Your verdict on 2014: The season in polls

2014 F1 season review

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What did F1 Fanatic readers have to say about the big talking points of 2014? Here’s a review of the major debates of the season.

Teams and team mates

Who had the best line-up…

Perhaps not surprisingly, Ferrari’s all-champion line-up of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen was the favoured pairing. But how will this look next year now those two drivers are in different teams – and both alongside another world champion?

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…and who would win?

There were a few surprises in store here as the results of the 2014 team mate battles makes clear.

The biggest shock occurred at Red Bull, where over 90% of us expected Sebastian Vettel to defeat Daniel Ricciardo, only for Ricciardo to conclusively beat the four-times champion over the course of the season.

Over a quarter expected Toro Rosso newcomer Daniil Kvyat put one over Jean-Eric Vergne. While Vergne did out-score his rookie team mate, it was Kvyat who gained promotion to Red Bull while Vergne has lost his place in F1.

Although Felipe Massa had a strong end to the year he ended up well behind Valtteri Bottas, who most people expected would be beaten by his highly experienced new team mate.

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Which is the best-looking car?

While you might struggle to describe this year’s cars as a particularly good-looking bunch – those weird noses put paid to that – the return of the distinctive Martini livery to F1 proved a popular move for Williams.

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The sound of the new engines

The sound of the new V6 turbo hybrid engines provided one of the year’s greatest talking points. Bernie Ecclestone in particular was a vociferous critic of them, insisting that promoters and fans were furious about the reduced noise.

The results of this poll indicated that while it is a cause of concern for some, the majority remain satisfied with how F1 sounds. Feedback from fans who seen and heard the new cars in action supported this view.

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Maldonado’s punishment for flipping Gutierrez over

One of the most startling collisions of the year saw Esteban Gutierrez flipped onto his roll hoop by Pastor Maldonado during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Maldonado was given a ten-second stop-go penalty during the grid, a five-place grid penalty for the next round and three penalty points on his licence – but most wanted to see him punished more severely:

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Rosberg’s Monaco ‘mistake’

Nico Rosberg’s swerve into the run-off area at Mirabeau during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix looked a bit too convenient for some. Particularly his team mate, who was following him at the time and had to back off for the subsequent yellow flags, guaranteeing Rosberg pole position. “That was very good of him,” Hamilton remarked after passing the stationary Mercedes.

Many others shared Hamilton’s suspicions at the time but a slender majority gave Rosberg the benefit of the doubt. It wasn’t the last controversy between the pair, however.

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Standing restarts

The FIA’s plan to introduce standing starts after Safety Car periods was not popular. Over two-thirds of fans opposed it, with the majority strongly against the idea, so they will have been pleased when the idea was dropped before it was used.

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Raikkonen’s Silverstone crash

The British Grand Prix was red-flagged for an hour after a huge crash triggered by Raikkonen which also took Massa out of the race and left Max Chilton fortunate to escape serious injury.

Should Raikkonen have been penalised for the collision, which began when he lost control of the car as he rejoined the track? The question split fans down the middle, though those who felt he shouldn’t have been penalised were more emphatic in their view than those who didn’t.

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Mercedes’ team orders in Hungary

Here’s a poll which produced a very clear result. Well over three-quarters of you felt Mercedes made a mistake by telling Hamilton to let Rosberg past during the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hamilton was instructed to do so on more than one occasion. In one radio message not broadcast at the time he was told “when he gets DRS you can let him past”.

This was a rare example of Mercedes intervening in the contest between their two drivers, who ordinarily used on very similar strategies and were allowed to race each other without interference from the pit wall.

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McLaren’s 2015 drivers

While Alonso’s move to McLaren was rumoured for a long time, the team took weeks to decide who his team mate should be. Fans had a clear preference, however, for retaining Jenson Button and forming another all-champion line-up.

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The final polls of 2014

If you haven’t cast your vote in the final two polls of 2014 you have 48 hours left to do it. Make your choice for Driver of the Year and Pass of the Year here:

2014 F1 season review

Browse all 2014 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...

