Features Formula One 2012 Season Review: the Teams

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The 2012 season draws to a close and Sebastian Vettel wins his third consecutive World Drivers' Championship in a car that has taken its third consecutive World Constructors Championship, Red Bull-Renault. Kimi Raikkonen said earlier this year in what was one of his best quotes of the year: “The winner is the one who scores the most". That does not necessarily mean that they ranked the best through the year – at least in my view. So, over the next series of blogs I present my top teams and drivers of 2012.  First up, the teams…

12th: HRT-Cosworth: Not much to say, sadly
HRT started the season unable to qualify for the first round and ended the year openly stating they were facing bankruptcy and seeking a buyer. Do a Google search  for HRT…you don't get Hispania Racing Team as a number 1 search result. The inappropriate acronym and the team from Spain are going the same way as their nation's economy. They won't be on the grid in 2013, certainly not in the same guise as they are now. I hope there is success in finding a replacement therapy though, as I am sure there is a lot of talent in that team.
 

Score: 0/10
Championship Position: 12th
Championship Points: 0
Best Finish: 15th (x1)
2013 Objective: N/A

11th: Torro Rosso-Ferrari: The Italian bull is more of a cow
Another year goes by in what is effectively the Red Bull junior team and it’s been a rather nondescript year. In truth, I don't get Torro Rosso – they may share the same owner, and are supposed to be the feeder team for Red Bull, but I don't see any driver of theirs obtaining a Red Bull seat in the future. They struggled all year to get into Qualifying 2 on a regular basis, below average mid-field team.

Score: 2/10
Championship Position: 9th
Championship Points: 26
Best Finish: 8th (x4)
2013 Objective: Define their purpose

10th: Caterham-Renault: Still needing to make their point

Score: 3/10
Championship Position: 10th
Championship Points: 0
Best Finish: 11th (x1)
2013 Objective: Simple. Finish in the top 10 of at least one race.

9th: Mercedes AMG Petronas F1: Early potential turns to a dismal final year for their national hero
Massively disappointing. They started the year in fine form, and were being touted as potential title contenders and with their overdue win in China achieved… their season went to pot. Unreliability, poor overall pace and losing the development battle resulted in their worst season to date. Michael Schumacher heads to retirement whilst their best asset yet joins them in 2013 in the form of Lewis Hamilton.

Score: 4/10
Championship Position: 5th
Championship Points: 142
Best Finish: 1st (x1)
2013 Objective: To provide Lewis Hamilton (and Nico Rosberg) with a car to demonstrate his talents.

8th: Marussia-Cosworth: Over achieved in an under-resourced car
The battle at the bottom end of the grid was as tightly fought as the front end. Never has a fight for 11th place in a race been so interesting (Brazilian GP). For gaining a single 11th place would have given Marussia approximately £10m. That spoil went to Caterham in the end, but for a team that has less resources, no KERS, and effectively started from scratch again this year (they also had no pre-season winter testing) to even take a fight to Caterham was mightily impressive. A great season, and I think they show greater potential than Caterham in 2013.

Score: 4/10
Championship Position: 11th
Championship Points: 0
Best Finish: 12th (x2)
2013 Objective: Unleash the potential.

7th: Force India-Mercedes: Mid-field team showing no sign of leaving mid-field
Force India seems to be rooted to the mid pack, with little or no sign of being able to show they can move into the front runners. They have a car that has pace at some circuits and had a driver pairing this year that could manage a decent car, but the gap to the front is still a bit too big. I do feel they are losing their best asset in Nico Hulkenberg in 2013, and I have no doubt that 2013 will show some glimpses of promise – but whether its development, money or infrastructure, something needs to happen to take Force India to the front.

Score: 5/10
Championship Position: 7th
Championship Points: 109
Best Finish: 4th (x2)
2013 Objective: Use the force (Luke)…but better.
 
