What F1 Fanatics thought of 2012: The year in polls

2012 F1 season review

Posted on

| Written by

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?

Winner: McLaren MP4-27 (57% of the vote)

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’?

Winner: No (55%)

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’ 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%.

Who should Ferrari replace Massa with?

Winner: Sergio Perez (28%)

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.

TeamYou pickedResult
Red BullSebastian Vettel (89%)Vettel beat Mark Webber 281 to 179
McLarenLewis Hamilton (52%)Hamilton beat Jenson Button 190 to 188
FerrariFernando Alonso (96%)Alonso beat Felipe Massa 278 to 122
MercedesNico Rosberg (64%)Rosberg beat Michael Schumacher 93 to 49
LotusKimi Raikkonen (91%)Raikkonen beat Romain Grosjean 207 to 96
Force IndiaPaul di Resta (60%)Nico Hulkenberg beat Di Resta 63 to 46
SauberKamui Kobayashi (58%)Sergio Perez beat Kobayashi 66 to 60
Toro RossoDaniel Ricciardo (74%)Jean-Eric Vergne beat Ricciardo 16 to 10
WilliamsBruno Senna (72%)Pastor Maldonado beat Senna 45 to 31
CaterhamHeikki Kovalainen (83%)Vitaly Petrov beat Kovalainen with a best finish of 11th
HRTPedro de la Rosa (86%)Narain Karthikeyan beat de la Rosa with one 15th place to none)
MarussiaTimo 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:

2012 F1 season review

Browse all 2012 F1 season review articles

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.

31 comments on “What F1 Fanatics thought of 2012: The year in polls”

  1. What interests me about the team-mates battle is that for the top 5 five teams the points total neatly reflects the results ie the McLaren poll was very tight and so it proved.

    Another thing I found extremely interesting was the view on Pirelli tyres. I think that the conservative tyres brought to the races later in the year negatively affected the racing but when the poll was taken I thought the tyres were a bit too extreme. I love this new era racing but the combination of the teams learning and Pirelli taking a new approach was probably the wrong route to go down. They should have left them as they were at the start of the year imo.

    1. Same here, great to see the correlation between the poll and the ranking for the top 5 teams. Also surprised to see the poll were wrong for every other team and in the same order : more difference in poll lead to more difference in their result the opposite way (in % of each other)

      For the bottom 3, that’s more luck based as they usually score their best result when they can stay on track without any reliability issue during a GP with lots of DNF or a chaotic GP. Difficult to rate those drivers on their best finish only.

      Would be fun to run another poll for “Who would you promote to a big team ?” (to reflect the who to replaace Massa) … not sure at all we would see Perez ahead. Hulk would most certainly appear in the top 3 choices considering his great end of season. Now we can have the question about top teams deciding their line up to early in the season ? I still feel like McLaren is playing at the lottery with Perez …

  2. Personally I thought there was no case for the Red Bull’s “illegal” floor: the car was scrutinised three times (in Bahrain, Spain and Monaco) with the hole and deemed fit to race three times. I can fully understand the rule clarification that followed and have no issues with such but if the car was legal when it started the race it was legal when it finished, so no points should have been deducted (and rightly so they weren’t).

    1. The fact that nearly half of the people who voted in the poll disagree with me just serves to highlight the dislike for the way in which Red Bull push the boundaries.

      1. @vettel1 I agree with you. People still haven’t come round to believe that Red Bull are an unstoppable force right now. Most of these guys live in the old-school Ferrari-n-McLaren world, but whereas the former have failed to develop a good car, the latter haven’t even come close to realising their potential with their glaring operational errors. I hope Red Bull wins a few more titles just to shut these guys up.

    2. I’m no fan of RedBull but have to reckon they use the rules at best amongst teams, and it’s what is needed at that level. If you can find a tweak in rules, something you can do which was not meant to happen but that the rules don’t clearly forbid, just go for it ans that was the case for this floor. Actually there is nothing wrong with the floor, and I’m not sure any other team really believe it’s illegal, but they have to protest to have it ban to have RedBull stepping back … That’s how formula1 works and should work. It’s no more illegal that the DDRS from mercedes and we could find a bunch of other examples.

      1. @jeanrien – exactly, which is why it is all the more surprising to me that 43% of voters believed points should’ve been deducted. It’s almost as if people were trying to justify someone getting penalised for breaking a law that didn’t (at the time) exist. Seems rather silly to me.