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59 comments on “Your verdict on 2014: The season in polls”

  1. Surprised to not see Spa mentioned other than as Monaco not being the last controversy between NR and LH. Glad to see a slight majority giving Nico the benefit of the doubt for Monaco.

    Interestingly with the team orders at Hungary LH initially agreed, but was not going to actually slow to help Nico get by, which most would agree with LH, including myself. But we’ve seen drivers on different strategies follow through on team decisions like these before so I don’t think anyone should be shocked that the team asked LH to do this. I thnk it is in hindsight after the race played out that people then decided it was unfair to ask LH to do that, but at the time even he agreed. Hindsight should not be used to question why the team made the decision when they did. It was pretty normal stuff and LH would not have made a pass difficult for NR if only he had had a bit more pace for those few crucial (for him) laps.

    Glad about Button…love the Williams look…was all for standing restarts…fine with the new sound.

    1. @robbie I agree with you, Spa incident was one of the hottest topic on Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry

    2. If another team had been challenging Mercedes for the titles I would agree with team mates not slowing each other down, but Merc failed to appreciate in reasonable time the fact that they were the only team in it, so should have realised how unfair to ask a driver who had started from the back to compromise his own race in favour of pole sitter Nico. Who were they afraid and panicking over? In any case Nico failed to get into the DRS zone so it was only his lack of skill that ultimately let him down. He also failed to pass a Torro Rosso for lap after lap, holding Lewis back and opted to pit instead but Lewis subsequently dispatched the Torro Rosso with ease. So to most other people there was no controversy there but rather Nico’s poor race craft.

      1. Mercedes could’ve won that race with either car. Had Nico not allowed to let himself get overtaken by JeV in his blow dryer powered Torro Rosso and then spent the subsequent 10+ laps stuck behind him, then I doubt the team would’ve needed to issue those orders.

        In Lewis’s case, he had a full compliment of brand new option tyres available to him, so why stuck him on 2 stop strategy on the prime tyres? The safety car that early in the race, brought him right back into play. Had they pitted after Nico’s 2nd stop, they would’ve both gotten pass Alonso and had an easy run at Ricciardo.

        Nico screwed his own race and Mercedes threw away the chance of the win with a bad strategy call with Lewis.

      2. @blackmamba Conversly though, and again without the convenience of hindsight, Nico had the race under control and got screwed by the timing of the safety car and lost his rhythm. He was then put on a different strategy so my point is that it was normal for them to ask LH to not make it difficult for NR. People cry no fair to ask LH what they did, but it would have been more unfair to put Nico on a different strategy and then not ask LH to respect that. And LH did respect it briefly until he realized Nico was not right on him such that he could let Nico go without compromising his own race. So I’ve agreed all along that Nico didn’t do enough, but unlike many I feel for him that he was thrown off what was looking to be a race winning day, ie. he didn’t suddenly forget how to race…he just was never as comfortable in the car after the safety car.

        1. @robbie Rosberg knew that his strategy would require him to make passing manoeuvres on track, and with his failures earlier maybe he should have chosen different option or different window. Team can not put you on a strategy you are not comfortable with without your consent. We have seen Lewis go against team orders in races this year to then be proved right in the end because of his superior race awareness to Nico’s. This one was all on Nico I’m afraid.

  2. I’m surprised half of voters thought Kimi should have had a penalty. I see it as entirely a mistake by the circuit to have a runoff that has a route back onto the track with a ditch across it.

    I know Will Buxton blamed Kimi for not doing a track walk that would have told him about it, but it seems basic to me that if the circuit has a runoff there should be a clear and unmistakable safe way out of it. After all it’s there so cars can use it. Smooth and tempting.

    Sometimes I think Charlie is just not bright enough for his job. He approves this, Canada as enjoyed by Rosberg, Sochi T2, the barrier in Brazil that Webber hit so square… and I still blame him for the cranes-in-the-runoff madness that finally – inevitably – caught up with Bianchi.

    1. Charlie Whiting isn’t responsible for the design of the track, nor its equipment. He is the Race Director; his responsibilities cover safely running all active track sessions, that is all.

      If you want to blame anyone for the (perceived) poor track designs and safety precautions, blame the FIA scrutineers that certify the circuits for F1-standard racing.

