – Always been my favourite and certainly glad he’s returned.
    2. Jenson Button – He impressed me last season, I think his race wins in particular were very good.
    3. Michael Schumacher – I began cheering him on last season because (Like Bernie) I want to see him win again.
    4. Robert Kubica – I know he probably won’t race this season but he is very fiery and spectacular and I deeply hope he makes a full recovery and return to racing.

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