    3. Michael Brown (@)
      31st December 2012, 19:10

      If Red Bull lost points for their floor because it is illegal after they raced with it, then by that standard McLaren would have to lose all their points from 2010 because the F-Duct is illegal now.

      1. @lite992 exactly! For example, if the blown diffuser had been banned at Silverstone in 2011 should Red Bull have lost all their points, along with half the grid? From my perspective, absolutely not!

  3. The team mate battles is very interesting to watch. We all very clearly were wrong about atleast three teams – Force India, Sauber, Williams.

    1. Which reflects that 11 months ago, ahead of the 2012 season, we overestimated Di Resta, Kobayashi and Senna while underrating Hulkenburg, Perez and Maldonado.

  4. Narain Karthikeyan beat de la Rosa with one 15th place to none)

    This has got to be the biggest joke of all time.

  5. I had chosen Perez over Kobayashi :)

  6. I just went through my old comments. I was very certain that Maldonado would trump Senna and Hulk will lose out to Di Resta. Was right about one, completely wrong about the other.

  7. Michael Brown (@)
    31st December 2012, 14:11

    Personally I like the Sauber livery the best

  8. 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.

    This is a rather selective series of races considering I know where you stand on this debate Keith. How about ones on a decent circuit, such as the USGP? Bit dissapointed with this argument.

    1. @john-h – I agree with Keith. Pirelli chose conservative tyres to avoid influencing the championship and so consequently (with the exception of Austin because of the new track surface) the tyres had little influence in the excitement of the racing (which perhaps means they achieved their objective).

      1. @vettel Fair enough, I think that is the majority view on this one.

        the tyres had little influence in the excitement of the racing (which perhaps means they achieved their objective)

        In my opinion, the tyres meant that Vettel and Hamilton could actually do battle, Vettel actually coming back at Hamilton after the DRS (let’s not go there here) pass. It wasn’t a case of one of them having their tyres going off after pushing for 10 laps.

        I don’t believe in rock solid Bridgestones, but neither do I believe in overly sensitive ones that can be ‘unlocked’ only in certain conditions and that wear out after ten laps unless drivers lap to delta times agreed in advance by the teams in free practice.

        A happy medium was found at the end of the year, ok the track surface at the USGP was slippy and that made a big difference, but the Abu Dhabi race was pretty exciting and didn’t have us talking all the time about tyres during F1F live.

        Don’t worry though, 2013 will see the return of the ‘aggressive’ tyre that so many crave.

        No DRS. Less aero replaced with more mechanical grip (wider tyres). Tyre wear somewhere in-between Pirelli vs Bridgestone. That would be fine with me.

        1. @john-h I’d prefer to have more than one-stop races personally to allow for varied strategies as I quite like the strategic element in races but I respect that you may prefer to have more emphasis placed on drivers pushing as hard as they can.

    2. @john-h

      How about ones on a decent circuit, such as the USGP?

      The total lack of grip at the circuit seemed to have more to do with why we got an exciting race.

      1. Happy new year @keithcollantine ! Yes I agree, that was the major factor in making a good race, but we have had many dusty circuits in the past that haven’t led to great battles for the lead. I guess my point about the harder compounds in that race was that it led to Vettel and Hamilton both pushing hard for the last 20 laps – using all of the track which was exciting… not driving to lap deltas to preserve their tyres to avoid them going off the cliff Kimi style.

        I agree with you that the art of tyre conservation is something that should be in the mix, we shouldn’t go back to the Bridgestone days of course, but neither do I personally like tyres that lead to the random results we saw in early 2012.

        Perhaps this isn’t the majority view, but it doesn’t really matter anyway as 2013 will bring back the random F1 so many seem to enjoy.

        Best wishes for 2013!

  9. Should have included this epic intro for Formula 1 Grand Prix in the games poll. :)

    Needless to say, I think Geoff Crammond’s series are by far the best. I used to do textures for the mods, but only because I was already a die-hard fan. :)

    The depth of analysis you receive after each session is amazing. I remember being deeply annoyed and disappointed by the lack of any depth in Codemasters F12010 (hence didn’t even try two sequels yet). You are just forced so fast through all the shallow info that it feels like playing an arcade on a flipper or something. You just get finishing positions, fastest lap, championship table and that’s it. You can even compare your fastest lap to other drivers and you can’t return to classifications after you have moved on to the next screen. In GP4 you had all the delicious info to really see how the race panned out and depth of telemetry that is simply non-existent in F12010. Not to mention, depth of a car set-up was greater in GP2 in 1996 then it is in F12010 in 2010. You could argue that F12010 depth of setup is quite enough even for an F1 sim fan and that’s one thing that I could live without, although it would have been nice to have an option to go into an advanced level to be able to do more fine tunning if you want to.