6th: Sauber-Ferrari: The unassuming Swiss team takes a new direction
In its 20th year, Peter Sauber officially handed the reins of the Sauber F1 team over to Monisha Kaltenborn – the

first female Team Principal in F1's history. This in the  same year that Sauber has shown impressive pace, mixing it in with the traditional front runners numerous times – coming close to winning in Malaysia and Italy. Sergio Perez is now McLaren bound and a new line-up awaits in 2013, but a great 2012 nonetheless.
Score: 5.5/10
Championship Position: 6th
Championship Points: 126
Best Finish: 2nd (x2)
2013 Objective: Build on 2012 success and continue in new direction.

5th: McLaren-Mercedes: The wait for Constructors Championship glory hits 14 years…

*Sigh* As a Brit, I will always support the British teams, especially when they have a British driver. McLaren went into 2012 with a good car, winning the first race and showing good speed. They went on to win seven races (the same number as Red Bull) but also had seven retirements and a shocking number of errors in pit and race strategy. They should have won both titles but (again) they didn't. Their driver Lewis Hamilton has decided that McLaren is not the team to provide him with a second world title, and I feel the team are losing their best asset. 2013 will be a very interesting one for the Woking-based team.
Score: 6/10
Championship Position: 3rd
Championship Points: 378
Best Finish: 1st (x7)
2013 Objective: To prove Lewis Hamilton made an error in career choice.

4th: Williams-Renault: The phoenix is rising from the ashes
Yes! Williams back on the top step of the podium, winning their 114th Grand Prix and first since 2004. Not only that, but they have shown true pace at many races this year. 2012 has seemed like a rebirth of the team, and I'm genuinely excited about their potential in 2013. Their championship placing doesn't show their true worth and someone needs to cool the temperament of Pastor Maldonado as a few lesser aggressive moves would have resulted in more points from the impressive Venezuelan. But nonetheless, they are back in the winner's circle and one to watch next year.

Score: 7/10
Championship Position: 8th
Championship Points: 76
Best Finish: 1st (x1)
2013 Objective: Build on 2012, regular podiums and a win would be equally rewarding.

3rd: Ferrari: The team owes a lot to a Spaniard named Fernando Alonso
Ferrari did not have the quickest car this year, yet they finished runner-up in both championships. They only won three races even, but Fernando Alonso's driving ability and composure on track came to the fore and kept the Scuderia in with a chance of taking the title. They created a car which was a handful to drive – their number 2 driver, Felipe Massa proved that. The talent is there at Ferrari though, and if they can develop a good car from the outset, then they will easily return to the dominance they have shown in the past – certainly with that Spaniard at the wheel.

Score: 8/10
Championship Position: 2nd
Championship Points: 400
Best Finish: 1st (x3)
2013 Objective: A quick car from round one, and a championship victory.

2nd: Lotus-Renault: The surprise of the season!
I toyed between Lotus and Red Bull for my number one team this year, but in the end Lotus is my runner-up. What an impressive year the team from Enstone have  had – reliable, quick, clever, exciting…but their most ingenious decision was to recruit Kimi Raikkonen. I'll talk about him in my Drivers review, but on the team's performances this year, they are the real challengers to the front-runners I feel. Let's not forget that this is the same team, in the guise of Renault, won the drivers and constructors titles twice in the last eight years. They know how to do it, and 2013 can't come soon enough.

Score: 9.5/10
Championship Position: 4th
Championship Points: 303
Best Finish: 1st (x1)
2013 Objective: Take the fight to the very front – but leave Kimi alone, he knows what he is doing.

1st: Red Bull Racing-Renault: The team should be renamed Adrian Newey-Renault
If any organisation or current racing team wants to see how to win in Formula One, they should look at how Red Bull have achieved this. It's not all about money (although it helps) but this team just look unstoppable. A lot of this is down to their chief designer in Adrian Newey. Red Bull won the title this year by winning the development race and dominating the latter half of the season. Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Lotus all have a great wealth of resource to develop their cars – they were simply outdone. Again. For that, Red Bull simply have been the best.

Score: 10/10
Championship Position: 1st
Championship Points: 460
Best Finish: 1st (x7)
2013 Objective: Four consecutive drivers and constructors titles? I'm looking forward to the rule changes in 2014 already.

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