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PF1’s 2012 Predictions - The Results

2012-11-30 09:35:03

It’s that time of the year when the PF1 crew look back on a thrilling F1 season - and pay out on a few bets won or lost

PF1’s 2012 Predictions - The Results

Michelle Foster, Andrew Davies, Frank Hopkinson, Shahida Jacobs and Julia Harris put forward their expert opinions at the start season and some hit and others missed (badly).

01.Drivers’ title - The Championship was won by Sebastian Vettel
MF: Sebastian Vettel. I just can’t see anyone beating him. - 1 point
AD: Sebastian Vettel. He just keeps getting better and better and ultimately he’s spent more time working out how the Pirelli tyres work and less of it telling his engineer that he knows best. This will be another season of figuring them out. - 1 point
FH: Lewis Hamilton. Because in a season that looks set to be close, Hamilton’s ability to overtake will get him places. As long as he has learnt the lesson that you can’t throw a car into a gap and expect the other driver to jump out of the way - as he did with Maldonado last year in Monaco. - 0 point
SH: You really can’t look past Seb Vettel. - 1 point
JH: Adrian Newey? Check. Red Bull it is then with Sebastian Vettel once again dominating - but not to the extent they did last year. - 1 point

02. Constructors’ title - The Championship was won by Red Bull
MF: McLaren. If their car is good, which is looks like it is, then they have the strongest driver pairing of the top four teams. - 0 point
AD: Red Bull. But it’ll be a lot closer than 2011 obviously. - 1 point
FH: McLaren. I think both McLaren drivers will be contenders for the drivers’ title for longer, which will keep their team score up. Given that there is an underlying favouritism towards Vettel at Red Bull they’re probably going to swing behind him a lot earlier than McLaren could ever back just one driver. We didn’t see the consequence of this much last year because Vettel was so far ahead of Webber. It’s still there, though. We saw it at Silverstone where Mark was closing hard on Seb towards the end of the race and had to be advised by the kindly Mr. Horner what the finishing order had to be. - 0 point
SH: McLaren - They have two very strong drivers. - 0 point
JH: Red Bull. Ferrari appear to be struggling and Massa would need to lift his game incredibly to help the Scuderia to the title and that’s unlikely to happen. McLaren are the Bulls’ greatest rival in this one and if Webber struggles the men from Woking could sneak it. - 1 point

03. Will Massa win a grand prix? - He didn’t, but he did reach the podium
MF: Love to say yes but right now one has to wonder if either Ferrari driver will win as there is much negativity coming from the team. - 1 point
AD: The heart says ‘yes’ but the head says ‘are you serious?’. It would be great for F1 if he could win a race and win a race early (and he’s always been pretty good round Bahrain if it goes ahead). But realistically, given that Ferrari look to be playing catch-up with the F2012, it’s likely that a win will only come after a lot more development of the car, by which time Fernando will be very agitated about scoring the big points. - 1 point
FH: No. But I’d be interested to see the odds on it. If it was better than 3 to 1 it might be worth a punt. - 1 point
SH: He will probably fail to make it onto the podium again this year. - 0 point
JH: No. It would be great if he did but I just can’t see it happening. Even when the Brazilian gets into good positions he just doesn’t seem that convincing. - 1 point

04. Top rookie (Pic, Vergne, Grosjean, Ricciardo) - Grosjean based on points and points only
MF: Romain Grosjean. The Lotus looks really good and he seems to have grown a lot during his title-winning GP2 season so I’m backing this Frenchman. - 1 point
AD: When making predictions you have to bear in mind Michelle Foster’s likely scoring system in November 2012. I’m going to say it’s definitely going to be a Frenchman - though technically speaking Ricciardo and Grosjean’s result should only be taken up to half season. I’m going to stick my neck out (even further than Romain’s) and say Jean-Eric Vergne will be the best rookie driver. And even further, he will be the next Red Bull driver after Mark Webber retires. - 0 point
FH: Romain Grosjean has been impressive in testing and the Lotus looks to be up there with Mercedes and even Ferrari (On the Friday of the last Barcelona test), so he’ll score the most points of any rookie. - 1 point
SH: Lotus F1 are looking solid so you have to go for Grosjean. - 1 point
JH: Grosjean. Best car of the quartet and he has some time in F1 under his belt already. - 1 point

