Jenson Button, McLaren, Interlagos, 2016

Your favourite F1 drivers and teams of 2016

2016 F1 season review

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Jenson Button bows out of Formula One as the second-most popular driver among F1 Fanatic readers, many of which will no doubt be hoping to see him return in 2017.

And while Kimi Raikkonen remains your most-liked driver for a fourth year running there are signs a new generation of racing talent is winning favour. In particular the Red Bull pair, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, are rapidly gaining favour.

Bernie Ecclestone has repeatedly stated that Nico Rosberg has less value to F1 as a world champion than the likes of super-popular drivers such as Lewis Hamilton. And for whatever reason, Rosberg never seems to have struck a deep chord with many F1 Fanatic readers.

Even in his championship-winning year he actually slipped a place in the popularity chart. However it bears pointing out this didn’t stop him topping the Driver of the Weekend poll more often than his team mate did.

The chart below shows how all the drivers in this year’s championship placed among the most popular drivers over the last five years, including the full top tens for each of those seasons.

Despite McLaren’s long spell in the wilderness they remain overwhelmingly the most popular team among F1 Fanatic readers. The past season saw Force India overhaul Sauber for sixth place:

Show your support

Which drivers and teams will you be supporting in 2017? Will newcomers Lance Stroll or Stoffel Vandoorne have your backing?

Here’s how you can show your support for them and all the other drivers on the grid on F1 Fanatic:

  • Log in with your F1 Fanatic account (sign up here if you don’t have one)
  • Select Edit My Profile from the top-right menu
  • Select F1 Teams and Drivers
  • Make your selections then click Save Changes

2016 F1 season review

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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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  • 48 comments on “Your favourite F1 drivers and teams of 2016”

    1. I will continue to support mainly Mercedes and Hamilton. Hope Bottas will join him – it will be a nice fight. And we will have a Fin in a race winning car (lol – Ferrari joke).

      Now one question for all you F1 Fanatics out there. Can anybody explain to me, how, in a time were everything ends up on the Internet, were Russians hack Americans, it is possible that we don’t have, even a glimpse of the new cars before they are official revealed?

      A smartphone quick pic, I’m not asking for the schematics, just a quick look….

      Do we have to ask Putin to arrange that (LOL)?

      A happy new year to all F1 Fanatics! ;)

      1. @win7golf, probably because, right now, most of the cars haven’t yet been assembled – the teams are mostly going through the process of completing the necessary crash tests now, so most of the components they will have produced already will have probably been tested to destruction for that purpose.

        I believe that it typically takes around 4-6 weeks for a new chassis to be built up so, assuming that most teams have just passed their crash tests in the past few weeks, they are probably just beginning to manufacture the chassis that their drivers will use for the 2017 season (with the crash test chassis, provided that it hasn’t been damaged in the process, being kept as a spare chassis).

        In short, the reason why you’re not seeing anything now is because there probably is very little to see (mostly front and side crash structures, with most of the bodywork still being developed and in production at the moment).

      2. Because the F1 teams are much, much better about security than political parties.

        Also, isolated networks, locations that aren’t allowed cellphones, and heavily compartmented design / testing teams (you would think the 60% scale models would be leaked by now, but apparently the teams are pretty good at keeping the information confidential.

      3. Do not share this with other people.. It’s the new Mercedes who will drive in front on several occasions next year.

    2. A tough year for Kyvat fans… I’m surprised that VET has more fans than RIC… Looking at the threads this year, you’d certainly think it was the other way around… The biggest surprise to me is Kimi supporters though… He is well beyond his hay day, and is clearly playing support to VET at Ferrari. Bwoar Kimi fans must like a rebel :P

      1. If you have the rebel in mind I think you do, then it’s probably best explained by how different their rebellion is… Kimi would hardly ever talk publicly like this other rebel or with that lack of respect in and occasionally off track

      2. Kimi is a talented driver who doesn’t seem to covet the trappings of celebrity. He doesn’t suffer fools. He’s got the 1000 yard stare down cold. What’s not to like? :)

        1. Kimi is a monosyllabic introvert. How anyone can relate to that I’ll never know. Bet Ecclestone thanks his lucky stars that his talent has waned to the point that he is no longer a realistic prospect of WDC.

      3. If Kimi is past is hay day then its bad news for Vettel fans. He was beaten 11-10 by Kimi in qualifying as everyone knows.
        Vettel is heralded as the one lap specialist like hamilton while Kimi on the other hand was the most inconsistent qualifier driving a Ferrari in the last 3 year, but he has made massive strides with his team of engineers. I read somewhere Damon Hill saying that Kimi has always had trouble setting up the car. Dont know how he came to that conclusion.
        But anyone saying “Its not Kimi upping his game, rather it was Vettel underperforming” are wrong. WHY?
        Because if we look at the quali stats last year, Vettel used to line up 3rd on the grid more often than not. Kimi was sometimes beaten by the Williams (Russia, China, Japan, Brazil), other times the Toro Rossos (Spain), and sometimes RedBulls (Monaco). On good days he lined up just behind his teammate. This year he was not only beating Vettel but also beating the faster RedBulls of Verstappen and Ricciardo (Brazil, Japan, Abu Dhabi).If Kimi was on a similar level to last year, there’s no way he could’ve beaten two of the strongest drivers on the grid. The push-rod has given that last bit of confidence that allows a driver to push the car to the limit of its capabilities. Hope that makes some sense.

