What F1 fans really thought about the 2010 season

2010 F1 season review

Posted on

| Written by

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

Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Hockenheimring, 2010

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.

Suzuka crashes

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.


Bruno Senna, HRT, Monte-Carlo, 2010

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.


Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Bahrain, 2010

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.


Red Bull-Renault, Interlagos, 2010

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.

Proximity wings

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.


Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Abu Dhabi, 2010

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.


Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Abu Dhabi, 2010

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.

Three-car teams

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

Two of the most hotly-contested polls of the year are still to come. Make sure you get your nominations in for best overtaking move of the year and best driver of the year.

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

Browse all 2010 F1 season review articles

Images © Ferrari spa, Motioncompany, Williams/LAT, Red Bull/Getty images, Mercedes Grand Prix, www.mclaren.com

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

54 comments on “What F1 fans really thought about the 2010 season”

  1. if it were Mclaren instead of Ferrari doing team orders at hockenheim, would we be complaining as much? probably not.

    1. Would you?

      I would. As I wrote last month:

      Riccardo Patrese waving the sister Williams of Nigel Mansell by at Magny-Cours in 1992. David Coulthard blending out of the throttle at Melbourne to let Mika Hakkinen win in the other McLaren. A chorus of boos at Austria in 2002 as Rubens Barrichello surrenders victory for Ferrari to team mate Michael Schumacher.

      A driver giving up without a fight is an ugly sight that makes a mockery of Formula 1.

      1. An interesting follow up question is: If team orders were legal, would we be complaining as much? Technically we couldn’t, because it would be legal. But it would still be an ugly sight, seeing a driver give up his place without a fight.

        1. If team orders were legal, would we be complaining as much? Technically we couldn’t, because it would be legal.

          Why do say we couldn’t complain because it’s legal? If it makes a mockery of the sport it makes a mockery of the sport, it wouldn’t be any less so by being endorsed by the governing body.

      2. i would have been annoyed initially but I don’t think it’d have dragged on for so long if it were mclaren involved.

        let’s face it, the majority of fans here are british (including me!) and there aren’t that many alonso/ferrari fans in comparison. If hamilton had won the WDC in abu dhabi after being ordered past button in hockenheim, i don’t think there would have been such uproar on this site. maybe only for a few weeks at most.

        1. let’s face it, the majority of fans here are british

          No they’re not. Around a third of the site’s visitors are British, making them the largest single group but far from a majority:

          Where F1 Fanatic readers are from

          1. Is that the data for the country where the visitor is situated or the nationality of the visitor?

            I would guess the former.

            Also is that data based on hits or individuals IP addresses?

            Perceptions (like Sato113’s) would largely be based on who posts, which again is a different question.

            Brits may not have an overall majority but they do have a (massive) majority share (of what ever that data is) so to say that they have a majority isn’t wholly inaccurate.

          2. Isn’t this like the 400th time you’ve had to make this point Keith? And it always seems like people just don’t get it and then continue to spout some magical misconception. It’s not like the co.uk means no one else can see it outside of the UK.

            I have some ideas though on how to fix this.

            1) New motto.
            1a)’F1Fanatic – where no country has a majority of readers’.
            1b)’F1Fanatic – not read in the following countries’ with a list that follows.
            2) Flashing banner across the top. ‘Not majority British read’.
            3) A captcha you have to type in before you post. ‘F1Fanatic is only a third British readers’.
            4) Text scanning. If the words ‘fans’, ‘site’, ‘British’, and ‘majority’ are in a post,
            4a) A warning appears ‘That’s not true’.
            4b) A seizure inducing gif appears with the same message.
            5) Pull the IP address from posts and go to each house. Knock on door. Once answered, ask for poster by name. When you meet said offender, smack with a slightly frozen trout/seabass/tuna/salmon/catfish/lobster. Preferably with F1Fanatic logo engraved in it.

            Now I’m partial to option 5 because I wrote the most. I also happen to think slightly frozen fish are the best choice for punishment (I’m not related to the Gorton’s fisherman). But I’d like some creative credit for any idea of mine if you use it. And if you go with #5, I am willing to fish smack people in the Southeastern US.

