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Reflections on the championship – A Fan’s View
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Reflections on the championship – A Fan’s View
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Nov 2010   |  7:24 pm GMT  |  126 comments

As usual we have had many great comments and some interesting points of view put forward about the outcome of today’s championship.

I wanted to give the fans a voice tonight and so I’ve picked out this post from JM Randle, which expresses his view on this epic season and gives a good assessment of our new world champion.

“With an hour or two having passed since the race finished, first and foremost we have to congratulate Sebastian Vettel – a combination of a truly awesome racer, able to extract the maximum from his car over both one lap and a race distance, and the magnificent Red Bull RB6, the class of the field for almost the entire season and suitably rewarded with the Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championship titles.


With that said, I don’t know if I was alone (probably was!) in feeling slightly deflated by the way the final race of this epic season panned out – the track and tyre degredation (or lack thereof!) played a huge role in the final result, rather bringing things full circle from the first race in Bahrain. The difference being that THIS time, Vettel’s Red Bull didn’t give up on him!

The lack of wear of the so-called “soft” tyres was just ridiculous, but it’s not the first time this season it’s happened – maybe this is something that will change with the introduction of Pirelli tyres next year? But most frustrating was the lack of overtaking opportunities, a which is particularly disappointing given that they had a completely blank sheet of paper (not to mention a blank cheque!) with which to design the track. What that meant is that every single one of the title protagonists (aside from Vettel of course, who needed to overtake nobody) were unable to get past whichever driver they found themselves behind; Hamilton behind Kubica until the Pole’s late stop, Alonso behind Petrov and Webber behind both of them. Clearly, this situation would not have arisen on a circuit where overtaking is more achievable, though credit of course must go to the Renault drivers for not putting a wheel wrong!

You have to give credit to Vettel for putting himself in a position, race after race, where he just has to drive away from the rest of the field and let the rest of the drivers sort things out for themselves! The question marks over his overtaking ability will remain for as long as he’s in a dominant car and putting it at the front of the grid each race – you only have to look at how RB qualified in the top 10 at every single race this season to see how we never got to see how they fought their way up through the field, so from this season, we only really have Vettel’s crashes in Turkey and Spa as ‘evidence’ of how he handles this other important element of being a top racing driver!

However, in the end, if you can put your car on pole and drive off, regardless of the quality of your opposition and no matter how many times safety cars come out and whittle your lead down to zero, your ability to overtake is almost irrelevant! Today, Alonso and Ferrari threw things away somewhat by concentrating too much on what Webber was doing – if they’d have been more patient on the soft tyres like the 3 cars in front were, they may well have experienced the same benefits! Instead, a poor strategic decision conceded track position to slower cars on a circuit where overtaking had already proven nigh-on impossible. Webber was nowhere this weekend unfortunately, but his own struggles to get past Alonso/Petrov amply demonstrate that even with the clear fastest car on the grid, the overtaking issue hasn’t gone away, particularly on these sorts of tracks!

A memorable season anyway, a shame that the final race wasn’t really befitting of the occasion (again, more the track than anything else, which is a shame because Abu Dhabi could do so much better!), but full credit to Vettel and Red Bull, and if next season is even half as competitive, we’re in for another cracker

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1

The season has ended once again and to be honest it was over as a competition after the first few races with the dominance of Red Bull and Vettel. Well done to them.

To prevent this happening again I would like to see a change in the points system so that interest would be maintained for the whole season, with the lower placed drivers still scoring points.

Points could also be added for qualifying, fastest laps. most overtaking, and many other things. They could also be taken away in penalties for any bad driving or other offences.

I think every position should have a points tally down to the last place, this would help establish a drivers league table and therefore somewhere down the line there would be some competition for points.

2

Let’s see.. aerodynamics of car does not promote close following, which translates into a generalized passing difficulty…

….new tracks are “regulated” into a homogeneous pablum of made for TV viewing…

It’s F1 by committee.

Congratulations to The Vet, as in Jet, and Red Bull…the Year of the Under-dogs ascendent.

3

James,

Abu Dhabi is not the only circuit guilty of becoming a bore fest. Recall all the complaints on your website about the first race of the season at Bahrain in which Alonso won a processional race?

We could end up with many more processional races given the ownership and management structure if F1, if FOM is paid handsomely for it by the circuit owners?

