Friday, 19 November 2010

Review of the 2010 Formula 1 season

So it is finally over. 19 weekends spent glued to the TV, my heart racing as the red lights go out and 24 cars accelerate away. 19 weekends of joy, anger, excitement and hope; 19 weekends showcasing of the best in engineering (and HRT [*]).

In previous years I have said that I would stop watching Formula One. The politics and chicanery was becoming too much, detracting from the important thing: racing. Despite the threats, I have never actually stopped watching; there is always a drama awaiting. Fortunately 2010 repaid my commitment in spades.

It has been a truly great season, with six competitive drivers in three competitive cars. There have been crashes, brainfarts and controversy, but also some great racing.

For the final race this weekend, there was an unprecedented situation with four drivers in a position to win the championship. Alonso was in the lead, and Hamilton would have needed a miracle to win. My wish going into this weekend was for the following outcome.

  • Webber to win the championship. He is the older driver, and will not have many more opportunities to win. He had probably made less mistakes  than the other top drivers this season, but also found it hard to match the speed of his competitors, especially in qualifying. In my opinion, he would have been the most deserving champion.
  • Hamilton. He has done well in what is probably the third-most competitive car (behind Red Bull and Ferrari). He has made a few mistakes, and also had some poor luck, for instance his puncture in the penultimate lap of the Spanish GP.
  • Vettel. The young gun; I was full of admiration for the way he has handled himself before this year, but some arrogance has crept in during 2010. Blaming Webber for their collision in Turkey was by far the lowlight of his stellar year.
  • Alonso. I really did not want Alonso to become champion after the German GP team orders debacle. If he had won by less than seven points (the amount he gained from the enforced swap with Massa), then the championship would have been seen as a joke by many.

So I am satisfied, if not overly happy, with the result. Perversely, perhaps the biggest winner is Alonso, who has done an amazing job in recovering during the second half of the season. He will be remembered for a number of superb drives in the second half of the year that brought him right back into contention.

It has truly been a great season. Red Bull's early lack of reliability prevented them from romping away with both championships, and Ferrari and McLaren worked hard to catch up. I can only hope that the 20 races next season are just as exciting, despite the wide-ranging rule charges and a change in tyre supplier.

* I find it amazing that the newcomer Spanish team this year, Hispania Racing Team, named themselves in such a way that the abbreviation in English is the same as a treatment for menopausal women. Surely they realised the problem before they named themselves, or did they not care?

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