      1. Charlie is not just Race Director, he’s also the Safety Delegate and head of the F1 Technical Department. He’s the guy who approves the tracks. The one whose job it is to identify risks. Who gets flown out to look at new tracks and decide if they meet FIA standards.

        For example

        International Automobile Federation (FIA) technical head Charlie Whiting, who conducts a detailed inspection of all new circuits, visited the Black Sea resort on Tuesday and said he was impressed by what he had seen.

        “The circuit is in extremely good condition and – yes – it will be issued with a licence,” local organisers quoted the Briton as saying in a statement on Wednesday.

        “Everything has been done according to the plans – the kerbs are very good, the verges, the guardrails, the walls – everything is in an extremely good condition.

        Safety wisdom is supposed to accumulate with him.

        1. At no point does that article either confirm or deny Charlie has to sign off the new track. And even if he does, he’s not going to be the only one to make that call; there will be a whole team of track inspectors, [i]all[/i] of which will have to sign the track off themselves.

          1. @raceprouk It makes it perfectly clear.

            Exactly how many signatures are you claiming? Link please ;)

          2. No it doesn’t make it clear. All it does is say ‘Charlie said it’ll get a license’. It doesn’t say who signed off the license, only that Charlie knows it’ll be getting one. Yes, he could be the one making the final decision. Equally, he could simply be the guy answering questions from the media, based on a crib sheet he was given before the interview/conference/whatever.

        2. You are quibbling desperately @raceprouk. You confidently asserted

          Charlie Whiting isn’t responsible for the design of the track, nor its equipment. He is the Race Director; his responsibilities cover safely running all active track sessions, that is all.

          but as my link shows he is the FIA Safety Delegate and head of the F1 Technical Department. He inspects tracks – ‘conducts a detailed inspection of all new circuits’ as I quoted. It says ‘his inspection’.

          It’s true the circuit itself should be making sure the natural exit from a runoff is safe, but so should Whiting. There’s a lot of other things he should have done too, including intervening with the badly designed Interlagos barrier that Webber hit.

          Kimi is a racing driver. He will look for the fastest way, not the safest. Whiting’s job is to take that into account, but IMO he’s not up to it.

          1. Exactly: he conducts an inspection, not the inspection.

            Either find something that confirms Whiting’s word is final, or accept I have a valid point.

        3. Try this @raceprouk

          The FIA’s F1 race director Charlie Whiting has confirmed that Russia’s new Sochi Autodrom is ready to host its first Grand Prix later this year.

          The announcement follows a detailed evaluation of the circuit and the venue itself, built on the site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, by an FIA delegation led by Whiting.

          1. Finally! Proof! Which is all I was asking for.

            Pity you didn’t post it earlier; would have saved all this fluff :P

          2. Lol @raceprouk, pity you confidently asserted that misinformation :P

            So anyway it was Whiting’s fault, not Kimi’s :)

          3. It was Whiting’s fault Kimi drove over a ditch?
            Was Whiting in the car at the time? Did he get on the radio and tell Kimi to drive over the ditch? Was Whiting in anyway involved in Kimi’s decision making?
            The answers are obvious: No, No, and No.
            It was Kimi’s decision to drive over the grass at that point, and in doing so he caused an accident. He had the option to rejoin safely, and he decided not to.

            No matter what Whiting is responsible for, the facts are clear: Kimi made a bad choice, and caused a serious accident because of it.

            Oh, and by the way, when I’m proved right, I don’t go smashing that fact into people’s faces.

          4. Oh dear @raceprouk, I though you were posting in good humour. Well when I’m shown that I made a mistake I try to acknowledge it straight away, honestly and with a bit of grace. Nobody has to raise the temperature battling with a lot of obfuscation.

          5. Obfuscation? No, not even close. You are attempting to absolve Kimi, a driver of the responsibility of driving; all I’m doing is calling you out on it. That, and your cocky attitude.

          6. @raceprouk normally :P is used in a friendly way, and I misinterpreted your post 6 up as humour of the absurd, so I was going along with it, is all. BTW you came in with a flat contradiction of what I posted about Charlie Whiting, not about Kimi.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        22nd December 2014, 14:42

        The problem is that when they do design tracks to be safer, people say they are boring.