4

Strikes me that all the talk of track layout suggests overtaking is largely a function of the circuit. But surely every other formula — both open wheelers and saloons — has overtaking galore. Let’s analyse this.

When it comes to overtaking there are four main variables — 1) car design; 2) circuit layout; 3) driver skills; 4) weather. Now it seems to me that we’re stuck with the drivers and the weather. We can alter the circuits to a degree, but no one seems to be able to make a circuit where F1 cars can overtake easily. Consequently there is only one thing we can easily change — the cars. Back in the 80’s the cars were really exiting to watch and the drivers could really exhibit their skills. Look up some old races if you don’t believe this. So we need to change the rules to recreate the same levels of adhesion we had back then when drivers slid around like they were always on a knife edge.

The only time we can see a lot of F1 driving skill today is when there’s a wet race. In a dry race today most of the time it’s floor the throttle or hard on the brakes. And there’s no outward sign for the spectator where the limit is.

Surely they should reduce the aerodynamic downforce by getting rid of such large front a rear wings? The cars might look better then, too.

5

The last race was a pretty example of the issues of the lack of overtaking. We saw how it is a mixture of the cars, tyres and the track not just the cars not being able to follow one another because of the downforce.

The soft tyres were a joke this year with only Canada being the one race were they did what they were meant to be designed for ie: be faster than the hard tyres over a short distance then fall away quicker. While I accept Bridgestone like any company want to design the best product possible to show off their brand the FIA need to make sure that there is a clear difference between the soft and hard tyres for the future.

More grip has to be taken out of the cars as once again this year we saw the best racing in wet like China, Australia and Belgium.

The track layout simply does not produce or encourage good racing as both Brundle and DC pointed out. Maybe its time to ask former drivers for tips on design rather than ask how big the paddock next to the track needs to be?

6

The 2011 will be a great season if McLaren and Ferrari improve the aerodynamics on the car to match the Red Bull. It is only when this happens that we will truly have a race on our hands.

As many other comments have mentioned, Vettel is yet untested. It is easy to always have a car in the front and win from there.

I wonder how Vettel would have performed if he was in a McLaren or Ferrari this season? Not withstanding Vettel is a credible WDC and congrats to him.

By the way will next season be the first season with the highest number of WDCs competing against each other? Should be an exciting season.

7

We’ve all been robbed! Qualifying almost guaranteed that we were in for a classic showdown, yet for one reason or another, we were denied it. I am Gutted! Hamilton V Vettel was the one Ive been waiting for all season and once again it hasnt come to fruition. Both Mclaren and Ferrari let their drivers down massively to the detriment of us all. Im trying very hard to be positive, but this race has spoilt the best season ever.

8

Heres a fans view

Why oh why did were the regulations changed to improve overtaking, and yet it simply isnt happening? We are having a Ferrari stuck behind a Toro Rosso and a supposed epic championship battle fall apart because of these ‘changes” which havent come into effect in actual racing.

I read just read an article on a New Zealand newspaper website, its title was all hype and no show on the recent f1 title decider, and its right. There has been alot of hype, but the show is simply lacking.

Yes we have had some bad races such as Bahrain and some amazing ones such as Melbourne, but the show is no better then 2009 or 2005 which I would argue was one of the best seasons ever.

9

petrov, alonso is faster than you! massa could learn a lot from that kid

10

I’m so glad Red Bull have won the title the right way – in a sporting way. In the end they really did let both their drivers race fair with equal equipment and the best man won.

It is just fantastic that team that believes in a true sporting/competitive philosophy has triumphed over Ferrari who quite frankly don’t.

I will never forget how they treated Massa that Sunday in Germany. A year to the day after he nearly lost his life in one of their cars. It was just shameful.

11

A question of you James, on the subject of overtaking. How many on track overtakes (i.e. not through pitstops) and not first corner of the race have there been for the lead of a race? Im struggling to think of any

12

Turkey – Vettel on Webber (failed) Button on Hamilton and then straight after Hamilton on Button!

13

button in brazil, alonso in the pitlane, hamilton in every race and kaumi in every race, pitlane and street corner!

14

This season I’ve tended to watch more pre-recorded races so I can Fast-fwd through the boring bits, without having to listen to the commentators trying to persuade me that the racing is exciting … Don’t get me wrong, I keep trying to ignore F1 but I can’t – I still love it – but PLEASE give us back the sport that allowed RACING on-track.

