Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2016

F1 Fanatic’s must-read highlights of 2016

2016 F1 season review

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With 2016 almost behind us, now’s the time to revisit a selection of the best and most popular articles from F1 Fanatic this year.

Favourite features

planet-hamilton
Planet Hamilton: How he criss-crossed the globe
Part-time racer? The facts of Hamilton’s ‘jet-set lifestyle’

Does Lewis Hamilton spend too much time flying around the world to concentrate on his racing? This article from early in 2016 scrutinised just how demanding Hamilton’s schedule out of the cockpit was.

Two rule changes F1 could make to stop Verstappen’s ‘dangerous’ moves

A major theme of 2016 was how Max Verstappen’s rivals became frustrated with his defensive tactics, prompting an examination of what they were objecting to and how the FIA might intervene.

No wonder FOM arranged Baku to clash with Le Mans

Bernie Ecclestone was known to be unhappy that an active F1 driver had participated in the Le Mans 24 Hours last year. So it was little surprise to see 2016’s newest addition to the calendar prevented a repeat.

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Achievement
Achievements unlocked: Nico Rosberg edition coming soon
Achievements unlocked: F1’s ultimate champions revealed

A novel perspective on the 32 drivers who had claimed the championship at the time of writing. Since then we’ve seen the 33rd driver crowned champion, so look out for an update in the new year.

What race attendance figures tell us about the state of F1

Formula One’s television audiences may not be great (see below) but race attendances have been fairly good.

‘Elimination qualifying’ will mean changes but won’t trouble Mercedes

A vain search for a means of clipping Mercedes’ wings led F1 to adopting an ill-conceived new qualifying format. It lasted just two races.

Picture it

2016 and 2017 F1 car designs compared
Big changes are coming for 2017
Side-by-side: How the 2017 rules will change F1 design

Technical insight from Will Tyson into how the cars will look following their 2017 transformation.

McLaren MP4-31: First pictures revealed

F1 Fanatic revealed the first pictures of McLaren’s 2016 racer. It proved to be a substantial step forward for the team after a difficult 2015.

Halo head protection system debuts in testing

One of the most controversial developments of the season involved plans to introduce new head protection systems. The proposal was dropped for 2017 but remains on the cards for 2018.

Wider 2017 F1 tyres seen for the first time

However these much wider tyres are on their way for next year.

Monza plans to tear up first chicane

Monza is evaluating an even quicker layout.

Aston Martin unveils Adrian Newey’s ‘F1 beating’ AM-RB 001

What would a road car look like if it was designed by Red Bull’s Adrian Newey? Wonder no longer – the AM-RB 001 shoult hit the track late next year.

Newsflash

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Sindelfingen, 2016
Rosberg bowed out on top
Rosberg stuns F1 by announcing retirement

One of the biggest news stories to break in F1 for years. Nico Rosberg announced his retirement from Formula One just five days after he won the championship.

Kvyat axed by Red Bull, Verstappen takes his place for Spain

It had already been a seismic year for driver market developments as Red Bull rejigged their line-up just four races into the season.

F1 has lost one-third of its TV audience since 2008

Amid a slew of other more headline-grabbing remarks, Bernie Ecclestone revealed just how bad F1’s viewing figures have become. As a result, this telling detail was widely overlooked.

UK to lose live free-to-air F1 coverage in 2019 with new Sky deal

Despite those plunging numbers F1 is showing no sign of reversing its more to pay television. British viewers will wave goodbye to free-to-air coverage in three years’ time.

Team told me Vettel caused start crash – Ricciardo

Daniil Kvyat’s ejection from Red Bull was set in motion when he triggered a first-lap crash at his home race which caused his team mate’s only non-score of the season. Daniel Ricciardo later revealed his team had avoided letting him know who was really to blame during the race.

Penalty hands Vettel’s third place to Ricciardo

A controversial Mexican Grand Prix saw Max Verstappen stripped of third place before the podium ceremony. Sebastian Vettel went up onto the rostrum in his place but he too collected a sanction, handing third to Ricciardo.

Haas mechanic credited for saving Grosjean’s race

A season-best fifth place for Romain Grosjean wouldn’t have happened had it not been for the actions of one quick-thinking Haas mechanic.

Lowe refused to give Hamilton a second order to speed up

Mercedes’ technical director Paddy Lowe instructed Hamilton to stop holding Rosberg up in Abu Dhabi but refused to repeat the command because he realised it was futile.

F1 to scrap high degradation tyres in 2017 – Pirelli

Formula One’s six-year experiment with ‘designed to degrade’ tyres is over – in theory, at least.

Debates and Polls

The 2016 F1 season in 20 questions

Before the season began more people thought Vettel would win the title than Rosberg. How accurate were your predictions?

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
Mercedes tension peaked in Spain
Hamilton and Rosberg crash: Who was to blame?

The collision between the two Mercedes drivers in Spain split opinion right down the middle.

