As Mark Webber crossed the Cheqeured flag at the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix, history was made as for the first time we had six different winners from the first six Grand Prix’s of the 2012 season. As we head to the driver firendly Gilles Villeneuve Circuit for the Canadian GP, odds are that we will have a seventh winner in seven races.
With Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher yet to open their account in this unpredictable season, my money is on one of them finishing on the top step of the podium in Canada. While the start to the season has been great for many F1 fans, there has also been discontentment growing in many quarters.
Barring three or four years, F1 championships have always been dominated by 2-3 drivers and that has been thrown out of the window this year. Critics feel that F1 is too much of a lottery this year, and too unpredictable. This situation has risen due to the failure of team to understand the behavior of the Pirelli tyres. The drivers and team are struggling to keep the tyres in the ‘sweet spot’ as they react differently in varying conditions.
While tyres have always played a significant role this year, the sport's leading engineers have been scratching their head as to how to make them consistent. Leading drivers and team owners have criticized the tyres as they also feel they cannot push the car to the limit and have to drive to conserve the tyres.
But isn’t this what we F1 fans have wanted all along? Weren’t we the same ones who complained when Sebastian Vettel dominated last year or when Michael Schumacher dominated in the early 2000s? Last year out of the 19 races held, Vettel put his Red Bull Racing on pole 15 times, was on the podium 17 times, and won 11 times. He won the championship with over three races to go and the only interesting races came about when it rained.
Overtaking has increased, the podium is filled with different drivers every weekend, and we have no idea who will be on pole position after Saturday qualifying. This is exactly what we wanted – to make it more entertaining and exciting!
At the end of the day racing fans want to see great racing and overtaking, don’t think DRS or KERS or other technical terms make a difference as long as the racing is entertaining. Over the next couple of races the top few teams will get the hang of the tyres and then we will see two or three teams winning more consistently and will eventually fight for the championship.
The Williams F1 team won against the odds at Barcelona and this was not due to rain, or a crash, or a safety car. Let’s not forget that they finished 9th in the championship last year but this year the car is genuinely quick. This will give some of the other midfield teams like Force India a big motivational push and who knows if everything goes their way, can challenge for a podium or even a win.
As Jenson Button put it ‘The fans love the fact it is exciting but I think it will get to a point where they will wonder who they are supporting and why someone is winning and someone is losing’. I say the more the unpredictability the better the show. So what do you say, are you enjoying the 2012 F1 season or prefer to see just 2 teams battling it out for the title?