05. Top returnee former World Champ (Schumacher, Raikkonen)? - None contest, it was Raikkonen
MF: Schumacher. I won’t even justify why. - 0 point
AD: I think Raikkonen may have the better of Schumacher at first, but then through the season Michael will peg Kimi back to scrape home in front. The W03 was launched late and despite everyone from Norbert Haug to Nico Rosberg saying that it was good to wait and launch the car when it was ready, at first it will be behind the Lotus. Given that Mercedes now have the combined talents of Alberto Costa (Ferrari), Geoff Willis (Williams etc) and Bob Bell (Renault) backing up the design team it’s hard to think that they’ll fail to out-develop the Lotus through the season. The harder question would have been: will Michael go on another year? - 0 point
FH: Raikkonen looks to have got back in the swing of F1 a lot easier than Michael did. The ‘new Kimi’ is even appearing on Top Gear next week. Wonder if Clarkson’s going to ask him about the gorilla suit? Last year Renault made the mistake of going down a design cul-de-sac and couldn’t follow up on some stunning early-season pace. It’s unlikely they’ll make the same mistake this year and so Mercedes will have to watch out. Kimi to edge it. - 1 point
SH: Schumacher. Michelle didn’t hold a knife to my throat, I swear. - 0 point
JH: Raikkonen. The Lotus is looking good (but then again it did in pre-season last year too…) and Kimi appears to have slipped seamlessly back into F1 too. - 1 point

06. Top established Indie: (Lotus F1, Sauber, Williams, Force India, Toro Rosso) - Lotus
MF: Lotus F1. They’ve looked really good in testing and it can’t all be wrong can it? - 1 point
AD: Lotus. In this order: Lotus, Force India, Toro Rosso, Sauber, Williams. And what’s more I truly hope I’m wrong. - 1 point
FH: It isn’t too big a gamble putting Lotus at the top seeing as they would have taken it under the guise of Renault in 2011, but who comes next is going to be the big one. This will also be the season where Caterham joins this group. - 1 point
SH: Lotus F1. - 1 point
JH: Lotus should take this one fairly easily but then I’m not convinced the former Renault team are really an ‘Indie’ team. Force India will be the next best, picking off from a string end to 2011. - 1 point

07. Will Vettel break his pole position record of 15? - He didn’t
MF: No. I honestly believe (and hope and pray and rain dance and whatever else is needed) that this season will be closer both in qualifying and grands prix. - 1 point
AD: Only if they add another eight grands prix to the calendar. - 1 point
FH: Given that all the signs from testing are that the grid has closed up it would be some feat for Sebastian to repeat his 2011 qualifying dominance. Although in many races he took pole by quite some margin, there were races when even he didn’t think he was going to get pole and he got it. So it’s highly unlikely. - 1 point
SH: No, the title fight will be much closer this year. - 1 point
JH: No. He may come close but such an exceptional showing is unlikely to be improved on. - 1 point

08. Will all the teams see out the season? - They did but barely
MF: Yip. I have concerns about HRT but I think they’ll come through. - 1 point
AD: Yes. We’re on the brink of a new Concorde agreement (the commercial agreement which defines how much the teams get paid) and it’s widely expected that teams are going to be increasing their revenue streams by 2013. So it would have to be something pretty cataclysmic for a team to stop. - 1 point
FH: Yes. Will FOTA see out the season with all its members? And will some teams rejoin? - 1 point
SH: Yes. - 1 point
JH: Yes, but seeing out the season and being competitive are two very different things unfortunately. - 1 point

09. How long before the new rule about leaving space when returning to the racing line after taking a defensive position causes controversy? - It didn’t
MF: I’d give one race so Australia as it’s a rule that is bound to cause contention. It really is a case of sooner rather than later one driver is going to whip out that measuring tape and want it to the exact millimetre. - 0 point
AD: From the Australian Grand Prix onwards. This is a rule that’s likely to be refined and re-defined all year. Explaining it is going to be as easy as getting Americans to understand cricket, or Brits to understand baseball statistics. And I speak as someone who’s just been introduced to the tactical complexities of 1st and 3rd base coaches. - 0 point
FH: They’ve had two goes at explaining it so far and it’s going to be a point of contention right from the start, especially at a tight circuit like Melbourne. - 0 point
SH: Malaysian GP. - 0 point
JH: Given that the season-opener is in Australia where overtaking is possible, it come under fire as soon as the racing gets underway. - 0 point