        Everyone loves Eu Rouge but a big part of that is because of the risk is poses. People love all of the older tracks and complain loudly when changes are made in the name of safety!

        1. @petebaldwin Who would complain when a ditch is removed (what did it add to the entertainment? A flying car that crashed and invited a very exciting red flag?)?

          Regarding the other tracks mentioned, I guess you’ve got a point.

      3. @raceprouk

        blame the FIA scrutineers

        Of which Charlie is a member, according to @lockup

    2. charlie is not to be blamed, run-off areas are fine, accident did not happen coz he went-off, it happened coz of the way he joined with full pace and even commentators knew that part of the track is not even and edges are slightly elevated, drivers should have known kimi probably had momentary lapse, he did have quite a few lapses this year so.

    3. uh? really? a driver who leaves the track must re join in a safe manner. Kimi caused a massive accident, caused the retirement of other drivers and caused a red flag. Does that sound safe?

      1. @snowman-john A ditch on an approved-for-F1 run-off doesn’t sound safe.

    4. The ditch isn’t across the route back onto the circuit. Raikkonen missed that and went over the grass (where the ditch was).

      1. @neilosjames Kimi demonstrated what Charlie should have known – that the runoff is shaped so the natural exit is where the back wall ends. They may have made some other exit, but that’s no use if it’s in the wrong place.

        @f1007 It was impossible for the commentators to say anything about it before Kimi was airborne, then they’re being smart after the event, in their studio.

        Safety is not supposed to rely on people remembering things, it’s supposed to protect people from themselves, especially when they’re racing drivers and don’t care.

        The safe, prepared and marked exit should have been where the back wall of the runoff returns to the track. It’s Charlie’s job to understand these things, but he doesn’t.

    5. It didnt look like Raikkonen slowed down though. He was on the gas through the run off, through the ditch, and probably while he tried to hold the rear. He hit the barrier at a VERY high speed, which meants he barely slowed down.

    6. You learn from mistakes. It is an inherently dangerous sport. With the speeds, cornering and braking abilities he is doing a fantastic job. 2 decades of relative non life threatening driver crashes is absolutely incredible. Pointing fingers isn’t the way to go about it. There were many contributing factors.

  3. @keithcollantine I’m a bit surprised you said:

    the majority remain satisfied with how F1 sounds.

    when clearly you made the assumption that “average” gets to be counted together with the good and very good groups. I see it differently, as to me “average” is not good enough for F1. So my surprise comes from this episode (the 1st I’ve ever noticed on your site) where you apparently treat data to make them close to your opinion, when clearly they may not. I don’t mean with this to be rude, just pointing out this time it looks like you have abandoned your usual and well-balanced impartiality. sorry for my english.

    1. ‘Average’ is a bit of a vague term anyway, as it can mean both good and bad. Sometimes simultaneously.

    2. @alfa145 No I’m not counting ‘average’ among those who view the engines positively (or negatively). 47.8% described them as ‘very good’ or ‘good’ and they constitute the “majority” (the greater number or part) compared to the 30.1% who described them as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.

      1. We’ll need a coalition opinion to be formed to create a majority! @keithcollantine

    3. @alfa145 As Dave says it really depends on how you read it. For example you could say ‘satisfactory’ and ‘average’ are interchangeable, which would obviously tally with Keith’s conclusion. The way you read it is also acceptable of course, it’s more of a problem of how the question was written than Keith’s reading of the results in my opinion.

  4. I can’t believe so many people believed Rosberg would beat Hamilton. I never saw the evidence from junior series to F1 to suggest that Rosberg would suddenly leapfrog ahead. Or did people really buy the theory about him being the thinking type,the technically savvy one, the more cerebral, the one easier on the tyres, more frugal on fuel. I know. I’m just glad every single myth has been debunked during the course of the season, because knowing how things work doesn’t necessarily mean you can work them.

    1. Yup, too many people got caught up in the hype of Rosberg being the so-called cerebral and calculating one and Hamilton being the aggressive, dense one. Hilarious how Hamilton changing his steering buttons was used as evidence to support all that conjecture.

