JA on F1 driver ratings for season so far
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Aug 2012   |  9:18 am GMT  |  196 comments

This week we have been reviewing the performances of the first half of the season by the drivers, following a rating by influential Italian sports paper Gazzetta dello Sport.

To read their ratings click Here

We’ve had an interesting debate on the ratings, with over 300 comments left, many with fans posting their own version of the “pagelle”, or marks out of ten.

Gazzetta gave Alonso a perfect 10, which leaves no room for improvement.

Though he is having his best season in F1 to date, leading the championship with three wins without having the fastest car and has convinced many sceptics who doubted his ability, to say that the season has been perfect is to exaggerate. He’s been close to perfect and if he holds on to win the title it will be one of the most remarkable in the sport’s history.

The only season in my career I can compare it to is Ayrton Senna’s 1993 season where he managed to win five of the 16 races, including the legendary wet weather win at Donington, where I got soaked reporting from the pit lane for US TV network ESPN.

But the active suspension Williams of Prost and Hill was too strong that year and Prost duly won the title, with Senna second.

The main point of contention is how much should the bad things a driver has done pull him down when taken against his positive performances. Maldonado is of course the main question mark here, his sensational win in Spain meriting a 9.5, but some of his other antics and points thrown away pull him down even below drivers who haven’t really registered much.

Perez has had two outstanding races, but also should have got more points from the car he’s been driving. Button took a great win in Australia and fine podiums in China and Germany, but he’s had a struggle to perform when the McLaren has had imbalance in tyre temperatures. Rosberg was untouchable in China, but he’s also been outpaced a few times by his 43 year old team mate Schumacher, who in turn has been very unlucky with reliability otherwise his season would look a lot more positive.

Here are the JA on F1 “Pagelle”:

9.5: Alonso
8.5: Hamilton
8: Raikkonen
7.5: Vettel, Webber
7: Grosjean
6.5 Rosberg
6: Perez, Schumacher,
5.5: Kobayashi, Button, Di Resta, Hulkenberg,
5: Maldonado, Senna, Kovalainen, Petrov, Ricciardo, Glock, Pic, de la Rosa
4.5: Massa, Vergne
4: Karthikeyan

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I do not agree with Grosjean’s rating- too high in my opinion. He has been involved in too many incidents this season and has squandered a lot of points for Renault. Whilst his qualifying pace has been impressive he has been more of a disappointment than a revelation


You can’t rate a driver out of ten without stopping and applying a race-by-race rating, then adding them all up and averaging them over the total number of races. Then you can’t accidentally miss out on a driver’s excellent or poor performance on any particular race. Alonso should not be 10/10, but a 9.5. As you say James, he needs “somewhere else to go” (i.e. up).


Bravo James! I see it almost exactely the same.


Hi James,

Interesting article but Gazzetta marked Alonso at a 10 but you marked him at 9.5. You mention that his season has been “close to perfect”, what would he have to have done to achieve the perfect 10 in your eyes?


I’m sorry but I think Grosjean is overrated here. I believe he had first corner incidents in the first 4 or 5 races and was lucky to make it through after the incidents in a couple. He’s driving decently… but I feel in some of the first corner incidents he hit cars in front of him even without anyone close to pressuring him. Don’t believe he should be rated over Perez.

Tom in adelaide

Maldonado displaying all his talent:



FA’s principal competitors are the likes of SV, KR and LH not Felipe. They are driving cars that are better than the Ferrari, especially the Lotus and RB, and FA has outdriven them all. I don’t believe that either of these drivers need to be in a Ferrari to truly validate FA’s performance. FM is not performing; it’s as simple as that, and that should not detract from FA’s amazing season thus far.


James, Lotus are bringing major upgrades to Spa but what about Ferrari?

Have you heard about their upgrades? Surely they must have couple of them in the pipeline as they did not bring anything major after Valencia.


Ferrari will certainly have an upgrade for Spa, they will have been working hard on it before the break and they could see McLaren, Red Bull and Lotus getting very strong in the last weeks before the break.

