That is exactly what the 2012 formula one season was: peculiar. This season featured more winners than we’ve seen in years, more exciting races and more unpredictability than is almost imaginable!
But why was this season so ‘peculiar’?
First off, many will say the unpredictably was solely down to the new exhaust regulations and the tires becoming more…complicated. Both of these factors are true, and I would be a blockhead to say that they didn’t affect the racing at all this year. However, I believe this peculiarity was due to the top notch driver quality we witnessed this year making the grid feel like it was full of veterans. Not for a while have we seen such great young talent battling it our for top seats each and every race, and not EVER have we seen six world champions on the grid fighting for the big points. Sadly, but certainly not surprisingly, this last fact will not be true for next season as Michael Schumacher retires for the second and final time.
if you look at all the drivers that were in their first or second years of formula one this season (i.e. Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Paul di Resta, Jean Eric Vergne, Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grojean, Charles Pic, Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado), you may notice that 3 of them had a top-5 starting position, and 5 of them finished in the top-5 in at least one race. Heck, 3 of them were on the podium, and one even stood on the top step after 300 km of long, hard racing with a double world champion! Besides all these top level stats, Riccardo started 6th in Bahrain in a Torro Rosso, Bruno Senna finished 6th in the craziness that was Malaysia and Charles Pic put in some stellar performances to make Timo Glock take a few steps back in shock. What i’m getting at is that if we saw all these amazing performances from rookies and sophomore drivers, imagine what the veterans did this year!
What the veterans did do this year was capitalize on this fresh young talent to produce some absolutely fabulous races. Think back to some of the highlights of the season: Alonso v. Perez in Malaysia, Maldonado v. Alonso in Spain, Grojean and Perez v. Hamilton in Canada, Grojean v. Hamilton in Valencia and Hungary, Perez v. Alonso then v. Hamilton in Italy, Maldonado v. Alonso in Singapore, Kobayashi v. Button in Japan, Hulkenberg v. Hamilton and Grojean in Korea, and Hulkenberg v. Button in Brazil. Watching these 800-horespower, 180 mph interactions was like watching a couple of world champions duke it out, even though they all involved rookies. These were just some of the finest battles we witnessed in 2012, and with most of this talent staying on the grid for next year, bar KOB and SEN, the racing is practically guaranteed to be just as fantastic next year.
i won’t forget to mention the mishaps form the year, mainly in the form of Grojean and Maldonado who, between their many heartpounding performances, managed to make our hearts sink through silly crashes. These unnecessary coming-togethers put a light damper on races that should have been fantastic. Belgium and Valencia (battle for the rest of the podium) come straight to mind.
Taking all these criterium into mind, I still believe that 2012 was one of the most exciting, if not THE most exciting season in formula one, and the drivers, with their skills and canny racing abilities made it one of the highest quality seasons. That is why this season was peculiar