    And don’t even get me started with saving game. Why the hell can’t I save the game when I want to? It’s totally like playing some arcade on a console. Oh, wait, but that’s what it actually is!

    I must commend Codemasters for visually beautiful (even though painfully shallow and barren) design of the menus and HUD. Also, cars look awesome as well, but it seem that they’ve spent more time on gimmicky stuff like getting drivers faces accurate, then getting the more meaningful aspects accurate. It’s a nice touch to have them all there, but it’s a gimmick. I don’t give a two damn about press conference room where I can’t give a real answer, but I have to chose between 3, of which you know exactly which one to chose each time.

    Career mode is nice touch but it needs to be more sim and less arcade-ish. I win a championship in my first season while driving Sauber on hardest AI difficulty. That’s just a bit too much. I don’t even have a wheel.

    Oh and one more thing for the end. You can’t jump the start in F12010. What the hell is that?!? There’s no element of making amazing start or jumping the start by one hundredth of a second.

    I haven’t played 2011 or 2012 obviously, but I was really deflated after trying out 2010 for the first time. I do play it from time to time, since it’s the only series at the moment, but I’m not really a fan.
    Too weak.

  10. On a different subject, I can’t believe that someone like Keith would suggest a daft alternative to gearbox grid-drop, like docking only CC points.

    Should driver be awarded any points after the race, since he has no control over making his car?
    Do you have a perfect formula to determine how good each driver performed, disregarding the car, because that’s the only thing that he has a control over?
    NO, you don’t!

    Daft, knee-jerk reactions really rub me the wrong way.

    The only alternative I see, perhaps because I do NOT know enough about the engineering of an F1 car, is to have a limited number of gearboxes that can be shuffled like engines.

    The one rule I would like to see abolished is the two tire compounds per race rule. It only ruins any potential strategy alternatives, instead of opening them.

  11. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    31st December 2012, 19:34

    About the “rotation” of F1 venues, what would be interesting is, from time to time, go backwards in some races – I don’t know if all the tracks are specially designed to be raced in only one way (let’s say for example Brazil, would have a really hard entrance to the pits and a dangerous exit) or if some allow going backwards.

    1. @omarr-pepper – I believe that would be out of the question for the majority of the old circuits (like Brazil as you’ve said) but you never know it could spice up some of the boring Tilkedromes with their many, many miles of Tarmac run-off. I believe an interesting one though would be Monaco – after all it doesn’t really have any run-off now anyway so they’d just have to relocate the impact absorbing barriers.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        31st December 2012, 20:12

        There are gaps in the barriers for the marshals that are designed for one direction for the track; in the opposite direction a car could enter this gap. Also, the runoff would be in the wrong places in a backwards configuration. I drove Spa in reverse in GRID and Eau Rouge backwards is much better than forwards.

        1. @lite992

          there are gaps in the barriers for the marshals that are designed for one direction for the track; in the opposite direction a car would enter this gap

          That is fairly easily remedied: in tracks like Monaco of course the barriers aren’t a permanent feature. The run-off is the main issue I would say: of course what may once have been an heavy acceleration zone could become a heavy braking zone (which is a major problem if you were to have brake failure).

        2. I drove Spa in reverse in GRID and Eau Rouge backwards is much better than forwards.

          @lite992 if you want to see a Formula One car going backwards through Eau Rouge, have a look at this video at about 9:03:-


  12. Happy New Year Keith!

    Your polls have been both interesting and revealing. A great insight into the cross section of your readers.

    A terrific year of reading, photographs and information.

    Thank you.

  13. Happy new year to everyone..! Of course I have my opinion about things in F1,as every F1 fanatic has. But a documentary I saw,brought back my romantic point of view. “It was necessary to pass this exam. We were forced to experience a pressure of 2.5 to 5 G for 30 seconds(!),but none was prepared for this..! When the engines fired up,we experienced 2.5 to 5 G, for 3 minutes!!! We could see absolutely nothing in the monitors and we were sure that we were going to die…!” (Astronaut quote,for his experience)! …Now every racer in F1, who passes the finish line (even last),looks like a hero to me again,after a lot of years… Greetings to all of you and please be safe.

Comments are closed.