No idea what it will be but certainly will be aimed at aero efficiency on high speed tracks coming up like Spa


@ Elie

you forget both Sauber and Lotus

have been good on tyres since day 1


No I didn’t forget and that’s why come the end of the season, Sauber & Lotus may rue the missed opportunities in Malaysia and Bahrain respectively.


The average score is 5.896 then, meaning

Perez, Schumacher >~ average

Kob, Button, Di Resta, Hulk <~ average

I agree with most of it, except I would give Raikkonen and Grosjean the same score (7.5), and Rosberg and Schumacher a little lower (6.0 and 5.5).


James, it appears there are lots of contrasting views. Any chance you could create a mini questionaire, like driver of the day, where we can all vote and average out the results.

Thanks for keeping up the f1 news, I need it during this break!


Good idea


Since I’m unable to read all the comments on my lunch, I apologise if someone has mentioned this already…

Is it wrong to be showering Alonzo with so much praise when his team mate has been (sorry Felipe) awful for most of the season?

The way I see it is, we’ll never know just how amazing, or good, Alonzo has been this season with his team mate performing so poorly. I agree he’s been the most impressive driver this season, however I wonder how good he’d look if Kimi was his team mate or Rosberg- I’m not saying their better than him or as good, but there performing better than Massa this season!


As for the core matter of your comment, you may as well see below post #55.


Thanks Puffing, I’ll make a point of spelling Alonso as Alonzo in future & yes I know I just wrote Alonzo! Jesus this isn’t a playground, people make mistakes get over it.


Effort to write properly a person’s name will be always appreciated (think about reading your own name wrongly written): Fernando’s family name is AlonSo, not Alonzo.


Point taken, not my best day. However there were no posts below me when I attempted to post my original comment.


Yeah, it’s hard to tell. Linear comparisons are very hard to do in F1, even though it’s often boiled down to that, even by team principals.

Twice you were going for “they’re” in that last sentence, and used both of its homonyms. I think it’s been too long a break, everyone’s going stir crazy! 🙂


I’ll just go & stand in the corner…


The Team score (= the combined score of the individual team mates) would thus look like this:

Lotus, Red Bull : 15/20

Ferrari, McLaren : 14/20

Mercedes : 12,5/20

Sauber : 11,5/20

Force India : 11/20

Caterham, Marussia, Williams : 10/20

Torro Rosso : 9,5/20

HRT : 9/20

The usual suspects at the top. With the exception of Ferrari who have clearly outsmarted their competitors. Without Alonso they would’ve been in the anonymous midfield. I wonder if Mercedes would’ve been further down without Rosberg & Schumacher? Their car seems to be worse in race trim than Williams and Sauber. Yet they are ahead in the combined Team score.

Team scare based upon;

9.5: Alonso

8.5: Hamilton

8: Raikkonen

7.5: Vettel, Webber

7: Grosjean

6.5 Rosberg

6: Perez, Schumacher,

5.5: Kobayashi, Button, Di Resta, Hulkenberg,

5: Maldonado, Senna, Kovalainen, Petrov, Ricciardo, Glock, Pic, de la Rosa

4.5: Massa, Vergne

4: Karthikeyan


I think one of things people didn’t mention about Alonso is that he is the ultimate opportunist. He doesn’t take risky moves.

Every-time he saw an opportunity, he took it, I think he never missed one in fact.

I can’t remember the last time he had an accident while trying to overtake.

That makes him very dangerous for his opponents.


Hi James which race so far has been your favourite and summed up 2012 for you? Been a super season with different drivers mixing up and different teams getting it right on the day and others stumbling. The next few races should be brilliant in regards of working out who are main players for the title.



On a different note.

Can I ask why we have a “summer break”?

You obviously dont get a holiday.

Do the teams lock up there garages and go on holidays through August?