10. Which of the three newer outfits (Caterham, Marussia, HRT) will score a point this season? - None of them
MF: Caterham is the only one likely to and I’ll even go as far as to say it could be more than just one point. - 0 point
AD: Caterham. And they might do it as early as the first race when reliability is key and where teams are still working to understand their cars. I was reading an interview with Vitaly Petrov and he said that he was hoping that the team would make it into the Top 10 this season. Hopefully the Caterham team PR will have enlightened him by now… - 0 point
FH: Caterham and only Caterham. Mr.Crocodile will snap up those points. - 0 point
SH: Caterham are the only one with a realistic chance. - 0 point
JH: If any of them do it will be Caterham, the other two will be struggling just to get going! For the past two years they have been the better of the three and early signs suggest that this year will be no different. - 0 point

11. Will Hamilton and Massa continue their ‘magnetic’ on-track relationship? - They didn’t
MF: Hmm, I hope not because that is just a waste for both drivers. Hamilton has too much talent to be bumping into other drivers (but that doesn’t mean he won’t do it again this season) while Massa has too much riding on this season’s results. So hopefully both will keep cool heads and make room. - 1 point
AD: No. Not if Lewis is serious about winning a World Championship. Neither can afford to indulge in bargeboard swapping this year. Massa needs to keep his drive for 2013 and Hamilton says he wants the Drivers’ title. To a large extent Hamilton’s Taz-like charges through the field last year were driven by the inferiority of the McLaren and the superiority of the Red Bull. (Apologies for the football analogy coming up) Like a team that goes behind 2-0 in a cup tie which has to go on all-out attack, they sometimes lose 5-0. And that was Lewis after a series of Vettel wins. - 1 point
FH: No. They might have one or two moments, but the ‘crashing out’ should be a thing of the past. Lewis could well find new people to crash into this year and spread the love. - 1 point
SH: No, Massa might just be too far down the pack this year. - 1 point
JH: Probably not. If they do it’s likely to be in the second half of the season when frustrations start to get the better of both of them. - 1 point

12. The season’s complete liability will be…? - HRT
MF: HRT. I admire their tenacity but surely that is millions better spent elsewhere? - 1 point
AD: The new overtaking rule and the varying implementation of it by the stewards. - 0 point
FH: F1 politics will kick in once again. There’s probably going to be some shenanigans about deliberate misfires induced into engine mapping (we’ve seen the first seeds of doubt raised at Barcelona), the FOTA negotiations with Bernie over the Concorde agreement and there may well be political pressure put on Pirelli if their degrading tyres are suiting just a couple of teams. - 1 point
SH: Marussia. - 0 point
JH: The HRTs, closely followed by the two Marussia cars. - 1 point

13. What will be the biggest controversy of the campaign? - Red Bull’s legality/Ferrari’s end of season ‘clarification’ request
MF: I know we are having exhaust issues again ahead of the start but those will fade away really fast. And I reckons Hamilton is going to stay out of major trouble so it won’t be technical and it won’t be driver related so I’m going with the Concorde Agreement. It’s that time in the F1 cycle when teams must agree a new deal as the existing one is about to expire. And we all know if there is one thing that is certain it is that the teams cannot agree and they especially cannot agree with Bernie. - 0 point
AD: Intra team-mate rivalries. With the cars very close, the team-mates could be equally close and this could spill over into intra-team spats. But not at Marussia. - 0 point
FH: Rows over the new Concorde agreement. History will repeat itself and Ferrari will sign up to the new deal early and there’ll be a lot of huffing and puffing and politicking. There always is. - 0 point
SH: Alonso throwing his toys out of the cot with Ferrari struggling. - 1 point
JH: The new rules regarding returning to the racing line. The regulating of it is sure to provide plenty of talking points and you can be sure there will be some disagreements. - 0 point

14. Will Schumacher obtain that first podium finish of his comeback? - He was third in Valencia
MF: Yes. I believe Mercedes have taken a step forward and I believe in Schumacher. No matter what! - 1 point
AD: Yes. And there won’t be a dry eye in the house. - 1 point
FH: As Elvis said - it’s now or never. He’ll do it. Will we get the Schumi leap for 2nd or 3rd place? It’d be a pity to waste the opportunity. - 1 point
SH: Yes. Okay Michelle you can move away from my desk now. - 1 point
JH: No. Too much competition - both from his team-mate and the teams that have the edge on Mercedes. - 0 point

