FB's Big Fat Season Review 2011


Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Well, here it is, the thoughts of Chairman Fat on the season that was. Where to start? Well 2011 really was only about one man and one car, Sebastian Vettel and the RB7, but some of the inter-team battles became almost Machiavellian. But, as I know you all love stats, here's a few to kick you off:

19 Grands Prix
1 New race in India (there was a race in India? I hear you say Yes, indeed there was)
28 Different drivers through the season
5 Drivers new to F1
2 Lotus teams!
3 Different drivers on pole
6 Different drivers setting fastest race lap
5 Different race winners for 3 different teams
7 Drivers on the podium through the season (Lotus Renault spoiling the Red Bull/McLaren/Ferrari) lock out)
15 Poles for Sebastian Vettel - a new record for poles in a single season
18 Poles for Red Bull with only Lewis Hamilton spoiling the Red Bull lock out in Korea
Most race laps completed by (rookie) Paul di Resta - 1105, 7 more than Fernando Alonso
1105 (spookily) pit stops through the season

Much to the annoyance of F1 fans across the globe the Bahraini government decided shooting its own citizens was a proportionate measure for them asking for such a trivial thing as a democratic government so the hugely popular (with Bernie Ecclestone at least - Kerching!) season opener was cancelled and we all had to wait until the end of March and Australia (who only shoot Aboriginals so that's okay).

Ferrari annoyed Ford by giving their new car the same name as a truck Ford sell in the US market. As it turns out, the F150 handle about as well as an SUV and it wasn't until the British Grand Prix that Ferrari had a race winner, after the FIA had handicapped all the other front running teams by banning their exhaust blown diffusers.

Vettel pole, Vettel win in Melbourne and the pattern was set for the remainder of the year although the new tyres from Pirelli certainly got people talking and the introduction of DRS proved about as popular as marmite. It looked like the season would be about tyre management with the Pirelli covers lasting about as long as a new batch of deep fried Mars bars in a Glasgow chip shop. Vettel pretty much dominated the rest of the season and eventually lifted the title with a 3rd place in Japan. His lowest race finish all season was 4th in Germany, quite an astonishing series of results and with team mate Mark Webber struggling to get his Red Bull into gear at the start of every race and then having tyre management problems he wasn't seriously threatened by anyone throughout the season. Back to back World Titles was a just reward for the young German. Webber capped off his season with a win in Brazil but his car number reflected his position at Red Bull.

Red Bull’s closest challengers were the Silver and Red cars at McLaren Mercedes who managed 6 wins equally split between Lewis and Jenson. Button seemed to grow hugely during his 2nd season at Woking and beat Hamilton in the driver’s championship. Lewis had a topsy turvey season peppered with personal problems, poor management and on track penalties. By season end he appeared to recover his mojo and declared his victory in Abu Dhabi to be his “greatest ever”, much as the win in Germany had been in July, and the one in China in April… Jenson appeared to develop a very close relationship with Martin Whitmarsh in 2011, with MW showering him with praise at every possible opportunity often after being beaten by Lewis. Ron Dennis turned up a few races and driver/team principal love affair was rebalanced.

Over at Ferrari Felipe Massa discovered what it means to be a team mate of Fernando Alonso and the FIFTY instruction meted out in Germany last year seemed to put Felipe into a very dark place. To help him exorcise his demons he decided to take every chance to run into Lewis Hamilton during a race, but this only served to make him more miserable. Eventually Lewis gave Felipe a hug in the garage in Brazil which solved global warming, cured the problems of starvation in Africa and allowed Little Mix to win X Factor, miracle upon miracle. Fernando, meanwhile, was raised to demi-god status by the Ferrari management and proved his worth by trouncing the field at Silverstone after Jean Todt has shoved a metaphorical potato up the exhaust pipes of the front running teams. Normal service was resumed at the next race although Fernando did drag his car up to 2nd, well done him.

Everything else in 2011 was a bit meh! Did I mention Vettel was World Champion, no, well he was. Torro Rosso thought their drivers did such a great job they sacked them both at the end of the season. Paul di Resta was hyped to such a level by the BBC that his incomprehensible diction during interviews was drowned out by the gushing of the presenters. Slasher Sutil decided to take leave of Force India and take his fruit juice money to another team (amazing what a 65p Capri Sun can buy you these days). Sauber decided that letting their drivers go round on the canvas carcass of the tyres was the only way to score points, some times it worked more often it didn’t. Williams limped around at the back with lots of promises of “jam tomorrow” from new Technical bod Mike Coughlan, fresh from a visit to pronto print. They helped themselves greatly by waving ta, ta to Sam Michaels who, for some incomprehensible reason, found a new job at McLaren.