With so many races in the season why cant we do away the the break and continue to have races every second weekend. We could still finish the season at the same time and do away with some of the races on back to back weekends.

Wouldnt that make things a bit easier for the teams as well?


It’s a good measure … it’s only two weeks. Not sure how it’s enforced though.

The second half, after the next two races, consists of all flyaway races. That’s why they back-to-back those ones, so that the mechanics aren’t away from their families for 3 weeks at a time.

The first 11 races were contested over 20 weekends. The next 9 will run over 13 weekends. It sort of makes sense to back-load the race calendar, so that teams can do most of the development on their car in the first half. Then, while the development doesn’t stop, the sheer pace at which the races come means that any big updates after Spa won’t have the same payoff.

Of course it’s easy to get wrapped up in F1, but there are of course more important things in life, such as seeing your spouse and kids, and getting away together while school’s out, etc.


Because its exhausting for mechanics etc so this way they get 2weeks off mid season

It was introduced though as part of the cost saving plans – factory closed = money saved


In theory where do you think jaime alguersuari and buemi would be in your list?



Who knows how they would perform ?


Only based on their 2011 performances in theory I would give alguersuari 7 and buemi 6.5. Maybe they would have extracted more from the car than the current torro rosso drivers. But it impossible to say. I would have put alguersuari in the car for 2012.


Do resta has got much closer to the full capabilities of his car than button has


I think most if not all are agreed on the top four and on Webber taking 5, ie

– Alonso

-Hamilton Raikkonen Vettel

– Webber

But come year’s end I expect [imho] Vettel to be stronger.

Hamilton is better than he has ever been at error-free races like Hungary, but mistakes may still emerge to spoil the party

Warning to Raikkonen diehards:

cool showery weather has just left the north canadian ice fields and is plotting a course of S by SE and is scheduled to arrive at Spa dead on 1.30 pm on race day, just when Kimi would be looking to consolidate a solid lead on his opponents. ….


Webber has been stronger than Vettel this year. With all his mechanical problems he should be well ahead.


Isn’t Kimi in his comeback and Grosjean some what of an unknown quality?

There is no way to really judge apart from the fact a rookie Grosjean got hammered by Alonso and Kimi was been marginally beaten by Massa before Felipe got hit on the head.

Villenvue said something like that and he has got a valid point especially when everybody seems to be rating the likeable Lotus drivers extremely highly.


That’s why comparing drivers against each other across multiple years and teams doesn’t work out. Massa 2008 clearly isn’t the same driver as Massa 2012, and Grosjean 2009 isn’t the same as Grosjean 2012.

Villeneuve himself was beaten by Damon Hill, but easily outperformed Frentzen. When Frentzen joined Jordan, Frentzen beat Hill comfortably, when past results suggest Hill should have had the upper hand. Drivers’ careers ebb and flow depending on many factors, you can only judge what you see before you.


We know Massa isn’t the same as 2008 but the point I am making is can we really believe the hype that Grosjean is that much quicker and better than 2009?

To me it just seems a bit far fetched that comeback Kimi and Grosjean are now in the top 7 drivers.

Villeneuve was joining Hill’s team as a rookie and if they spent another year together I would be surprised if Hill beat him again. And after all it was Hill who was dropped by Williams and not Villeneuve


I don’t think it’s too far fetched that Grosjean has developed into a decent driver, many of his results suggest he has what it takes apart from his half season when he was parachuted in with no testing against Alonso in a very difficult car to drive.

And while it’s a little irrelevant, there were other reasons why Hill was dropped by Williams apart from performance, mainly Damon’s wage demands. Also, while Villeneuve was a rookie in F1 terms, he had a significant amount of open wheel racing compared to most other rookies.


I lost any respect for Villeneauve after his antics in the press last year . Raikkonen is 3 times the driver he ever will be!. He can sit at the back of V8 supercar grid and just marvel at Kimis comeback now.


Yes, I was a Villeneuve fan back in the 90s but him saying anyone is being flattered by a good car is a severe case of the pot calling the kettle black.


