As 2011 draws to a close, it’s a good moment to reflect the good, the bad and the “only in F1” moments of the year.
I’ve laid out some of my personal favourites below, please let us know what yours were.
Jenson Button winning in Canada after running last, hitting Hamilton and Alonso and seeing Vettel spin off in front of him on the last lap.
Sebastian Vettel’s pass on Alonso at Monza… wheels on the grass
Michael Schumacher in Canada, showing all the old quality, the seven times champion rolled back the years in the driving rain, just missing out on a podium.
Lewis Hamilton’s win in Germany, probably one of the best of his career and the product of some time spent away from promotions and other distractions. His pole lap in Korea was pretty special too.
The final laps of the Spanish Grand Prix as Sebastian Vettel managed to judge the gap to Hamilton coming onto the main straight, knowing that to get it wrong would mean Hamilton would nail him with DRS and KERS.
And finally it was great to see that Great Britain has honoured Nigel Mansell with a CBE and Adrian Newey with an OBE. One would hope that before too long Ross Brawn and John Surtees will be recognised for their outstanding achievements as Britons in a global sport by receiving knighthoods – maybe in 2012.
Kubica’s injury in a rally accident, Pastor Maldonado deliberately drives into Hamilton at Spa, the indecision over whether the Bahrain Grand Prix would or should go ahead, the multiple spats between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa, especially Singapore where Massa tried to talk to Hamilton but was rebuffed, Williams finishing the season with only 5 points, less than 1% of the total points scored by champions Red Bull.
“It could only happen in F1” moments of the year
Top teams get hot under the collar about “hot blowing and cold blowing diffusers”, Ferrari and Red Bull pull out of the F1 Teams Association, leaving great uncertainty among the other teams about their bargaining position in the next F1 contract talks, Hamilton linked with Red Bull after dropping into the team hospitality in Canada, the Gribkowsky bribery and corruption trial relating to the sale of F1 commercial rights, Heidfeld’s sacking in Spa and his appearance in front of the cameras in the Spa paddock, Renault’s radical exhausts setting the car on fire twice, Petrov losing the plot in a rant about his Renault team, Austin almost loses its US Grand Prix franchise while still in mid-construction in a dispute over money and contracts, F1 TV rights in the UK going to pay channel Sky, despite clauses in the Concorde Agreement about Free to Air TV.
My favourite moment of 2011 however was the JA on F1 premiere screening for fans of “Senna” at London’s Curzon Mayfair Cinema in June, with the film makers, Manish Pandey and Asif Kapadia as well as Prof. Sid Watkins, Martin Brundle, Jackie Stewart, Terry Fullerton and many of Senna’s mechanics and engineers all speaking about the great man. It was an unforgettable night.
It’s been a fantastic year for JA on F1, with over 1.3 million active users coming to the site from all over the world, with an 80% return rate, leaving over 60,000 comments as the site continues to grow in reach. The UBS Strategy content has been enjoyed by over 8 million fans in 8 different languages.
Together with our main partners UBS, Shell and TAG Heuer we’ve done a lot to reach out to fans; sending fans to Abu Dhabi, to the British Grand Prix, to three FOTA Fans Forums in the UK, Canada and Italy.
Wishing all JA on F1 readers a very Happy New Year and the very best of luck for 2012. Thanks for all your support, interest and your insightful comments.
We have some great plans for the site next year so keep checking in!