        1. The 2016 Ferrari suited Raikkonen more than Vettel. Same thing that happened at Red Bull in 2014. One of Mercedes’s strengths over the past 4 years has been that both their drivers like cars with the same characteristics– so if you set it up for Hamilton, Rosberg is happy, and vice versa.

      4. Kimi for President !!

        1. Anything better than one with a ‘domineering, exploitative, unstable and superficially charismatic personality type’.
          (Almost BE; but I rate him ‘stable’.)
          @tychop

        2. That would be an improvement.

      5. Bwoar Kimi fans must like a rebel :P

        Never understood the popularity of this Kimi creature. Without any doubt the dullest and most boring entity I’ve ever seen driving a F1 car.

        1. To add to that, hasn’t Raikkonen become the type of modern-day driver many people despise so much? He hardly ever talks, and if he does, he mumbles some cliches. Always rigidly sticks to whatever company line he’s serving. His most used phrase seems to be ‘Let’s wait and see’.

          If you choose your favorite driver because ‘he’s exciting to watch on track’, then Raikkonen hasn’t been the obvious choice for a long time. Sure, in his early days he was a very interesting racer to follow, but ever since he ran out of tyres in the last laps of that Bahrain GP (2011 ??) he has been very defensive and conservative in his approach. He could have won more races in his Lotus days, had he taken a little bit more risk.

          If you choose your favorite driver because ‘he seems nice to hang out with’, then you must be a sucker for long uncomfortable silences.

    3. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      30th December 2016, 13:39

      For me, Hamilton has been the outstanding talent in motorsport in recent times, he has provided most of the interest in F1 for the last decade. More recently Ricciardo has caught my attention, but I’ve never really seen him as surpassing Hamilton. But just last season Verstappen shook up the sport more than any driver since Hamilton’s 2007 debut – he is F1’s next superstar. So now I’m cheering them both on.

      1. Just to take a friendly poke at Verstappen, he (currently) has the same number of race wins as Maldonado, and fewer pole positions. ;)

        I’m not saying he won’t be an amazing F1 driver, but consider Raikkonen, Massa, Hulkenberg and Rosberg– all of whom were amazing pre-F1, and since then have had erratic (RAI / MAS), or lackluster (HUL) careers. If Rosberg had never sat in the Mercedes V6, he’d be considered a very solid midfield driver.

        One of the reasons I wish Hulkenberg could get a real drive is that he’s one of three drivers to win their rookie GP2 seasons– the other two are Hamilton and Rosberg (neither of which have won Le Mans).

    4. Ha, nice to see intelligent people are still the majority here. :P

    5. Quite a few interesting points in this survey.
      – di Resta #4 in 2011;
      – Sainz, Nasr, Verstappen included in 2014, and Kubica in 2011;
      – today Magnussen having more supporters on this site than Verstappen;
      – just 17 drivers included in 2015 (Sauber alone had 4 contracted drivers).

      1. Well MAG got my vote for being a fair driver, never complaining behind the wheel (even without water on the varmest track in a nightmare of a car), taking the blame for accidents when he was to blame, and giving Renault the fing.r when they did their dirty tricks in the silly season – and for returning after a year out after Honda replaced him with ALO in the Mclaren (leaving him without a seat in 2015)…There is a story here for eveyone: Never give up the dream! – Hope Haas will give him a fair car next season – like to see him shine as he deserves it!

    6. As a Belgian F1-enthousiast, I will be supporting Vandoorne next year. Hope that 2017 Mclaren will be more competitive…

      1. As a Dutchman, I hope Vandoorne will do a great job. We need more fresh blood shaking shizzle up in this sport

    7. Generally, Mclaren and Ferrari drivers take up the top few spots. Interesting to see Lewis’ popularity drop in 2013 when he moved to Mercedes. Also shows that despite Vettel being at Ferrari, the boy isn’t getting any more popular with the fans.

    8. Jenson beats Lewis again.

    9. Never really taken to Button, I’m quite happy to see him retire and see what Alonso and Stoff can do. I’d love to see Ronster take over Manor, that would be amazing, but too much to hope for probably.

    10. McLaren & Nando the best for me.

    11. Unsurprising, yet disappointing results. I respect the results but I wonder whether f1 fans are really fans of f1 or just McLaren or JB or Hamilton.

      1. I’m Dutch, Love Max, Big Fan of Kimi, Dislike Ferarri due to their veto rights, Think Alonso is the best, And have been a fan of McLaren since Lauda lost his hair. Really rooted for Hamilton before he became so obnoxious.
        Conclusion…. F1 fans are F1 fans. Not like football fans/hooligans if you ask me.

