How would the world championship table look if the fans voted for who they thought had performed best?
We have the answer.
After a fantastic response, with 500 fans from around the world submitting complete forms this week, here are the conclusions of the JA on F1 Fans’ World Championship of 2011.
We asked you to look past the machinery and provide us with your Top 10 drivers of 2011, based on who did the best job with the equipment they had.
Each reader listed their Top 10 and we gave them points as in a Grand Prix (25 for 1st, 18 for 2nd, 15 for 3rd etc.) adding all the results together to produce a final table.
We paid attention to your discussions throughout the week about some fans being too partisan. To try to keep this exercise as real as possible, we decided to discount only votes that were overly partisan. It’s not possible to build a reasonable argument for omitting the World Champion from the Top 10 and likewise it’s very difficult to see how Mark Webber or Lewis Hamilton could reasonably be placed higher than their team mates.
So, the following anomalies were removed from the overall results, to avoid skewing the collective opinion:
• Those that omitted Vettel, Button or Alonso from the Top 10 entirely
• Those that placed Schumacher, Perez or Rosberg as number one (this seemed too far-fetched)
• Those that placed Webber above Vettel, or Hamilton above Button
These votes totalled 29 out of 478, which is 6%. It seems then, that 6% of F1 Fans here are partisan enough to put a purely subjective spin on how the action unfolded; a very low figure, which we take to be an illustration of the high level of debate and interaction on this site.
Interestingly, almost half of these votes were made up of fans placing Lewis Hamilton above Jenson Button, which supports the idea that despite having his ‘worst ever season in F1’, Lewis is still capable of rallying some pretty die-hard support.
49% of you voted Vettel as your top driver of 2011. However, this means that even after taking 11 wins, 15 poles and the World Championship, over 50% of you still don’t think Vettel was the best driver in 2011. Perhaps you thought the Red Bull was just too quick to judge?
Meanwhile 28% voted for Alonso as Number 1 driver this year and 22% went for Jenson Button.
Button vs Alonso
Placing one of these drivers above the other has proved the most tricky decision for many F1 observers this year. And even here in the JA on F1 Fans’ World Championship there are only 5 points in it!
Jenson Button narrowly lost his runner-up spot to Fernando Alonso in the Fans’ vote but the gap is tiny (just 0.06%). This reflects how difficult everyone found it to separate the two drivers and shows that even the informed fans in F1 work in impossibly tight margins!
Much of your debate throughout the week showed an empathy for both these two drivers but interestingly, this isn’t so obvious between Alonso and Vettel.
For example, if you voted Sebastian Vettel as your top driver, you were 25% more likely to put Button second than Alonso, whereas if you put Fernando top, you were 12% more likely to have Button in second place than Vettel.
This indicates there is a hint of rivalry amongst the fans in Vettel and Alonso camps.
Kovalainen and Rosberg stand out
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the Fans’ Championship table is Heikki Kovalainen, who climbed a staggering 18 places from his real championship position, to finish 4th. Clearly, the fans are paying attention to performances right down the order, which is evident also in Daniel Ricciardo’s elevation from 26th to 14th.
For Heikki to be rated so highly says a lot about how well regarded his efforts were this year.
Nico Rosberg is often painted as an enigma within the F1 media, without a real reference point in his career so far. However, the fans clearly rate his performance this year highly, putting him in 5th place overall, one in front of Lewis Hamilton and well ahead of his teammate, Michael Schumacher in 11th.
So it looks as though the fans have a hunch that he’s the real deal.
Perhaps there’s a feeling that Michael might have lost some of his speed but to consistently beat him for pace is still an achievement.
The facts show that Nico still had the measure of Michael in qualifying in 2011, but the veteran often had the edge on race pac. However the gap in the table shows that the fans have a firm conviction.
The Fans’ Voice
Thanks to everyone who took part. Of the 478 readers’ votes, the closest match to the final standings was that of Arun Vajpey, who’s first 6 drivers matched the readers’ overall choice. Two readers matched the Top 5; Sudha S and Tristan Bayless. You three are the closest to representing the fans’ voice.
(Thanks for Data collation and Analysis to Matthew Hyatt)