HRT carried on where they left off in 2010 with their driver hokey kokey. Daniel Ricciardo found his way into the team with a bag full of Red Bull cash and Vitantonio Liuzzi did such a good job they’ve replaced him with Pedro de la Rosa for 2012 (yes, seriously). Both Lotus teams had highs and lows. Lotus Renault hit the highs with podiums in the first two races and then decided that their car must be good enough and didn’t develop it any further deciding to blame Nick Heidfeld instead and sacking him. This brought Bruno Senna into the team which was about as impressive as Nigel Mansell’s return at McLaren. In fairness to Lotus Renault they did suffer from the loss of Robert Kubica pre-season. Having mouthed off all year about how there would always be a seat for Robert at Lotus Renault they signed Kimi Raikkonen for 2012; presumably Robert’s P45 is in the post with his Christmas card.

The highs for Team Lotus Renault were mainly in the motor home as they quaffed copious amounts of Jarno Trulli’s wine (what other reason could there be for letting him sit in one of their cars). Jarno bitched and moaned for most of the year about not having power steering, maybe a bit of time in the gym might help Jarno? Heikki Kovalainen proved what most of us knew, he a very good driver at a back marking team just don’t put him into a car which might win a race.

Virgin finally wised up in 2011 and decided not to call themselves Virgin for 2012. Oh, and they sacked Nick Wirth, who designs cars on a ZX Spectrum, and signed a deal to let McLaren make them for them instead. Timo Glock smiled a lot and muttered that next year would be better. Jerome d’Ambrosio can’t even console himself with that thought after Virgin gave him the push.

Who have I forgotten about? Mercedes! Yes, they are probably trying to forget about 2011 as well. Schumie looked a bit better, Rosberg the same – net result, a repeat of 2010. Norbert Haug must be wondering if he has to spend another winter in the cooler at Daimler Benz HQ as punishment.

So there you have it. F1 2011 summed up. Vettel World Champion (again) and I didn’t mention that there was a great race in India which everyone loved. Bugger, I just have.
not sure about the Aussie bit though.

Not that I want to drive this off topic but here's a few links on the treatment of the indiginous people of Australia by the white settlers.


The point I was trying to make is that although we (rightfully) get upset at the excesses of the Bahrain government in their suppression of the democracy movement very few (any?) of the countries which host Grands Prix have exemplarary human rights records, apart from maybe Canada. There are things we might be able to tolerate because they happen behind closed doors but it doesn't make them right.

Anyway, enough of my pontificating.
The point I was trying to make is that although we (rightfully) get upset at the excesses of the Bahrain government in their suppression of the democracy movement very few (any?) of the countries which host Grands Prix have exemplarary human rights records, apart from maybe Canada.

I was going to say what has Germany ever done wrong in the human rights record...
The point I was trying to make is that although we (rightfully) get upset at the excesses of the Bahrain government in their suppression of the democracy movement very few (any?) of the countries which host Grands Prix have exemplarary human rights records, apart from maybe Canada. There are things we might be able to tolerate because they happen behind closed doors but it doesn't make them right.

Does the Acadia mess of the 18th-19th Centuries count against Canada? Also, I'm not sure Monaco has a poor human rights record...
Yeah, alright, I'll give you Monaco LOL

In response to Boyle, the Germans have been pretty well behaved since 1945 although I think they may have some involvement in cases of CIA rendition. This is an interesting website if you want to look more into different countries human rights records. Quite ironic that it's from the US State Department **cough** Guantanamo Bay **cough**

apart from maybe Canada.

There were actually indigenous Canadians before the setters turned up, they weren't exactly treated well (from wiki):

From the late 18th century, European Canadians encouraged Aboriginals to assimilate into their own culture, referred to as "Canadian culture".[111][112] These attempts reached a climax in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with forced integration. Because of laws and policies that encouraged or required Aboriginals to assimilate into a Eurocentric society, Canada may be violating the United Nations Genocide Convention that Canada signed in 1949 and passed through Parliament in 1952.[113] The residential school system that removed Aboriginal children from their homes for placement in Christian-run schools has led scholars to believe that Canada can be tried in international court for genocide.[113] In 2008 Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued an apology on behalf of the Canadian government and its citizens for the residential school system
I think we have to accept what happened is in the past - no Nation is without blame, particularly in the 'Age of Imperialism'. Aren't we now supposed to be within or very close to the 'Age of Aquarius' - all is forgotten and let's concentrate on what we have - so let's try to shift the current ****s.
Just an aged hippie view :) and, sorry, totally off topic.
Excellent review FB some very witty prose, in fact your review was more exciting to read than the season was to watch.
Not really, Buemi, di Resta and Perez qualified the car where it should have been regularly, the same could be said for Massa. Maldonado wasn't bad in qualifying either...

Well, Toro Rosso were quicker as a team on racedays, the Saubers were generally out of pit-stop sync with everyone. Button and Barrichello both underperformed in qualifying, and I think its fair to say Massa got caught up in too many incidents.
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