Vettel 2012 = Schumacher 2003

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    The Radical

    Who else agrees that Sebastian Vettel’s third crown bares more than a striking resemblance to Michael Schumacher in 2003?

    Both defended their crown by the skin of their teeth, each having won eleven races the previous season, enduring indifferent form mid-season, putting the foot down with peerless drives late season (Monza-Indianapolis 2003, Suzuka-India 2012) yet limping to the title at the final race.

    Schumacher had a horrendous weekend at Suzuka in 2003, qualifying fourteenth, colliding with Sato and limping home in eighth to win the title by two points, and we all know what happened to Vettel…

    Both title rivals finished in second at the finale, Raikkonen in 2003, Alonso in 2012, one position lower than necessary to defeat Schumacher and Vettel.

    Schumacher ended 2003 with six victories, whilst Vettel won five races.

    It is ironic given the closeness of the two that history has repeated itself, it is a question now whether Vettel will go on to dominate in 2013 and win twelve or thirteen races, if it does happen, the names Vettel and Schumacher will be forever linked…


    I have noticed that too.

    On another note, in the final race of the season, Mclaren finished Suzuka 2012 as 2-3. Same as Ferrari in Brazil 2012.

    2003 and 2012 also both had 8 different race winners, but 2012 had 4 more races throughout the season, so by that logic 2003 was actually more competitive.


    Although 2012 had 6 different teams winning, rather than 5. Particularly amazing that only 2 teams had both drivers scoring victories this year.


    Interesting how in 2003, no one won more than 2 races, apart from Schumacher who won 6! Yet despite that, Raikkonen who only won a single race still very nearly beat Schumacher in the championship.

    Further evidence (IMO) that the 2003-09 point system was better than today’s.

    Younger Hamii

    @KingShark Kimi also won only one race last season [2012] & was arguably the most consistent driver in both of those seasons.


    @matt90 Had Perez and Hulkenberg not done errors in the two wet races, we could be looking at 8 different teams winning races. That’s incredible!

    Excluding the newer teams, Toro Rosso is the only team that hasn’t fought for a victory this year.


    The defining moment in the 2003 season was the sudden rules change on tyres before the Italian Grand Prix. From that point on all the remaining races were won by Bridgestone and Ferrari and that momentum continued into 2004 as Michelin had to regroup and basically redesign their tyres.

    I’m very glad the 2012 season didn’t have any similar such changes in the rules at such a critical point in the season. So I don’t really see much comparison between the championships or champions.



    The defining moment in the 2003 season was the sudden rules change on tyres before the Italian Grand Prix. From that point on all the remaining races were won by Bridgestone and Ferrari and that momentum continued into 2004 as Michelin had to regroup and basically redesign their tyres.

    That really killed a near-legendary season for me.

    Mind you, I actually did support both Kimi and Juan over Michael that year.


    After this season, does Vettel in 2011-2013 = Schumacher in 2002-2004? Because the similarities are striking.

    Schumacher dominated 2002 and won 11 races.
    Vettel dominated 2011 and won 11 races.
    Schumacher won 2003 by the skin of his teeth in the final race of the season.
    Vettel won 2012 by the skin of his teeth in the final race of the season.
    Schumacher decimated 2004 and won an incredible 13 races.
    Vettel decimated 2013 and won an incredible 13 races.


    Wow! I dont remember reading this thread last year but that is a spooky coincidence. There was even a mid-season tyre change (wrong season, but still).


    And of course, we saw major rule changes in 2005 (even more major ones in 2014). Will be interesting to see if Vettel’s 2014 becomes a copy of Schumacher’s 2005…

    Iestyn Davies

    Ha, yes the mid-season tyre change only happened 1 year too late this time. Perhaps the FIA slipped up on that one! Attention to detail!

    Hamilton was also pushed out of the 2012 WDC fight by lots of car/team failures, a bit like Montoya was pushed out of the 2003 WDC fight (various penalties and misc.), so in the end it was a two way fight in the last race and not three way.

    Lets see if 2005 is another pre-cursor for 2014! Two different teams to battle it out for the title? Two new protagonists? Many wins not going to the incumbent champion? Or will it be back to 1998, with one Mercedes backed team suddenly having an advantage, only to be hauled back in by the big spending team of the sport over the next few years? Or, the Newey designed car again out in front after a rule change, as opposed to the Brawn car (2009, 1994)..

    Also, how many titles will Vettel have to rack up before the FIA start trying to clamp down and let someone else win (2005)? Unless, the EBD ban is the same kind of thing as the tyre advantage loss.. but I can’t imagine Todt doing that.. however, Brawn as FIA commissioner might instigate a budget reduction/accountability for the top teams of some sort….


    There are a few other comparisons between seasons as well:

    If we say that Red Bull in 2012 were Ferrari in 2003, and Ferrari were Williams, McLaren still being McLaren, Renault as Lotus and BAR as Mercedes then we get some interesting results…

    – Ferrari went on to win 2004, as did Red Bull.
    – BAR finished fifth in 2003, then went on to finish second in 2004, as did Mercedes in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
    – McLaren finished third in 2003/2012 and went on to finish 5th in 2004/2013.

    So strange how history looks set to repeat itself. Would anyone bet against Lotus suddenly having a strong 2014, as Renault did in 2005, with Red Bull struggling as Ferrari did, whilst McLaren build yet another fast but unreliable car :P
    However, for the similarities to really continue, Ferrari and Mercedes would have to have quite bad years, with another contender emerging behind Lotus, McLaren and Red Bull.

    The Radical

    @kingshark yes it’s pretty striking, I raised it a couple of weeks back – http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/groups/f1/forum/topic/vettel-vs-schumacher/, if you had a quiz about a German F1 champion and their specific accomplishments, you’d be forgiven for confusing the two.

    Not to mention Vettel qualifying seventh at his first race as Schumacher did.

    Now all that awaits is Vettel’s fifth title even if it’s out of sequence to Schumacher and they will truly be mirror images of each other.


    I would say that for your comparison between 2003 and 2012, ’12 Ferrari is ’03 McLaren, and ’12 McLaren is ’03 Williams.

    McLaren had the 3rd fastest car in 2003, but relentless consistency by the team and very little errors allowed it to fight for the championship until the very end, and nearly win it.

    Williams had the fastest car in 2003, but it was unreliable, failed JPM when he was leading in both Austria and Japan, which ultimately cost Williams the championship. Very similar to Lewis and McLaren in 2012.

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