2012 F1 season review
The 2012 season provided us with much to discuss including controversial penalties, Lewis Hamilton’s move to Mercedes and the perpetual question of the sport versus ‘the show’.
Find out what F1 Fanatic readers though of all these and more below, including your pre-season predictions of which drivers would hold the upper hand in each team.
What was the best-looking car?
It was not a great year for those who like F1 cars to be attractive as well as fast. Already burdened with the oddly-proportioned wings introduced in 2009, most of the 2012-generation cars featured unsightly steps in their noses making them even harder to admire.
The most popular choice among readers was one of few cars which appeared with a smooth, sloping nose – though even that was replaced with a higher version within a few races. The McLaren MP4-27 was the best of a bad bunch aesthetically.
Should Pirelli produce more conservative tyres?
Winner: “Keep them as they are” (46%)
The arrival of Pirelli to F1 in 2011 coincided with a desire from the teams to see more aggressive tyre compounds to produce more exciting races. That policy continued in 2012 and contributed to a season which saw many surprises.
Does this sacrifice the purity of the sport for the sake of the show? F1 Fanatic readers were divided, though the majority were happy with the direction the sport has chosen.
With 46% supporting the current tyres and a further 14% wanting even more aggressive tyres, the status quo had a narrow majority of support. But a significant minority – 30% – were in favour of slightly more conservative tyres.
This poll was taken in May and later in the year Pirelli did supply more conservative tyres. This coincided with some of the lowest-rated races of the year at Korea, India and Singapore.
Was Perez told not to pass Alonso in Malaysia?
Winner: No (65%)
At the second round of the season Sergio Perez was chasing down leader Fernando Alonso in the dying stages when he received a surprising radio message from his team instructing him to “be careful” because “we need this position”.
Was this normal caution on Sauber’s part – or evidence of collusion between Ferrari and their engine customer team, as had previously happened in the European Grand Prix in 1997?
F1 Fanatic readers gave Ferrari the benefit of the doubt with almost two-thirds saying they didn’t believe Perez had been leant on to let Alonso win. Later in the year he passed both Ferraris on his way to second place in Monza, which endorsed the view that no foul play had taken place.
Should Red Bull lose points for their ‘illegal floor’?
Doubts were raised over the legality of the RB8 at various points in the season for different reasons. On more than one occasion it led the FIA to revise or “clarify” its interpretation of the rules, leading Red Bull to change the offending part of their car for a subsequent race.
Monaco provided one of the most stark examples of this as a row broke out over the design of the RB8′s floor. Red Bull won the race using a configuration they later had to change, but none of their rivals protested them.
Most F1 Fanatic readers were happy to see them keep their win, albeit by a less than emphatic margin of 55% to 43%.
What is the best F1 racing game series?
Winner: Codemasters?óÔé¼Ôäó F1 2010 and F1 2011 (38%)
A lengthy process of elimination produced a shortlist of eight different F1 racing series which users voted on.
The current Codemasters series came out on top, though the classic Geoff Crammond Grand Prix series impressively attracted a quarter of the votes cast despite the last title in the line appearing over a decade ago. No other game got more than 9%.
- Vote for the best F1 racing game series
- Codemasters edge Crammond for ?óÔé¼?£best F1 game?óÔé¼Ôäó honours
Who should Ferrari replace Massa with?
A dismal start to the season for Felipe Massa, following a poor year for him in 2011, raised speculation he would be replaced at Ferrari.
This poll conducted in May saw Sergio Perez lead a list of over two dozen potential replacements. But Ferrari maintained their development driver was too inexperienced to make the switch and he was eventually signed by McLaren.
The next favourite among F1 Fanatic readers was the injured Robert Kubica (12%) followed by Paul di Resta and his former team mate Adrian Sutil, both on 8%.
Just 4% felt Ferrari should keep Massa, as they eventually did. But his return to form in the final two races of the year showed Ferrari’s decision may yet be vindicated.
Did Vettel deserve his penalty at Monza?
Winner: Yes (54%)
Championship rivals Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso faced each other in wheel-to-wheel battle at Monza as they had in 2011. On that occasion Alonso edged Vettel onto the grass but the Red Bull driver kept his foot down and completed the move.
This time the roles were reversed and Vettel put Alonso wide – and was handed a penalty. It came after the stewards had twice clarified the rules on defensive driving.
In another close vote, the stewards had the support of F1 Fanatic readers by 54% to 41%.
Will Hamilton win a championship with Mercedes by 2015?
Winner: No (61%)
This is going to be an interesting one to look back on in three years’ time. The majority of F1 Fanatic readers believe Hamilton will not win a world championship with Mercedes before the end of 2015.
Team mate battles
Before the season began readers were invited to pick which driver would achieve the best championship finishing position in each team.
Half of the results were predicted correctly. For some of those predicted incorrectly, the outcomes were affected by results which did not reflect the balance of power within the team throughout the year, such as at Caterham and HRT.
But there were some predictions that were wide of the mark. Bruno Senna was picked over Pastor Maldonado by over 70% of readers, yet Maldonado proved consistently quicker and out-scored Senna despite a string of incidents.
|Red Bull||Sebastian Vettel (89%)||Vettel beat Mark Webber 281 to 179|
|McLaren||Lewis Hamilton (52%)||Hamilton beat Jenson Button 190 to 188|
|Ferrari||Fernando Alonso (96%)||Alonso beat Felipe Massa 278 to 122|
|Mercedes||Nico Rosberg (64%)||Rosberg beat Michael Schumacher 93 to 49|
|Lotus||Kimi Raikkonen (91%)||Raikkonen beat Romain Grosjean 207 to 96|
|Force India||Paul di Resta (60%)||Nico Hulkenberg beat Di Resta 63 to 46|
|Sauber||Kamui Kobayashi (58%)||Sergio Perez beat Kobayashi 66 to 60|
|Toro Rosso||Daniel Ricciardo (74%)||Jean-Eric Vergne beat Ricciardo 16 to 10|
|Williams||Bruno Senna (72%)||Pastor Maldonado beat Senna 45 to 31|
|Caterham||Heikki Kovalainen (83%)||Vitaly Petrov beat Kovalainen with a best finish of 11th|
|HRT||Pedro de la Rosa (86%)||Narain Karthikeyan beat de la Rosa with one 15th place to none)|
|Marussia||Timo Glock (92%)||Glock beat Charles Pic with three 14th places (both had a 12th)|
Vote in these open polls
These four polls remain open for further votes at present:
- Should drivers get grid drops for gearbox changes?
- Should F1 race venues be rotated?
- Which races should DRS be used at?
- Which was America?óÔé¼Ôäós best circuit?
2012 F1 season review
- The complete F1 Fanatic 2012 season review
- What F1 Fanatics thought of 2012: The year in polls
- The drivers and cars of 2012
- F1 Fanatic’s 50 article highlights of 2012
- 11 different Driver of the Weekend winners in 2012
Browse all 2012 F1 season review articles