    2. Yes, next year will be Rosberg’s last chance at a WDC, and even then it is a very slim chance. After that he should be relegated to the mid-pack.

    3. Someone forgot to tell them that F1 is not like sitting in a classroom taking a test.

      Have a read of this piece by Will Buxton. This is the first Ibe seen written by anyone in F1, that really describes who and what Lewis is. I know all the drivers on the grid are passionate about the sport, but I don’t think none or more passionate than Lewis. He’d still go flat out and enjoy the heck out of it, even if he was racing in the soapbox derby, the guy lives to race!…

    4. Nobody seems to have expected Hamilton to be lighter on fuel at the beginning of the season, that was quite funny.

    5. @blackmamba First of all, I would have thought most people would have bet on LH, not NR, at the start of the season. Of course Nico has his fans who are going to back him, but do you really believe people actually thought NR was going to ‘leap frog’ him? I think even his fans knew it was going to be a challenge for Nico.

      If anything what I can’t believe is the number of people running Nico into the ground when this was his first and only year so far with WDC capable equipment. So of course there is little evidence of Nico beating Lewis.

      Let’s give the lad the time and patience that Hamilton fans have had to have, given that he lost WDCs that were his to lose, barely eked out the first one, and had the best car by a landslide for the second one. I’m willing to bet that Nico will have learned a ton from 2014. Let’s see how he does in 2015. Then 2106 etc.

  5. I got “Teams and team mates” right, It think all of the intra-team battles and I voted Mercedes for the best line-up. I got wrong the McLaren line-up! Which one was more obvious? I went Vandoorne… Nice graphs.

  6. Many horrible car noses in 2014. Glad the Lotus “camel toe” will be gone. Hopefully the “kilroy was here” style of McLaren, Force India etc. will be gone too.

    1. @henryshakespeare
      I love how ‘no opinion’ beat Toro Rosso’s car in that poll!

  7. I don’t think Massa got overwhelmed by his teammate Bottas. Bottas did a better job but also did not lose out on vital occasions like Melbourne, Hockenheim and Silverstone to score very good indeed.

    1. Hockenheim was all Massa. Didnt Kobayashi avoid Raikkonen through the grass and Massa hit him on the road?

      1. Yeah, yeah. Massa should also have avoided Kobayashi in Melbourne………

  8. I’m sorry, but the best looking car on the grid was the Redbull followed by the Merces. I think people voted Williams because of the return of the Martini livery.

    1. I agree on both points. I actually thought the RB10 was one of the most beautiful cars in recent years. Not sure about the Mercs though..

      1. Next season all the cars will have a Merc or Ferrari nose solution.

    2. I think it depends on what you’re looking for when you’re judging a car’s appearance. I pay more attention to livery than the car’s shape (hence why my judgement of the 2006-13 McLarens was uniformly negative) and so I liked the Williams this year, but I can see why people might have been turned off by its nose. If car shape is more important to you then you might prefer the Red Bull, but I’ve always found its livery bland and uninspiring.

    3. I not only look at livery but car shape as well so i think that the Red Bull looked the best this season.
      The Merc certainly had a good shape but their livery is pretty plain.
      I like the look of the Ferrari except the nose looks like it was added as an afterthought.
      Uggh and those horrible and somewhat Phallic looking noses on the likes of the Williams…..

  9. The poll on the new engines was one of the very few F1 Fanatic polls that I skipped. I did not want to be an Ecclestone so I wanted to hear the “power units” myself, at the circuit, before judging them. After hearing them at Hockenheimring, I would probably call the sound “average”. I still believe that the complaints are strongly exaggerated but perhaps those, who are saying that these engines do not belong to F1, have a point.

  10. My suggestion Keith is, can you please redo the pool on “The new F1 engines sound…”? I am curious to know if it would be the same result. This is something that should have been done towards the end of the season anyway so that people have had time to properly reflect on this change.

  11. Am I the only one who prefers Williams codemasters livery rather than the Martini one??

    1. I would imagine so, seeing as it removes the vital streak of vivid colour which completes what is already an under-stated livery, as well as taking away the great historical element.

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