Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez, Sepang, 2012

Perez: F1 should be as competitive as it was in 2012

2019 F1 season

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Sergio Perez wants the Formula 1 field to be as competitive as it was in the 2012 season.

The Racing Point driver believes closing up the field should be the sport’s top priority instead of reintroducing refuelling or tweaking the tyre specification.

“I think tyres are a little topic,” said Perez. “At the end I think what I want, all the [Grand Prix Drivers Association] want, is competition across the field.

“We want to have a more regular field across teams. And I think when you look at the midfield it doesn’t matter what tyres you have, you’re going to have good racing on Sunday and you don’t know who’s going to win that race. And we want that for the whole field.

“Hopefully that can be achieved. I think in terms of the tyres, whatever route we would take, it’s not a fundamental or the biggest picture you know what things have to be for.”

Perez is in favour of reducing the weight of the cars, which is due to rise again in 2021, but doubts this alone would be enough to improve the standard of competition.

“Definitely they are on the heavy side. Especially when you start the race with 100 kilos [of fuel] they can be a bit too heavy.

“But as I say I’ve been doing this for the last nine years with this level of cars. I think all the issue comes down to the show that we are able to put.

“What we want to see as spectators [is] a good show. I don’t think they’re too concerned if that’s with five kilos or 100 kilos. The important thing is that we put together a competitive field.

“I think the best example is 2012 when we had eight or nine different winners. The whole series was very competitive. That’s what Formula 1 should aim for to have very soon.”

The 2012 season saw eight drivers win races for six different teams: McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, Williams and Lotus (now Renault).

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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  • 24 comments on “Perez: F1 should be as competitive as it was in 2012”

    1. Although there were so many winners, I don’t remember the 2012 season as being particularly enjoyable, just it started in a frenetic fashion. The title race was still only between two drivers; Seb and that Red Bull car should have scored more points than they did. Alonso was only close because, well, Alonso.

      1. it is compared to now. We have had 4 good races in a row but we have had 3 teams winning GPs since the hoover era began and 2 of them really just picking up scraps. That is not memorable.

        OK I put it another way, would you not like to see 8 winners in a season?

        1. would you not like to see 8 winners in a season?

          Not if it feels as much of a random lottery based on lucking into an artificial tyre working range that nobody understood as was the case in 2012.

          If you get 8 drivers in 4-5 teams that have all designed genuinely competitive cars that are capable of contending for wins on merit on a regular/consistent basis then fine…. But that isn’t what we got in 2012.

          And what we have now with 3 teams winning isn’t that different to the past. Not as if the top teams have as big an advantage as in the past when it wasn’t uncommon to see cars on the podium a lap or more down.

          1. Yes, was very typical example in the schumacher benetton years, there was benetton and williams that are comparable to ferrari and merc now, and there wasn’t a red bull level car, there was ferrari which was between red bull now and the midfield, so no man’s land.

    2. Perez is in favour of reducing the weight of the cars, which is due to rise again in 2021,

      Hamilton has also spoken about the cars being to heavy and I’m sure other drivers would feel the same if asked. Yet F1 is going in the opposite direction. Maby now with the drivers having more of a collective voice, they may be able to persuade the powers that be that lighter is better.

      but doubts this alone would be enough to improve the standard of competition

      Hopefully that will be at least partially addressed with the new aero rules in 2021.

      1. Impossible to make the cars lighter with these engines. And with the increase in spec parts the weight can only go up. If f1 introduces standard gearbox it makes no sense financially to make the spec part as light as possible when adding couple of kilos will make it more robust and a cheaper to make. And if they are going to add spec wings and other parts… more weight. In the end the fact is in 2012 the engines weigh 120kg tops with kers (25kg ish) and ancillaries (radiators etc… The current engines is 210kg when comparing them as is.

        Source:
        Racecar engineering 2013 engines special issue, page 11. Direct quote:
        ” ‘The current V8 is 95kg, or 100kg if you add the weight of the MGU. This increases to 120kg when you include the ancillary parts, such as the radiators and other cooling devices. With the 2014 power unit, the V6 turbocharged engine will be a minimum of 145kg, plus 35kg for the battery.

        At 180kg, this is a 80 per cent increase over the current units, plus a further 20kg for the ancillaries such as the intercooler and other radiators.’ The additional weight is partly compensated for by an increase in the minimum weight of the overall vehicle to 685kg“”

        1. It’s important to remember though, that that weight of about 180 kg is the MINIMUM as defined in the rules @socksolid.
          In other words, I am sure that manufacturers would be able to build lighter engines to almost the same spec – probably using different materials, maybe just taking material out that doesn’t help reliability or maximum power output much.
          Off course the question is whether that would make them more expensive and whether investing money there for the reengineering for saving weight would be worth it. I don’t really think it is.

          1. So is the weight of the v8s a minimum defined by the rules. Both could be lighter. But regardless of whether there was a minimum weight or not the 210kg starting weight is not going to come down much even if you took away the minimum weights for the engine components and added couple of zeros to the engine development budgets. Are the engine manufacturers even getting to the current minimum weight is another questions.

