2012 F1 season review: Worst moments of the year

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    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned but one disappointing thing for me was seeing Raikkonen and Vettel basically having a swearing competition on the podium in Abu Dhabi. I know a lot of people find that sort of thing hilarious but I think it’s pretty disrespectful to all the people watching. Saying naughty words is the kind of thing most people grow out of when they’re a teenager. Though I suppose that does excuse Vettel; he’s only 6


    Here’s another thing that’s really spoiled the 2012 season for me – some absolutely terrible driving standards. I haven’t got figures to back this up, but I get the impression that this year has seen the highest ever number of utterly pointless, avoidable tangles where drivers end up bumping into each other and/or running off the track. It’s telling that the top drivers seem able to race properly without suffering these blunders, while a great number seem unable to race wheel to wheel. I think there are a fair few reasons for this which need looking at

    Track Layout – these incidents almost always seem to happen on chicanes. Chicane corners seem to have become one of the defining features of Tilke-dromes and they’re the areas where you always see these shunts. Ironic really, as they’re there to slow the cars down and improve safety. I think it’s the nature of the corners that the line changes priority from right to left, and vice versa, where you have a chicane, so there’s no correct entry for the corner, depending on whether the driver is prioritising the first or second corner of the chicane. There’s a sense then that neither driver has the definitive line going into the corner and so it’s hard to judge who is supposed to yield. Some drivers are sensible and leave a gap, but most seem to just point the car towards the apex and hope for the best.

    Front Wing Design – This was one of the main concerns going into 2009; that you’d see loads of drivers losing their front wings on other people’s wheels. Interestingly, in 2009 this didn’t happen as much as predicted, however it has gotten a lot worse since then. While I wouldn’t say that the wing design was a de-facto cause, it certainly shows up any drivers taking liberties with special awareness problems. Unfortunately despite strict rules about endplate radii, these contacts often end up shredding tyres on the innocent party’s car.

    Poor Driving Standards in the Lower Formulae – This, I believe, is the single biggest reason for the dreadful driving standards in F1 at the moment. You only need to watch a single GP2 race to see exactly the kind of behaviour that is ruining F1 racing. When two drivers go wheel to wheel, it’d be generous to say that the odds were 50/50 for it ending in a crash. Drivers are overly aggressive in these formulae and they’re allowed to get away with it. In my opinion the problem is addressed backwards – it shouldn’t get more restrictive as you go up the formulae, it should be strict in the lower formulae so drivers never pick up these habits in the first place. Drivers should arrive in F1 as a complete package, free of bad driving habits and with years of experience to draw upon. That doesn’t happen, and F1 is now becoming a learner series for drivers who have just a few years of experience driving single seaters. It’s a very sorry state of affairs and doesn’t bode well for the next generation of F1 drivers.


    @mazdachris – You pretty much hit the nail on the head regarding poor driving standards. Just look to the recent Abu Dhabi GP to see how GP2-style over-aggression has crept into F1, and conversely, how clean and fair the racing between the world-champion frontrunners was. Now that you bring it up, I do agree that all those avoidable accidents, caused by careless driving and a lack of respect between drivers, count as low moments of the year.


    @mazdachris You really think that drivers swearing was one of the worst moments of the year? I doubt Raikkonen and Vettel meant to offend, although I personally don’t see how anyone can be offended by someone swearing. Maybe it’s just me.

    I do agree with you on the driving standards. Part of me is seriously concerned about the future of Formula One in terms of driving standards. We’ve seen some really silly accidents this year from drivers not respecting each other on track including Grosjean, Maldonado and Perez. Even though they are trying to drive better, they’re already in the habit of giving little room, not being aware of their surrounding and going to over-optimistic passes.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    One of the lowest points of the season – of any season – for me has been the frequent technical disputes, particularly when the FIA is powerless to do anything about something which, to my mind, is blatantly illegal, but exists within a loophole that only serves to rob the FIA of any ability to do anything about it. Red Bull’s throttle mapping in Germany was the perfect example of this.

    I’ve also found the erosion of the media to leave a sour taste in my mouth. I’m referring, of course, to Autosport and their pro-Lotus bent, making headline news out of things to do with Lotus that other publications – like here – don’t even bother touching. Autosport used to be a favourite source of information; now I dread going there because the lead story will probably be someone telling us how Lotus really is good, even if their results don’t show it.


    Williams fire, De Vilotta’s loss of her right eye, Death of Sid Watkins


    * Sid Watkins’ death
    * De Villota losing her eye
    * 95% of the fanbase massively overplaying the nonsense that was going on in Bahrain
    * the Williams fire
    * Hamilton leaving McLaren
    * Schumacher retiring
    * Mugello, AKA Button and Webber publicly shaming Petrov
    * the farcical unpredictability that marked the start to the season, and, by extension, Pirelli themselves
    * the fanbase’s hissy fit over Vettel and Raikkonen swearing
    * the stepped noses


    I agree with a lot of what has been said above but here’s one thing that has annoyed me this year: the sport’s attitude towards journalists.