15. Hamilton or Button? - Hamilton by two points
MF: Button. He has a calmer head and has slowly but surely pushed his way into the number one slot at McLaren. I used to say Button only won the title with Brawn because of the car but after watching him last season I’ve re-evaluated my opinion and apologise. - 0 point
AD: Hamilton - because qualifying could make a big difference and Jenson hasn’t demonstrated that he’s a match for Lewis yet. - 1 point
FH: Hamilton. They were close last year despite a combination of bad luck, inconsistent stewards, and some poor decisions from Lewis. Jenson will be there or thereabouts but as Mark Webber ably demonstrated last year if you regularly qualify behind your team-mate, it’s a struggle to get past. - 1 point
SH: Button as everything seems to be falling into place for him. - 0 point
JH: It all depends on Hamilton’s state of mind. Button is guaranteed to be cool, calm and collected and if Hamilton can follow his lead he should pip his countryman. Expect Hamilton to bounce back strongly after a poor 2011, he has a lot to prove. - 1 point

16. Will the US Grand Prix in Texas prove to be bigger and better? - It was
MF: It has to be. If this race fails F1 is done in America as, after one New Jersey GP of awesome backdrop, New Jersey will quickly lose its appeal. - 1 point
AD: I hope so. It’s the one I’m looking forward to the most. The first time we will have raced at a proper F1 circuit in the States since Watkins Glen, so it will be fantastic to see it go ahead. - 1 point
FH: Yes. Expect to see a lot of Perez fans. - 1 point
SH: Doubt it. - 0 point
JH: Expect a solid showing first up with the event improving next year. - 1 point

17. Which circuit will be dropped before the end of the season? - Valencia
MF: Please Valencia. Please. It’s boring, useless and doesn’t even look good. I can’t believe Spa may alternate with France. That is a travesty. Get rid of Valencia! - 1 point
AD: Valencia. They can’t afford it and nobody outside Spain likes it much. - 1 point
FH: Korea will need a massive injection of money to keep going. - 0 point
SH: Valencia. We all live in hope. - 1 point
JH: Well according to Bernie that will be either Valencia or Barcelona. Bahrain will go ahead despite the protests and the US will come through and return to the fray. - 1 point

18. Daniel Ricciardo or Jean-Eric Vergne? - Vergne by six points
MF: Jean-Eric Vergne. Another close one but Daniel did not really impress with his HRT drive. I expected him to destroy Liuzzi. He didn’t. - 1 point
AD: Jean-Eric Vergne. But I still think it’s a pity that Red Bull didn’t have the balls to put Buemi and Alguersuari in a run-off against them. - 1 point
FH: Jean-Eric Vergne. Absolument. - 1 point
SH: Ricciardo by virtue of his experience. - 0 point
JH: Ricciardo. A bit more experience should do the trick for the Australian. The duo are familiar with each other having been team-mates in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2010 and this should prove an intriguing tussle. - 0 point

19. Paul di Resta or Nico Hulkenberg? - Hulkenberg by 17
MF: Nico Hulkenberg but only by a hair. I rate Hulkenberg but I reckon di Resta will have the edge at the start of the season while Nico finds his feet. But after he’s settled in it will be Hulkenberg all the way. - 1 point
AD: Paul di Resta - but they will be very close. - 0 point
FH: Both have a season of racing, but di Resta has more experience of racing Pirelli tyres. That should give him the edge. - 0 point
SH: Hulkenberg. - 1 point
JH: Hulkenberg. Di Resta didn’t set the world on fire against Adrian Sutil last year and Hulkenberg will be itching to prove he should never have been dropped by Williams. - 1 point

20. Best success story of 2012 will be…? - Vettel’s third title/Perez’s podiums/Raikkonen’s Abu Dhabi win
MF: Sebastian Vettel claiming his third titles in three years. It won’t be an exciting story for the rest of us unless his rivals at least make him work for it (which I believe they will). But what a story it will be! - 1 point
AD: Pirelli tyres again. Paul Hembery and his crew delivered great racing last year and he’s got so much data now, plus he’s smiling the smile of someone who is quietly confident. We have so much to thank Bridgestone for quitting when they did. - 1 point
FH: Red Bull to make it three in a row. (Yawn). - 1 point
SH: It will be more of a feel good story when Schumacher wins a race. - 0 point
JH: Williams and Force India narrowing the gap to those in front of them and proving the midfield runners are not to be underestimated. I hope. - 0 point

The Results
Michelle Foster 14
Julia Harris 14
Andrew Davies 13
Frank Hopkinson 13
Shahida Jacobs 10

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