          3. I heartily endorse #5, and would offer fish-smacking services in the Northwestern US.

          4. Keith.. I do not want to irritate you by saying that most of your fans here are British, but your stats are on the number of people who visit your site and no the number of people who post their comments. I think if you calculated the number of posts made by that 1/3rd (british members), you would probably see that they are responsible for more than 50% of the posts. So I could understand why people feel like there is a lot of bias. I do however, feel that your opinion is pretty neutral.

          5. Didn’t see K’s post .. I think he covered the issue as well

          6. I’ve always thought that any bias in this site comes from the comments on the articles, not the articles themselves.
            It seems like there are a lot of British fans commenting here and when you consider that most of the English speaking F1 fans (especially in Europe) are British, it makes sense.

            Or in other words, this site seems biased to Britons in the same way that an Italian F1 site would seem biased to Italians as only Italian speaking people could read, write and comment on it.

          7. I’ll do the fish-smacking in the Czech Republic, Poland and in Austria as well if needed.

          8. To add to the discussion about this site being mostly read or commented on by British or Enlish readers/commenters.

            Just have a look at the most prolific commenters. I am very sure, at least half the top 20 and maybe more than 50% of those posts are not by British/English fans.

      3. I also would Keith, but if McLaren did that so obviously then it will be a Ferrari. McLaren, as well as other team will never have strong FIA back up ever.

    2. of course they wouldn’t. its only the “evil italians” who do team orders.

      1. Yeah right. And if Button was told that “Lewis is faster than you” at the Chinese GP, Ferrari fans would have stoically admitted that it was the right thing to do, because “F1 is a team sport”.

        1. it’d definately have been interesting to see ferrari’s reaction if that did happen…

    3. I would be complaining a lot more. At McLaren it would have been even more outrageous after having both drivers clearly signed to equal status.

      1. Exactly.

        Of course, it might also be that McLaren would have handled it differently than Ferrari after the race, instead of denying what we all saw and threatening the FIA at the same tim (with their 2007 verdict, they would probably have to be really forthcoming etc.).

        That might have meant less controversy, but it is really due to Ferrari mishandling it, similar to many of their press statements for the first half of the year, which were often weird and confusing.

    4. I’m a McLaren fan (as well as others) but I think it makes racing a joke. I see it as manipulation of WDC. In any 1-2 situation, changing driver order does not benefit the WCC in an fashion. I’m fine with a policy of don’t defend against your teammate too heavily or bring the car home. Just not, we want this guy to win.

      In response to Dutch_Alex’s followup, I still think you have every right to complain. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean that you have no right to complain. Provided you are consistent, I see no problem with it.

  2. I find it quite amusing that a majority want to scrap/relax the blue flag rule but at the same time want the lapped cars to jump out of the way at the safety car restart. Seems to me that it needs to be one or the other, either you fight to get passed cars you are lapping or they need to get out of the way, not both.

    1. You need to view both separately. the question on lapped cars is with the blue flag rule. If there is no blue flag rule, of course the lapped cars stuff wouldn’t be relevant at the sc restart. Even if they choose to relax the blue flag rule, I would still prefer to reorder the cars at the sc restart.
      The problem with today blue flag is that the lapped car is forced to move out of the racing line.. what I want is that the passing car should take whatever line presented by the lapped car. Basically the lapped car have the freedom to choose his line but can’t make a defensive move.

      1. I hate reordering the cars because what I see is drivers who built significant gaps over the competition penalized in the SC as everyone catches up. Having the lapped cars in the way helps them provide a bit of a buffer to help them keep a position they would have earned.

        I realize that my opinion can make for less interesting racing. But that’s due to the fact that there’s such a large performance gap between teams. If the bottom teams were within 2.5 seconds of pole in Q1, I think you’d see better racing overall. Right now, it’s around 4-5 seconds depending on the circuit (I ignored HRT and only sampled 4 circuits). Reduce the dependence on aero grip by increasing mech grip and you should see cars much tighter and this problem might even go away!

        I do like your idea though with blue flag though. If you want to pass a back marker, you have to do it.

  3. It would have been great to see a poll on how the 2010 season fares in entertainment value as compared to the other 10 seasons this decade. I think this season would probably be up there with 2007 and 2008 seasons. And the lowest would be 2002, 2004 and 2009.

    1. Was 2009 worse than 2001 and 2005?

      1. 2001 was pretty bad too.. but it did have some exciting races. I thought 2005 was quite a good season.. the kimi vs fernando battle was quite interesting. Plus it had suzuka 2005, which is probably one of my favourite races.