    It is only fair to say that there is a lot of terrible F1 journalism. There are probably hundreds of lousy F1 websites and hundreds of lazy journos that are incapable of producing sensible content so they either copy/steal the ‘news’ from elsewhere or come up with self-made, silly theories, rumours or stories that simply make no sense. But there are some highly professional and respectable journalists as well and I feel that the teams and the drivers don’t give them enough credit. It’s just unfair when Ferrari or Vettel call all their work nonsense without specifying the persons / sources. You simply cannot put James Allen and Planet F1 in the same pot.

    I also believe that the teams themselves are partly to blame for the lack of good and trustworthy F1 stories on the web. Do Ferrari and Red Bull expect that the journalists will do nothing else but republish their boring press releases all the time and that the fans are going to be over the moon, while reading them?


    It’s just unfair when Ferrari or Vettel call all their work nonsense without specifying the persons / sources. You simply cannot put James Allen and Planet F1 in the same pot.

    Hear, hear.


    Bahrain GP, Maria de Villiota crash, death of Professor Sid Watkins, DRS, end of an era (no Schumi, Lewis to Merc) and I actually became used to stepped noses. But overall, this season was perfect.


    From a personal sporting standpoint, Perez running wide during his pursuit of Alonso in Malaysia. That was the closest Sauber ever got to a victory as a privateer outfit and it would’ve been an awesome story – but Alonso and Ferrari won instead.

    Kirill Egorov

    Penalty system
    It was difficult if even possible to understand penalty system from race to race. Why was it only a reprimand but not a drive through, why was it drive through and not just a reprimand, why were there no stewards’ decision for this or that incident and vice versa etc etc etc. Same actions were led to different penalties for different drivers or for the same driver. I didn’t like the decision about Grosjean’s race ban but much more I didn’t like the explanation of it by stewards about the incident which “eliminated leading championship contenders from the race.”
    We need, FIA needs some clear rules and a good penalty system.

    “Grey” areas in tech regulations
    There’ve always been and there always will be such “grey” areas in regulations. Some teams get advantage using’em, others just anger. It doesn’t mean FIA and the teams shouldn’t eliminate ambiguity.
    It also bad when one team develops something innovative and FIA ban new solutions trying to equalize all the teams in such a strange way. F1 is a higly-innovative sport, there are always more ‘clever’ teams and less ‘clever’ teams. And some teams have more money and opportunities than others. You don’t like it – there are GP2 or NASCAR.
    But the situations we saw in Abu-Dhabi and Austin with Red Bull and Ferrari. They did what they’d done, their actions were in accordance with current rules. Maybe it’s more about sports ethics. It was pretty unfair for other teams and their drivers. Ok, what done is done, let’s move forward, let’s solve the consequences not to see this happens again.

    Fire at Wiiliams’ garage in Spain
    No comments, it was really really awful


    Massa’s deliberate gearbox penalty. Since then I do not want to be recognised as a Ferrari fan. I do not want to wear my Ferrari clothes again.


    For me, it has to be De Villota’s crash. Knowing that such a terrible accident could still happen was and is horrifying.

    The second most was probably the Grosjean crash. It was scary enough to watch and showed just how inefficient some rookies are in their ability to race with people in such close proximity.

    Sundar SV

    Prof. Sid Watkins’ death – a man who did so much for the sport behind the scenes, saving so many lives, his passing leaves a huge void in motorsport.

    Maria’s accident – the wait to learn whether she would survive or not was terrible.

    The row over technical regs – if a team finds a loophole, fair play to them, they’ve been clever, in my opinion, if the FIA want to ban it, they should do so for the next year only.

    Belgian GP start – one of the most horrifying crashes in recent memory, nearly killing Alonso, and ruining a brilliant qualifying effort from the Saubers.

    Poor stewarding – Penalties were too inconsistent this year, so many surprising decisions, even with the rubbish standard of driving at the back of the field.

    Driving standards – huge yawning chasm between the front runners and the ones in the midfield and below. The GP2 graduates especially showing a lack of patience, spatial awareness and poor judgement in wheel to wheel racing, causing far too many incidents this year.

    McLaren – Massively letting down their drivers, especially Lewis. Calamitous pitstops at the beginning of the year, utter lack of reliability in the second half of the season – Lewis’ retirements in Singapore and Abu Dhabi were especially painful.

    Ferrari’s development – Despite using the Toyota wind tunnel, the new parts after Monza made Fernando’s car slower than before, crippling his title bid. He was unable to respond when Seb went on a winning spree in the Asian races. Ferrari shouldn’t have allowed Seb to run away with the title like that.

    The Williams pit fire – What should’ve been a perfect weekend, with an amazing return to the top step, a birthday present for SFW, was spoiled by this fire that thankfully didn’t claim any lives.

    Bahrain GP – The last thing the people of Bahrain needed was a farcial race, with cars going around in front of empty grandstands, but it was the way the FIA handled the whole episode that frustrated me.

    And finally the retirement of Schumacher, the driver who drew me to the sport when I was a kid, it was really sad to see him getting pushed into retirement for the second time. I desperately wanted him to win one last race before he finally went, but thanks to Merc’s woeful form it never happened.

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