Nowadays the drivers are working feverishly inside the cockpit to be as perfect as possible and utilise fully the best bits of their cars … but we never see any of that in a tangible way. To put it bluntly, it’s boring. The sport is really risking it with this “Emporer’s new clothes” approach to glitzy tracks and expensive settings – it may pull in more people more quickly, but has it any staying power? Is it ‘sticky’? I for one see less and less entertainment in the on-track side of it, and worry how the off-track ‘excitement’ is meant to make up for it …

15

James,

Thank you for steering us through one of the best F1 seasons ever.

Congrats to SV and Red Bull. If you love the sport, you rejoice in the winner’s story without thinking, and SB and Vettel have certainly provided that.

The fact is though, anyone of the top five deserved to win. Each Car/driver combo had their own faults and strengths. IS this really the time to point out Vettel’s faults?

I have to agree with you though James, the Abu Dhabi GP was dead boring. Christ it was dull. Staying up to 2:00 am Melbourne to watch Webber go backwards was like being a St Kilda Footoball Club fan, you just know its never to going to happen for them…..deflated…mmmm yes.

Alan Jones is on the Radio out here saying MW will be a better driver next year. I tend to agree with him..something tells me he’s not ready to let it all go yet.

I can’t wait for the next race….when is it…..what? that far off?….well…can we bring it forward….No?, well can we have more races during the year??

Seriously, I can’t wait, its just been a vintage year

Thanks again for making it all easier to understand.

16

Thanks for that!

17

great season, great races all the way thorugh bar the 1st…politics was minimal which is good.

Webber was hanged out to dry by himself hence he lost what was clearly his championship.

Glad Alonso did not win – he is such a sore loser…what the hell did he expect Petrov to do…move over? What a joke of a driver – sore loser!

Hamilton was great to watch all season and gave us all so much to enjoy.

Button was great as he compliments Hamilton. Well done Mclaren for signing him. Ron Dennis was in the pit clearly still pulling the strings…hope he lets Martin W run the show next year…he has proved himself.

Driver to watch next year for me is Kamui Kobayashi – he is Hamilton #2 and i hope he moves to Redbull or Renault or Williams…he will be electrifing!

I hope MS finally makes the car great and shut up a few people…he had a great last qtr of the season…looks like he is back to hi car tuning best.

Man, I wish the 2011 season was starting next week!

Find of the season – JAF1.com for me…THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE F1 site on the NET…no contest for me!

Keep up the good work and let us all drive safe till next season.

18

Don’t see that no chance to overtake was because of the track.

It was simply that Ferrari had a setup to do fast rounds and after the pitstop it would needed a setup for high straight speed. If Alonso would have had a highspeed of 316 and Petrov one of 312 i think no-one would have blamed the track. I am the opinion Alonso would have overtaken Rosberg.

At the design of the track (or the 7-8 year old tracks) no track designer could foresee a F-Duct (or KERS).

High speed while still have groundforce in corners (KERS is as much an anti-overtaking system if the car behind hasn’t it)- it is no longer as easy as: you are either fast or have ground-force and the driver behind you may overtake you at one of your weaknesses.

19

I did some calculations:

If RB used “team-order” in Brazil and had Webber finished ahead of Vettel, both RB divers, finishing how they finished, would have had 249 points at the end of the Abu Dhabi GP. Both would lose to Alonso by 3 points! So credit to RB for letting their drivers race!

But then I can understand when you got Massa who finished 108 points behind Alonso this season, it would be very hard for Ferrari not to use team-order back in Germany.

Great Season Thought!

20

Hi James,

Not the best finale given we had a 4 way shoot out, almost makes you nostalgic for a 1997 type ending – maybe Schumi forget that despite it being the last race he wasn’t in contention…and Liuzzi never will be a contender for the title.

Tilke’s tracks have too many corners, drivers are constantly in the turbulence trying to get enough grip to go round all the corners and find they can’t get any closer than a second before they arrive (in Abu Dhabi) at the turn 6?) hairpin for the run onto the back straight. Furthermore they insist in having 3 off camber turns in the final sector, corners where the cars need maximum downforce to stop them sliding. If you’re following another car and trying to set up for a pass sitting in the turbulence on an off camber corner will leave you further behind due to the extra sliding from the lack of grip.

Remove the first chicance from the GP layout, sand traps outside the last two corners and the first to punish the mistakes and make the off camber corners banked to some degree.