        2009 was ridiculously boring.. the championship was decided in the first seven races and the pending decision of the double diffuser. 2002 and 2004 were the only two seasons I stopped watching halfway through the season.

        But I guess a poll on these 10 seasons compared to each other on entertainment value would be interesting…

        1. I really enjoyed the 2009 season. It was great to see some different teams and personality’s at the top of the sport rather than the same old guard.

        2. 2001 was alright, the eventual world champion had challengers in almost every race, but none of them were really consistent enough to challenge in the final reckoning. Similar in a way to 1992.

  4. How is the Ferrari team orders a “debate”? Everyone knew it was a **** move, but guess who almost won?

    1. Hundreds of comments were posted, some were for, more were against, sounds like a debate to me…

  5. I’m still floored that a majority imagined Hamilton to have the genius and skill to block a car behind him, by telekenesis, or something, that car was many lengths behind, and still aim get to the safety car line a couple meters before a furiously accelerating supercar. It’s like, people are more willing to believe he has uncanny mandacity than basic poor judgement. He’s like a James Bond villain to some. Hilarious.

    Regarding the blue flags. I have changed my tune after playing a few rounds of the Codemasters game. I’m sick of having my race ruined by having virtually to stop on track to let the leaders dawdle by lest I get slammed with a drive-through for waiting until a convenient point. I think we should rerun the poll since the game has come out.

    Given that many of the polls appear to hinge on whether certain people think other people don’t like Italians, or that the world and all it’s affairs remain under Imperial British boots, we should have a poll on whether the British are too mean to Italians.

    1. I’d rather have two polls. One on what nationality you are (1 vote) and another on what nationalities you dislike (as many as you want). Then we can all be angry at each other.

    2. He’s like a James Bond villain to some. Hilarious.

      lol you should see what people write about Alonso

      I personally think Hamilton was just unsure and hesitated when he saw the SC, but I don’t think it’s inconcievable that he reacted to seeing the SC and saw an opportunity to box Alonso in behind the SC.

      1. I guess Hamilton was just unsure what to do, its not every day that you drive alongside the safetycar .. but if we take rules seriously (everyone wanted that in the Ferrari case and thats okay) we saw Hamilton overtake the safetycar. And I don’t know the rue in F1, but in every other race series I know, overtaking the safetycar isa black flag.

        Before I get killed for this comment, just so you know: I know those incidents aren’t comparable and I don’t know either how I can dare saying something this unfair about Hamilton :-$
        Effectively no penalty at all was certainly a bad decision, but I think this safetycar-mess shows a problem: the safetycar rule is not well thought. Its simply ridiculous that you could go from third place to last place just because you have bad luck hitting the safetycar. That should really be addressed.

      2. I think if you watch it again you will notice that the point at which lewis hesitates is the point at which the safety car slightly crosses the white line (we were told that they were pushing hard to get the safety car out as quickly as possible). I pointed this out at the time but it seemed to be ignored. Could this really just be coincidence that this happened at the exact time lewis decided to hold up Alonso. I don’t think so. Also, if lewis had thought of holding Alonso up, I’m sure he would have made absolutely sure he got past the SC before the line.

  6. What would have been the championship result for 2010 using the 2009 points system? Anyone seen that on line anywhere? Did the 2010 points structure make the results artificially close for entertainment purposes?

      1. Thanks for that.

  7. To be perfectly honest yeah if mclaren had issued team orders the British Media would hush it all up by saying it was the right thing to do. But because Ferrari done it obviously they have to get bad press because they are not British its simple. The British Media the majority of the time such Auto sport and F1 Racing never have anything nice to say about Ferrari. But a mclaren made it onto the podium next thing you know Jenson Button is on the front cover.

    1. I try to treat all the teams as impartially as possible. But we all know that no-one is 100% free of bias. And of course the bigger teams get more attention – that’s inevitable.

      If your problem is with Autosport or F1 Racing then I suggest you bring it up with them.

      But because Ferrari done it obviously they have to get bad press because they are not British its simple.

      Rob Smedley is British, by the way.

