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The moments that made 2011
Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Dec 2011   |  3:37 pm GMT  |  110 comments

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.

The Good
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

Alonso’s starts in Barcelona and Monza which lit up both races and showed his hunger.

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.

The Bad
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!

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Excellent year, excellent blog – keep up the good work Mr. James, and I wish to you an even better 2012…


Webber/Alonso at Eau Rouge – admire the stones.

Coultard and Brundle in the commentary box – great raport.

Simon Milliship

James – the best F1 content and journalism on the web. Congratulations. Please take the massive picture header off your site – and/or do a mobile version. It is a killer download when browsing on the phone for zero viewing value. You used to have a great mobile site – then it disappeared.


I’ve read half of the comments above and noticed quite a number of people mentioning Webber v Alonso at Spa was the best, or one of. I gotta agree with this one.

However, what I’m more interested in is why didn’t JA think this was one of the highlights of the year?! =)



Forget the wheels on the grass (VET vs ALO), What about WEB on the outside of ALO through Eau Rouge!


JA. Thanks again for a great read this year and also to all of your contributors. Your website is the only one on the net that I always read. Not just your columns but from the majority of contributors come some excellent posts and great opinions. It is always interesting to get that one ‘extra bit’ of info and insight that you just don’t get readily anywhere else. A pleasure to read and be part of.

For highs and lows. Whilst I’ll admit Webbers move on Alonso into Eau Rouge was pretty ballsy stuff there were many great memories of the year which you list.

The maturing of Vettel in all aspects was very impressive to me yet the internal meltdown of Hamilton was the downside of the year.

And of course we were robbed of Kubica and what could have been.

Thanks all, Happy New Year, bring on Melbourne!!

(any plans in the making James for your readers down here in Australia for the Melbourne GP??)


Second that Mike J. JA, please let us know if you are planning anything Down Under in March.


2011 season was far, far, far below 2007, 2008, 2010 seasons, because the whole thing was over after 4/5 races.

After about June 2011, the season became about think about if McLaren can improve in 2012.

Two overtakes named in a whole season as the ‘highlights’ tells it’s own story.


“..especially Singapore where Massa tried to talk to Hamilton but was rebuffed”

As far as I remember, Massa tried to interrupt Hamilton when he was giving an interview. How is that considered Hamilton rebuffing Massa. Massa acted like a kid under pressure trying his best to pass the blame.


It started before that in a pit garage before they came out to the TV crews


Thanks for a first rate site James. It’s always my first stop for F1 news. I also enjoy the ‘comments’ facility as I have learned so much from fellow fans. Here’s to an exciting 2012!

James will you be making any predictions prior to the beginning of the new season?


good – webbers pass on alonso into eau rouge

bad – the only beneficiary of the tv switch

is murdoch – shame on bernie


My best two experiences were the two mentioned and organised by you – the Senna premiere at the Curzon, Mayfair and the Fans Forum at the MTC. Thanks for the opportunities.

I like this site for it’s generally positive outlook and following. It certainly seems to be embraced by all sorts of F1 fans.

You should broaden out into other motorsport as most of us like some other form or other.

I enjoyed this year’s F1 season in particular for the midfield battles. Remember to keep covering them as you can jolly well bet Sky won’t and the BBC won’t have the wiggle room anymore.

My hope for next year is that Adrian Newey goes through a bit of a midlife crisis and starts obsessing with windmills or something. As long as no other team steals a ridiculously wide margin in his place. Oh and that Vettel’s pointy fingers lose all pointiness.



Webber V Alonso at Spa. Balls of steel, both drivers.

Carlos Fernandez

Hello James, great article as always and Happy New Year!

I post this here since I don’t know where to contact you. I’ve been having trouble accessing your website for a few weeks now and I believe there are a few others too, the problem might be limited to people using Safari but I’m not sure, I also have problems accessing this site on my iPhone. I can access every few days but the rest of the time I get the “Page Not Found” message. A thread was started on the Autosport Forums about this but quickly removed. Thanks.


We’re not having any tech problems, it maybe overseas network problem? It’s not our end in any case


I am surprised that no one mentioned this but surely Rowan Atkinson at the Indian GP is highly worthy of a mention in all three categories….

But seriously folks the good is Pirelli for their courage, the bad for DRS and the ugly would have to be reserved for all the airtime wasted about shirts on the beeb.

Happy New Year and long live GP2.


Vettel on Alonso at Monza

Schumi on Hamilton at Monza

Webber on Alonso (Spa and Singapore)

Hamilton on Alonso at Nurburgring

Hamilton and Webber in Korea (the lap where they were wheel to wheel)

All these battles made possible by Pirelli. (I know there were more)!


Sutil’s spin and recovery in qualifying. I think it was Australia.


Thanks for everything James. Easily the best F1 blog around. Genuinely interesting insights and features.

Keep up the good work in 2012.


Most bizarre would be Hamilton’s depressed interviews.


Good – Schumacher being his old self in Canada especially. His stern defending against Hamilton was probably better to watch. Hamilton would have loved to race against Senna – well he kind of got his chance in Monza and he hated it. So much in fact his team had to push him on to attempt to catch up to Fernando after Schumi let him through.

Bad – SKY deal. Seriously, what on earth happened there? After all that moral campagning by the Beeb News, the sold out so hard. They blocked a reasonable bid from Ch4 for godknows what reason. There’s some underhanded dealings in this, and there has to be some kind of investigation into it.


Brilliant summary JA, you need to be on the Presenting or commentary team again………


My “only in F1” moment is the whole of the Canadian GP – great, great race, but if you scripted a film like that the “expert reviewer” would tell you you’d gone way overboard!

Good : Jenson’s win in Japan – a country that had seen so much bad luck, saw a race won by someone with a genuine connection to the place. I’m with many others on the Webber/Alonso overtake too – very nice bit of driving.

Bad : Some occasionally inconsistent stewards decisions and the childish spat between Massa & Hamiliton.

Loved this year’s JA on F1 book – I have them all and each is better than the last. It would be lovely to see a short (half-page ish) review of each driver over the season and the same for each team/car in next years… I hope you realise this site is going to be hugely in demand for those of us who want to know what’s happening next year without going near the world of Sky..

Happy new year to you, your team and the readers and contributors.


Thanks. That’s a really old idea for the book. I’ll make a note of that


Thanks for all the hard work on the great website this year James. See you in 2012!


My highlights were seeing Schumacher near the front at Monza, and his drive at Spa, Vettel’s pass on Alonso at Monza, Kobayashi’s drive in Canada (and the picture of him having a shot of Tequila after the race), and overall Vettel’s brilliance all year. Him watching the race at Abu Dhabi from the pitwall, as opposed to getting an early flight or sulking in his room, sum up why he’s number one. Lowlights were not seeing Kubica in action, the incredibly boring Lotus/Renault naming argument, and the constant speculation on Hamilton’s state of mind. Thanks for a great website, I hope you all have a great 2012.


Happy New Year James, and the same to all your contributors and fellow posters.

I can’t help but think back to Michael Schumacher’s combative Monza and Ross Brawn’s radio messaging… gripping stuff. I hope that wheel to wheel racing continues to feature in the sport and that it doesn’t get too sanitised!



Congratulations James on a great site for F1 last year and all the best wishes for this year.

Favourite this year was Canada with the stars of the show Button and Schumacher.

Least favourite was the BBC/Sky fiasco and worse even was all the spin put out concerning it by team principals, Ecclestone and BBC treating F1 fans like idiots who will believe anything.

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