I also notice that Bernie without anyone noticing has got his short cut in place at Abu Dhabi should the idea ever fly. Straight line the first chicane into the hairpin. Imagine the dummy moves trying to trick opponents into using their allotment.

21

I completely agree with JM Randle. it was a bit of an anti-climax, and sadly the 1st and last races of the season bore no relationship to the intensity of the races in between. Ultimately the fastest driver in the fastest car won the year, so I have no complaints with the final result.

As a discussion point, I would be curious to know what teams, (and UK/European viewers) think of finishing up the season on the other side of the world? Is it an exotic way to finish up, and a springboard to big celebrations (as everyone is away from home and can let their hair down), or would everyone benefit from finishing the season back at home, where more of the team, friends and family can be part of the finale too? (Or has it happened like this for so long that it is just the norm now?). Imagine finishing the season at Silverstone, Monza or Spa… (with a season more akin to football perhaps; starting in September and finishing in June)

Finally, big thanks for all your work James. This website, and your insight in general (in particular the Yas Marina driver simulation stuff) has been the best in F1, and I have really enjoyed seeing you on the Australian F1 telecast. Your grid-walk on Sunday was better than anything I have seen Martin do; any chance of more of that in 2011?? It’s something we really miss out on down-under..

Hope you enjoy a good break for a while!

Jeff.

22

Thanks for that. It wasn’t really a grid walk, that’s Martin’s bag – this was more of an improvised bit of two handed chaos on the grid with Rusty! But it was fun. Hope to do it again next year a few times.

23

Very good summation James. Vettel was a worthy winner, especially considering the huge points deficit he tackled over the last races. Sadly Webber failed with the same machinery and a better opportunity to win. There was no coming back from poor qualifying on that track. Only pitting during the safety car would have given a slim chance.

If Alsonso in desperate suicidal mode cannot overtake then no human being could.

If only the final race was on old track!

If Vettel continues with this form in a competitive car then we should be glad KERS is back to shake up the field. Otherwise ’11 will be a procession.

24

Congratulations to Vettle!

I think this season shows everything that is right, and wrong with F1. That the championship went to the last race and a dark-horse won was good. The race itself demonstrated the “what’s wrong” and how well the fast forward worked in my DVR.

Next year should be fun.

25

Justice has been done. Best car 2 years in a row, ferrari were in a position to win not because of their merits but because of the unfortune of the others. I’m glad ferrari lost, i’m glad Wettel won, i’m sorry for Mark , i’m glad that ferrari guy, Alonso, was left out in the cold.

We don’t speak italiano.

26

Good article! Well written! Especially liked the overuse of the exclamation mark!

Unfortunately the race would have been much better if overtaking had been possible! Maybe Herr Tilke needs to go back to the drawing board! Surely there could be a better layout that would be more conducive to overtaking!

Congratulations to Seb Vettel! Well deserved win!

!

27

😀 Thanks P Dant (the name is a pun I presume? :P), I apologise for the excessive exclamations (’tis a fair comment) – I guess I didn’t want the post to seem too negative, because it has been an enthralling season – ironically it’s not usually my style to make lots of exclamations, but I admit I hadn’t made the post in expectance of being chosen to represent the views of the fans!

Thanks so much to JA for choosing to quote my post; to say I was mildly surprised to come on here this evening and see my post had been picked out like this was something of an understatement 😀 I hope you all enjoyed reading it (despite the exclamations 😛 ), thanks for the comments and here’s to Sebastian Vettel, to Red Bull and to a great 2010……. and 2011 to come! 😀

JR

28

In all seriousness, nice article and well done for getting it picked up by JA. Roll on 2011.

30

Classic season.

Really, really enjoyable and it will be a fantastic one to look back on in the coming months – personal feuds, team politics, closer competition than ever before and – above all – a return to racing oriented around battles on the track, rather than in the pits.

We’ll get a laugh if we look back at the posts on JAonF1 after the Bahrain Grand Prix, and the doomsday scenarios that were being bandied about. To think – some were even calling for instant rule changes after that race!

31

What you need to improve overtaking is a tyre war again, but with the same rules as this year – 2 differant tyre types used. this would make the tyres more fragile, more pit stops for fresher tyres and exciting races.

32

I am not deflated at all. This race was very emotional for me (unexpectedly) and i couldn’t resist a tear or two when Vettel came on the radio at the end. I have not been rooting for Vettel this season but i am really really really happy for him.

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