    3. Starting from the 2013 Malaysian GP, round 2 of the 2013 season, only three teams have won races, and the streak is now at 130 consecutive races, and probably will keep increasing at the very least till the end of this season, and quite likely throughout next season as well.

      1. Good data, it clearly shows what an advantage the top 3 teams have, no-one else gets a look in.

      2. @jerejj If reliability was as good as it is now 20+ years ago we likely would have seen similar streaks in the past dozens of times.

        In in the past it was the top 2-3 teams suffering unreliability which gave mid field teams a shot at surprising with a podium or win. On pace the gap between the top 1-2-3 teams & the rest tended to be larger than it is today 20+ years ago where it wasn’t really too uncommon to see cars on the podium a lap or more down.

        The reliability of today is the only thing making things seem statistically worse than the past.

    4. yeah of course, everybody wants to see ferrari winning again under the 10-6-4-3-2-1 point system, instead of the current idiotic one.

    5. 2012 divided opinion from memory. This was the season where Hamilton said “he couldn’t drive any slower”. It was all about preserving tyres and hitting the sweet spot. Can’t say I enjoyed it myself… 2010 on the other hand.

    6. 2012? Meh. 2009. Now that was a season to celebrate. Plucky independent upstart team with a last minute Merc engine squeezed into a chassis that had only $800M of development spent on it. Those were the days…

    7. It’s possible that 2020 could feature some closer racing as the teams seem to be converging (which is normal at the end of a regulatory period). The midfield already is incredibly close and the top 3 arguably have never been closer (or would be if Ferrari stopped shooting itself in the foot).

      Unfortunately, the regulations will change for 2021 which will again spread the field for at least a couple of years (possibly more) before (if) the budget restrictions have any real bite.

    8. 2012 was awful, yes there were lots of different winners but only because the teams had no idea how to manage the temperature of that year’s tyres and races were decided by which car lucked into the tyre window at that particular track.

      1. Sort of like the beginning of this year only a whole lot worse because no team actually had it mainly right.

    9. This is exactly the sort of reason that drivers opinions should at best be taken with a pinch of salt and worst, ignored or not asked for at all!
      They approach questions or topics like this with such a narrow frame of vision, that they can only see that perspective….

      “Oooh, there were LOADS of winners in 2012 – that means I had the greatest chance of winning in 2012 – therefore we should go back to that”

      Completely ignoring the facts that others here have subsequently pointed out – Maldonado won in the Williams for gods sake!

    10. Refuelling is more than just getting cars lighter and better looking. Refuelling is so that drivers like perez don’t have to mold their race strategy around their PU maker, strategies on refuelling shouldn’t be as predictable as they are now, making situations where merc tells racing point when to stop less useful.

      1. @peartree Refueling strategy tended to be more predictable than what we have now, Especially after the first round of stops when it was pretty simple to calculate how many laps of fuel had been put in the car & therefore when they would be stopping next.

        Without refueling strategy is far more reactive with more input from drivers, More room to change on the fly with far more variables.

        Under refueling if you had 20 laps of fuel in the car you were pitting on lap 20-22. If you pitted early you were compromising your strategy due to needlessly carrying more fuel than you needed to & you clearly can’t go any longer else you run out of fuel.

        Without refueling you can go into a race planning to stop on lap 20 but maybe tyre wear is worse & you need to stop earlier or maybe it’s better allowing you to go longer. Maybe the driver is able to manage the tyres better & extend the life or maybe he’s harder on them so needs to stop sooner. Maybe you need to pit sooner than planned to react to another driver or maybe you need to try & go longer because thats what the car your racing is doing.

        Refueling strategy is decided the day before while tyre strategy is a constantly moving target that you can never 100% plan for & which drivers actually have a say in.

        1. @stefmeister You more or less took the words from me, LOL. Precisely what I’ve been pointed out as well, concerning how refuelling limits the strategic options more than tyres.

    11. The only reason there were so many winners in early 2012 was the teams hadn’t figured out the tyres yet.
      Once they did it was the Redbull, Ferrari, McLaren show all over again.

    12. isaac (@invincibleisaac)
      23rd August 2019, 17:16

      2012 was, in my view, a great season because it had such variety. That is what F1 seems to be lacking at the moment – more drivers on the podium, more midfielders fighting for the occasional win. Looking back on 2012 there were 8 different winners across the 20 races and 5 other drivers stood on the podium, meaning that there were as many as 13 drivers to stand on the podium over that season. But since the turbo hybrid era began in 2014, however, there have only been 16 drivers to mount the podium over 112 races! Since 2014 there have been 7 different race winners, and 9 other drivers to have stood on the podium, but even several of these podium finishers only appeared to have achieved this as a “fluke” as it was the only podium for them during this era.
      – Magnussen X 1
      – Button X 1 (Although he did not stand on the podium as he wasn’t classified 3rd until after a DSQ for RIC)
      – Grosjean X 1
      – Stroll X 1

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