2012 - The most exciting F1 season ever!
This article will sound somewhat biased towards Alonso but nonetheless it is an opinion about the scintillating season we have seen.
Sebastian Vettel may have won the World Championship this year but Fernando Alonso has definitely shown what he’s capable of with a car which was not so good for the whole season. By doing so he, in my opinion, has got himself a huge fan base all over the world. No one would have wanted Vettel to walk away this year with the title so easily. Fernando’s performances have simply been astonishing as he has always extracted the maximum out of the car and scored the best that he can get with the limited resources, in every race possible. No one, even Alonso, would have imagined that the battle for the championship would go down to the last race.
Last year’s domination by Red Bull and Vettel wasn’t much interesting as the title was wrapped up a long time before the season got over. But this year it was a totally different scenario. There were a lot of ups and downs in this season – The comeback of the Ice Man, 8 different drivers won a race this season, it was Schumi’s last season, Hamilton’s last season with Mclaren and finally the championship battle going to the last race.
Vettel all round the year had more or less a better car than Alonso. The second part of the season after summer says it all. Red Bull was clearly strong and had made the progress in designing the car suitable and competitive for the tracks post summer. Ferrari was always behind the pace of Red Bull and the Mclaren in qualifying but their race pace was competitive as always, as demonstrated by both the Ferraris. Reliability was the issue which plagued the Red Bull. But the Ferrari never gave any trouble. Not even one mechanical problem the whole season as compared to the Red Bull.
It’s true to say, that Alonso and Ferrari always had the luck factor in this year’s championship. Be it the tyre strategy, the weather, or some retirements, all of them prompted Alonso to attack and challenge Vettel. And if not for these, who knows how the Championship would have ended.
The season started off with a lot of surprises. For the first 7 races, there were 7 different drivers who won the race. It was totally unpredictable, which made a lot of viewers keep guessing and also making the race more exciting and thrilling. The championship by this time was wide open. And then top three teams came to the fore and made their stand as Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren started winning the races regularly. They certainly got the technology and strategy right for the second part of the season. If not for the retirement of Hamilton at Abu Dhabi, we would not have had an 8th different driver winning.
Coming to Alonso, he raced like he was totally committed, always on the go when the red lights went off. His strength this season were the starts he made. He would qualify in between 3-8 positions more often than not and by the end of first lap, he would definitely be in the top 5. The race positions he made up without any accidents, aided him in challenging for the podium in every race. Apart from the two accidents he had, he was there on the podium in almost every race. Him being on the podium meant that he had outscored at least one driver of Red Bull or Mclaren; or both of them. That was the passion and commitment he brought to F1 this season. F1 needs these kinds of drivers and races which make them thrilling and exciting. A normal F1 fan would like the speed, the sound of the cars and more importantly, some thrilling and exciting overtaking maneuvers. And Alonso has given it to the fans. The responses and accolades he got from his performances in Valencia, Abu Dhabi, India and Austin say it all. He may not have won the championship but he has definitely won a lot of fans for his supreme driving and ‘never-give-in’ attitude.
The 2012 season, in my opinion, will be remembered as one of the best seasons in Formula One history. And I hope that the coming seasons would also resemble this one. With Hamilton moving to Mercedes, it is going to be intriguing how he will perform. Fernando will be hungry once again but we should not forget that it is going to be more exciting, as 5 different World Champions from 5 different teams would be vying and competing and will go head-to-head for the world title.
The countdown begins!