        1. Really rooted for Hamilton before he became so obnoxious.

          So you can’t possibly be racist @tychop? ;)
          Hamilton has always been the same though; also a lot of dubious types have tried this before.

        2. @tychop

          F1 fans are F1 fans. Not like football fans/hooligans if you ask me

          Disagree. Driver fans will readily boo drivers and attack other fans at any opportunity, a good example here.

          1. Driver fans will readily boo drivers and attack other fans at any opportunity, a good example here.

            That’s because fans don’t think rationally.

    12. People always have their reasons for chosing a favorite driver – and for not liking a driver – and thats totally okay. I suspect in a lot of instances it has nothing to do with the chosen ones actual driving skills/abilities.

      However, I just read that Lewis Hamilton was the highest paid driver this past season. For a team like Mercedes to be reportedly paying him so much (€32m), and twice as much a current but retired world champion Rosberg (€16m), speaks volumes about the talent, skills and driving abilities the man possesses, as well as the popularity he brings to the sport.

      1. Sebastian is paid more and has more titles to his name. Just saying..

        1. May I suggest you check out the most recent articles regarding this topic. Typically (in case you were unaware) online articles have a date that shows how recent they are. I am only going by an article dated December 30, 2016.

          www[dot]crash[dot]net/f1/news/235751/1/f1-2016-driver-salaries-who-earned-most.html

          Just saying…

          1. Without question LH, FA, and SV, and isn’t KR up there in money too, all have the talent, but more importantly the WDC(s) on their CV’s that justify but also ‘lock in’ or command high salaries too, just as the Neweys etc, just as in any business entities that would head hunt for the best people and have to pay accordingly. Had NR stayed for a next contract he no doubt would have been paid much more as one now having F1 WDC on his resume.

            1. @robbie I really have no idea what your comment is getting at.

              I was refering to ONE individual who was reportedly the highest paid F1 driver in 2016. I was not discussing a group of people. Why is it so hard for you to just accept that Hamilton is reportedly the highest paid driver in 2016, without your having to add ‘oh, but so and so is up there too’. We know there are other highly paid drivers, but there is always only one HIGHEST paid driver.

              Thats all I was refering to @robbie. Please try and get over this bias/prejudice against Hamilton, or better yet, keep it to yourself.

              Happy New Year!

        2. Mark…

          No Seb is not the highest paid. In the first year of his contract, he was paid in the region of £/€40m, which consisted of all the possible bonuses he could earn over the time of his contract. His current base salary is lower than Hamilton’s

    13. Nice to see McLaren as the most popular team. I fell less alone (when reading the comments, it’s not that obvious).

    14. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      30th December 2016, 19:31

      Years ago, as a Schumacher fan, id never have thought I’d say this… But I’ll be cheering on Alonso this year, hoping he can mix it up towards or at the front. He is currently the best with considerable talent covering many disciplines F1 requires.

      Also will be hoping verstappen goes very well, he is the brightest star we have for the future, unless Vandoorne comes in strong and usurps max as the best for the future.

      1. “He is currently the best with considerable talent covering many disciplines F1 requires”… In your opinion. There is nothing conclusive to make that statement fact.

    15. Verstappen, only 14th? Really?
      Sauber, bigger than Toro Rosso? Almost as big as Force India?

      I simply cannot believe it. What is happening here?

      1. People don’t change their preferences daily/monthly/yearly. Sure, Keith puts an article and a link towards that feature at least twice per year, but I’ve never seen a good reason to be so mercurial/capricious/fickle (whichever is the right word) in ones preferences. I’m a Ferrari-fan since probably before I could talk 35 years ago and it won’t change, and if there was a possibility to put Jean Alesi into my drivers preferences, I’d certainly do so.
        Verstappens time is only just beginning, give it half a decade, he’ll probably have more fans.

      2. For me it’s logic, Sauber really was a solid midfield team since the beginning in the early nineties. I like both toro rosso and Force India , but they’ve been around not that long….now, It’s a pity Toro Rosso hadn’t retained the Minardi name….

      3. This is not a very accurate poll. In fact that’s a massive understatement. There’s massive time lag, old accounts. Probably only a small minority are current, active accounts, and of them probably only a minority have updated their preferences recently. We see all the young drivers are well down, for that reason.

    16. I’m excited to see how Max and RBR do, and will be interested to see Stroll as well. And how McHonda do. Just excited in general naturally, as everyone likely is, to see the new cars and see how the racing is.

      As a fellow Canadian I will be interested to see if the media coverage improves due to Stroll’s presence. Aside from in Quebec which has always had more interest in F1 even without a Canadian driver, there was a noticeable drop off, at least here in Ontario, once JV left F1. I’m not talking about the weekend coverage which has been that of Sky and therefore has been more in depth than ever, but with respect to mainstream media sportscasts, they act like nobody cares about F1 here, with barely a mention of the winner on a Sunday evening weekend wrap up of sporting events. When Stroll was announced though, that made the National news, so…

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