James you have it exactly right.

Alonso, Hamilton.

Last time these 2 contested a title followed at some distance by Raikkonen, as here, Raikkonen snatched it from them. history may be about to repeat itself… Only Vettel can be the spanner in the works

James, do you think Lotus are well placed for Spa?

Lotus have been shouting from the rooftops about their DDRS and how it will give them a real advantage. Surely Ferrari and McLaren have been hard at it producing their own version for Spa and Monza?


Yes especially if the get their DRS booster working for qualifying. Both drivers are fast there


There is a problem with rankings like that in F1. There will always be a teammate whose car suits his teammate more, or some kind of specific trouble that stops him achieving his maximum. The two drivers in mind here for me are Raikkonen and Schumacher – Schumi still has to deal with understeer and Raikkonen can’t get the feel he needs from his power steering. If those two drivers were on top of their machinery they would be much higher up.

Those are two drivers whose plights I’m wll aware of, but there have to be others around. Massa couldn’t work out his car for most of the season, Senna seems to have consistant problems in qualifying, etc etc.

That’s the nature of F1 though. I think the best ranking system is the one that has always been used – the points table. Everything else is subjective.


Principally I agree.For me the both mid pack & those on 4/5 deserve slightly higher -in particular Kovalienan and Perez.

Please explain to some people here why Grosjean is not quite a Kimi yet.Great talent though he is.

I think the last few are slightly harsh. You must be suggesting Massa, Vergne, Karthekayan are “Already Gone” as a top level rookie can be better than 4 in half a season! It’s the next 20% that takes seasons to attain.!

Those on 5 must also “be on Notice” for the second half of the season.?? We shall watch this space with itchy fingers. Cheers !


As usual James you are as near to the mark as makes no difference. Great Analysis and 2 interesting articles (incl the Italian one).

As a Button fan, his marks are a tad harsh considering where he was in the first 3 races, but he has struggled since then. I can’t really argue the point very strongly though, and he is about where he should be relative to the other drivers.

I just hope that the tyre lottery will even out in the 2nd half, and next year they are a little bit more stable. I can’t say that this season is enthralling me, like the last few.

Highlights TV doesn’t help, but I’m not hanging on the edge of my seat, or arranging my schedule around the races this season.

val from montreal

In the 11 Grand Prix’s in 2012 , Schumacher has upped the ante alot …. He qualified on the first 2 rows 6 times … Twice I think he had technical issues in qualifying like in Canada and Bahrain …

Australia = 4th

Malaysia = 3rd

China = 2nd

Monaco = Pole Position

Germany = 3rd ( wet )

Britain = 3rd ( wet )

Nevermind all the DNF’s and technical problems Michael endured while the sister Mercedes driven by Rosberg has been pretty much bullet proof …

Schumacher is the driver who has improved the most since 2011 …

He deserves a ”9 ” without question !

Go Michael !!


No chance mate. He goes backwards every time he qualifies well. Plus, there is only so many times you can put t-boning Senna’s car down as bad luck.

He still only has 20 odd points and with the car he has, that is terrible. He is doing no better a job than Massa in the Ferrari. If Schumi was up against a driver like Alonso/Hamilton/Raikkonen, I reckon he would be blown away. He just doesnt have it anymore.

Button goes down as my most disappointing. I knew Massa would be bad but didnt think Button would spend an hour and a half behind Heikki in Monte Carlo. What a joke of a drive that was


Someone hasn’t gotten over the years 2000-2004…Be objective!


Except that the Mercedes has no race pace.

And bad rear tyre wear. And can barely hold together for a race weekend.

When it comes to Schumacher, some people only see what they want to, and are convinced he must be doing bad.

Be objective.


A 9 for crashing into Senna

A 9 for crashing twice in back to back Friday Practice

A 9 forstopping on the wrong grid slot, then shutting down the engine by misinterpreting the lights and then speeding again in the pit lane

Definately a 9 without question

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