Who should Mercedes hire to replace Rosberg?

The most coveted seat in Formula One opened up at the beginning of December.

When did F1 last have a grid this good?

Did the 2016 season represent a high in terms of the quality of the driver line-up?

Should the FIA ban the ‘Verstappen block’?

Verstappen’s defensive tactics divided those who felt he’d gone too far from those who praised his tough racing.

Is Rosberg a deserving world champion?

Unreliability was widely seen to have played a role in deciding the 2016 championship.

Which qualifying system should F1 use?

This was a staggeringly one-sided debate. Almost no one wanted to use the new elimination qualifying format.

Was Hamilton right to hold Rosberg up?

Hamilton’s attempt to help his rivals pass Rosberg in Abu Dhabi were viewed by some as being unsporting.

History lesson

Ayrton Senna, Nurburgring, 1984
An early sign of Senna’s brilliance
Watch F1 rookie Ayrton Senna beat ten world champions in identical cars

A gem of a video showing Ayrton Senna and a grid of champions and other F1 aces racing in identical Mercedes on the Nurburgring in 1984.

Why aggregate qualifying was dropped the last time

The elimination qualifying farrago brought to mind a previous experiment with a radical and unpopular format.

1986 British Grand Prix: Mansell wins in Piquet’s car

Thirty years ago another pair of team mates were battling for the championship.

Damon Hill follows his father to F1 title

And twenty years ago another driver emulated his father by winning the title

1976 Brazilian Grand Prix: Lauda begins title defence with victory as Hunt shunts

One of the great championship battles began 40 years ago.

1986 Austrian Grand Prix: Mansell retirement revives Prost’s title chances

The track which is now the Red Bull Ring used to be a beast of a venue. The 1986 race was its penultimate edition before the circuit was overhauled.

Talking points

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2016
Hamilton fuelled the conspiracy theories
Hamilton says “something just doesn’t feel right” after latest engine failure

“Something or someone doesn’t want me to win this year.”

Hamilton defends go-slow tactics

“What am I supposed to do? Sit there and let the dude win the championship?”

Revealed: Your top 100 – and bottom 10 – F1 races

Your verdict on the best races since 2008.

Raikkonen warns Verstappen will cause “a big accident”

“If I wouldn’t have braked I would have hit him full speed on the rear when we are in the full throttle.”

Furious Vettel tells Whiting to “**** off” after Verstappen clash

A livid Vettel laid into F1 race director Charlie Whiting at the end of the Mexican Grand Prix.

Nico Rosberg, Max Verstappen, Hockenheimring, 2016
The stewards penalised Rosberg in Germany
Rosberg given penalty points for forcing Verstappen off

Rosberg didn’t get an easy ride from the stewards on his way to the title. In Germany his driving was deemed at fault…

Rosberg relegated to third after radio penalty

…while at Silverstone he became the first driver to be penalised under the short-lived radio restrictions.

Did Hamilton’s unreliability stop him winning the title?

Hamilton certainly felt he’d been hard done by when it came to mechanical faults.

Recommended reads and more

"Watching the Wheels" - my autobiography by Damon Hill
Damon Hill’s must-read autobiography
An essential read from Damon Hill

This frank and funny account by the 1996 world champion is essential reading.

“Total Competition” by Brawn and Parr reviewed

Ross Brawn’s book, co-written with former Williams head Adam Parr, is indispensable reading for anyone thinking of starting an F1 team.

“What Doesn’t Kill You…”: Herbert’s F1 memoir reviewed

Herbert’s F1 story is packed with amusing anecdotes.

Motorsport Manager: The F1 Fanatic review

Formula One fans hankering after a management sim finally have somewhere to turn.

Your starter for 20

Have you taken our three newest quizzes yet?

Chart toppers

A selection of topical lists from the year just gone:

Race reviews

The final word on all 21 of this year’s races.

Over to you

What are your favourites from 2016 on F1 Fanatic? What would you like to see more of next year?

Have your say in the comments.

2016 F1 season review

Browse all 2016 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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7 comments on “F1 Fanatic’s must-read highlights of 2016”

  1. Will there be overtake of the year and rate the race articles this year?

    1. @lolzerbob Rate the Race has gone up but there wasn’t enough feedback on Overtake of the Year to do a poll unfortunately.

  2. Funny how the majority predicted Hamilton would be champion and Vettel will be the driver to outqualify his teammate most often.

    1. So you think f1fanatic poll jinx it? Let’s vote the same prediction again then..

    2. Yep, so most of the predictions made by f1f members are bogus. Never listen to them :)

  3. I think at this point of the year it is time to thank Keith and everybody involved in F1Fanatic for their great work!
    This is by far my number one website for Formula 1 as I visit it daily and as I (usually) enjoy reading comments under the articles which makes the discussions very lively!

    See you in 2017 F1Fanatic Community and keep up the good work Keith!

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