      1. Yeah but thats one guy. And BTW I wasn’t directing this at you, you are one of the better guys. Ferrari as a whole is not British Im British and I want to see the real story the theory behind it. Not an article written by Fan-Boy

        1. And BTW I wasn’t directing this at you

          That’s fine, but when you complain about ‘British media’ on a website that’s written by a British person how else do you expect it’s going to be taken?

          1. Yeah I’m sorry. I respect you a lot man. But here you voice your opinion yeah??

            P.S I’m British as well.

  8. I am surprised that the Schumacher penalty for overtaking Alonso at Monaco hasn’t featured here. As far as I remember, that article had run well in excess of 300 comments in very quick time. Wasn’t that a poll Keith?

    I am talking of this article: https://www.racefans.net/2010/05/16/schumacher-handed-20-second-penalty-and-loses-points-finish/.

  9. Keith is doing very good job here to maintain impartiality, but that is my opinion and I am not British.

    1. All this I’m British and I’m not British nonsense is reminding me about is Monty Python Life of Brian.

      “I’m Brian!”
      “No I’m Brian”
      “I’m Brian and so’s my wife!”


      P.S. I’m not human!

      1. So Mike, if you are not Human, you must be an F1 driver, or very close…they are breed of their own i hear…

  10. 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.

    A lot of people don’t seem to be getting this. The proposal for adjustable rear wings makes it pretty clear that they can only be used under certain conditions (from the moment a driver closes within a second of the car in front to the moment he first touches the brakes) rather than whever the driver wants.

  11. I don’t think this site is particularly Anglo-centric but it does seem to be extraordinarily McLaren-centric. Not in your writing Keith but rather the allegiance of the posters. As such I think it’s easy for someone to assume that this is because of the nationality of some of the readers (as Sato113 has alluded to), I believe it can be attributed to that to an extent but even so, I still find it very surprising.

    What I find surprising about this I would ‘assume’ that MOST of the bloggers on this site are too young to have truly been into F1 pre Senna/Prost/Mansell days of the early ’90s. As such I would think that most would have started watching since then, and what have McLaren accomplished in the last 20 years???

    5 x WDCs and 3 x WCCs – that being at the tale end of their 80’s dominance with Senna – so after 1995 – it’s 3 x WDCs and 0 x WCCs. Considering their resources, that a pretty **** poor result. Couple that with fact that their ex-leader (Mr Dennis) is generally thought of as one of the most disliked people on earth by almost everyone who met him. So I’m baffled as to why there’s so many McLaren fans on this site, I would expect more Williams and Renault fans and lately Red Bull ;-)

  12. Nice work Keith to put everything together. What I concluded from all this that many F1F have made the right decision in different pools, but the problem the FIA or the FOM won’t take this things seriously.

  13. I think that if big red had won this season would have been very bad in the media standpoint. But scince Red Bull won and the drama was good. I know there are complaints about lack of passing but I saw Sport and Stock car racing on circuits that F1 are on and they pass fine so maybe it is not the tracks but the F1 cars.

  14. What i like to add on the “Mandatory pit stop” is that: this regulation has to be stopped, and the tire specification has to be changed. why should cars and drivers be disadvantaged by using a tire that is not optimal or at least standard.

    i vote for a standard compound tire that leans more to soft rather than hard giving super extra grip, and will deteriorate on all the tracks within a 20 or so lap blast perhaps faster. this way you don’t need to force people to pit and make things so artificial. let everyone have the same equal Tyre at all times, and make those tires 18 inches so they are road relevant. the only car i can think of that has 13 in rims is a Picanto… how relevant is that?

    and i don’t buy the cost argument on it, they can bring in a tire maker for much less money if he has to make only 3 kinds of tires, inters and wet compounds included. and if they base the tires on 18″ rims, it would be more exciting for the manufacturer as her would be able to sell these tires to other series and for private use as well… I hate the Michelin Bridgestone tire war days, and more so the inner artificially set up tire war within the same manufacturer… i think it takes away from the sport

  15. The season was okay. What was missing was a driver/s who emerged from the rest of the fold. All the contenders are talented. Yet all threw points away by making “driver” mistakes. Nobody did a Prost or Schumacher. Nobody dominated by champion’s will. Fortunately Alonso didn’t win by the “team tactics” extra points. Hopefully next year will bring fewer mistakes and tighten the points amongst the contenders. If you took away all of the “crash” mistakes by the contenders, who would’ve been champion?

Comments are closed.