FB's Big Fat Review of the Year 2016


Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
I know you all look forward to my pointless and rambling annual review so I didn't want to disappoint. What a year 2016 wasn't. At the start of the season we had a few new drivers, some of whom look like they might be quite good. We had a new team to bring American viewers in, in their, errm, dozens to watch a series which means little to them. Renault were back too, although few noticed.

By the end of the season we did have a new World Champion though, who then promptly buggered off into the distance. We also had a new race winner and the youngest man to ever win a Grand Prix to boot. Otherwise it was all a bit 2015 with the only question being how many races Mercedes wouldn't win and in what circumstances might other drivers take the top step from the Silver Arrows.

The season started well (sic) with the introduction of an "exciting new qualifying format to mix up the grid". That went so well it was dropped after two races and I'm sure any serious F1 fan sighed a great sigh of relief. The opening race saw the inevitable Mercedes 2-1, with Nico picking up where he had left off at the end of 2015. Fernando Alonso managed the mother and father of all accidents and then got out and walked away. The safety of F1 cars has come a long way but the shunt was so bad Fernando had to sit out the Bahrain race which allowed to debut of Stoffel Vandoorne. Van Doom even manged a point in the not quite as dog rough 2016 version of the Mclaren Honda. Oh, it was yet another Mercedes 2-1 as well.

Now we were off to the former (?) communist countries of China and Russia. Nico won both races, Lewis was 7th, yes 7th, in China after losing his front wing. Lewis managed 2nd in Russia despite only qualifying 10th. Probably the most exciting thing to happen in Russia was a spat between Sebastian Vettel and Danni Kyvat. No real surprise that Vettel should have a paddy fit but Red Bull took the criticism of one of their current drivers by one of their former drivers to heart and promptly demoted Kyvat to Toro Rosso and moved Max Verstappen up to the senior team. Chrissie Horner claimed this was simply due to the talent Max was showing. He also declared that turtles can fly and that coconut pyramids taste scrumptious. All complete crap really.

How would Max fair with the pressure of being in the senior Red Bull team? Would he crack? How well would he compete against the Honey Badger? Well, after the two Merc drivers nurffed one another on the first lap Max promptly went on a won the race. The incident between Rosberg and Hamilton sort of over shadowed everything else but it was fairly obvious that if three times World Champion Lewis Hamilton had been a better driver nothing like this would have happened.

Lewis showed just how poor a driver he is by winning the next two races in Monaco and Canada. Monaco offered us the comedy moment of the season as Daniel Ricciardo came in to the pits to change tyres only to find the team had popped out the back for a sly fag and weren't ready for him. This probably cost Danny Ric and even managed to wipe the smile off his face on the podium. Chrissie Horner explained that this had all been planned by Red Bull and that expected all teams to follow a similar protocol in future given the immense standard Red Bull had set.

Canada usually serves up one of the most exciting races of the season. To show you just how crap this one was the Wiki review of both qualifying and the race extends to 1 1/2 paragraphs.

The "European" Grand Prix in Azerbaijan was up next. I presume FOM don't have a current World Atlas in their office. How exciting though to see another street circuit added to the calendar :yawn: . The only thing which kept me interested was waiting to see who Lewis Hamilton might run in to as he attempted to carry our a Ctrl Alt Dlt on his car doing 210mph down the straight. Nico won, Lewis was 5th. FIA decided to think about changing the rules on advice the pit crew could give their drivers following Lewis' escapades but didn't.

Austria gave us a new word for the F1 lexicon with "Nicosteer" as the German desperately tried to hold back Lewis Hamilton on the last lap by driving at him. Is it something in the German psyche that if you can't keep your opponent behind by fair means you just drive at them?

At soggy Silverstone he had the joy of watching F1 cars drive around behind the safety car for just long enough to allow the rain to come back and cock the race up again. Drivers then played Russian Roulette with the tyres resulting in plenty of autocross, spins and incidents from "the best drivers in the World". Lewis won, Nico got a penalty for being given instructions on how to mend his gearbox as he was driving round. I tried that once, got 3 points on my licence for driving with undue car and attention. Then again, changing the syncromesh on the outside lane of the M1 can be a but tricky. Oh, after Nico's problems with getting advice form the pit lane the FIA decided that the teams could tell the drivers whatever they wanted from now on.

By this point I was starting to lose the will to live with the 2016 season as it didn't matter what circuit or what conditions you could almost guarantee that a Merc would win. Would Hungary give us any respite from the suffering? No - Merc 2-1 in qualie and Merc 1-2 in the race. What excitement could Hockenheim bring? Nothing was the answer. Nico continued to be a little faster in qualifying, Lewis was a lot faster in the race.

Belgium showed us what a farce the current engine rules in F1 have become. Not only had Hamilton used up all the engines available to him for the season by this race but when he popped in to Aldi to buy some more he discovered they were on buy one get two free so he only got a grid penalty at one race. Anyway, Nico too pole and Nico won. Lewis dragged his car up to third from last on the grid in the vain hope of keeping his title chance alive.

Monza was so exciting Wiki only manages on paragraph for this race. Singapore had to better didn't it? After all this is on of those wonderful, unpredictable street circuits that Bernie loves so much. Nico pole, Nico win. We did have the excitement of a lizard running across the track and Danny Ric hunting Nico down towards the end of the race but you did have to wonder how much the German driver was keeping in reserve.

Malaysia - Daniel Ricciardo won! Hurrah! Nico managed third after having a bit of fun with Sebastian Vettel at the first corner. One of Lewis' engines went pop late on in the race. The manager of Aldi in Stevenage said he couldn't have a refund.

Nico proved to be "big in Japan" whilst Lewis had yet another dodgy start. How could Lewis possibly get back in to the title race? Simples, win all of the remaining races and hope Nico had problems. Lewis did but Nico didn't. Brazil did provide us with probably the best race of the season, not just for the exploits of Max Verstappen on a wet, damp, wet, wetter, drying, wet again track but also because of the sublime race Lewis Hamilton drove.

It all came down to the last race. Lewis had to win and Nico had to finish 4th or 5th or something. Lewis won, Rosberg was second despite Hamilton's best efforts to drive him backwards and the teams constant nagging to get a shift on. It sort of reminded me of my efforts to get one of my teenage boys out of bed in the morning. All it needed was for Lewis to reply "Mhhh" and "I hate you" to the pit wall to make the image complete.

So what to make of 2016? I'm hoping 2017 will be better.
I can fully understand why you had to wait until the middle of January before putting finger to keyboard.

I'd have probably offended many by using your Hockenheim summary for every race.
"What excitement could <insert race name> bring? Nothing was the answer."
Maybe I still can? :p
The whole season had less drama than any episode of Call The Midwife - a fave of her indoors :sleeping:
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