Sebastian Vettel was touted as the favourite going into 2012 but after seven races completed there is not one but several favourites.
The season has been unpredictable, exciting to some confusing to others and a little controversial. It has been a different season of Formula 1 unlike the recent season of the sport where one or two teams dominated the season making others look silly at times.
It is debatable whether the team’s engineering and innovations that took their cars ability beyond other teams reach was more exciting or to see the teams fight it out with similar technological machinery leaving behind drivers, strategies, weather conditions and a bit of luck decide the victor of a race.
2012 has been a flat plateau of teams battling it out with similar strength cars, as FIA regulations eliminated much of the advantages that teams could find to gain advantage over other teams.
The situation has led to teams and drivers have different approach to the season. Peter Sauber owner and Principal of Sauber thinks the season is the most exciting he has ever witnessed in the history of the sport. While that statement may be exaggerated it is a feeling that many fans of the sport carry because of the dull dominating seasons in previous years.
Red Bull had a good run in 2010 and 2011 the team won twelve Grands Prix in 2011 easily dominating other teams and taking both Constructors’ and the Drivers’ title with ease. This year it is finding it difficult to defend both those titles. While that may be exciting to some, but McLaren driver Jenson Button feels it has confused the average fan.
He felt that fans are unable to predict possible winners in the season as there have been seven different winners out of the seven Grands Prix competed so far. Button feels that the situation is confusing and unattractive for the fans.
Even though there has been no clear pattern to the wins so far in the season as Pastor Maldonado from Williams also claimed a maiden victory something that was unthinkable for the team in recent previous years. It seems that the season favourites are shaping up now.
Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari are clearly in the hunt for the titles this year. The top three spots of the season are also held by drivers from those teams. Lewis Hamilton is leading the table followed by Fernando Alonso who is only two points behind the Brit. At third place is Vettel who is only one point behind the Spaniard.
There are other teams still in contention with a little more than an outside chance to take one or both the titles. Mercedes and Lotus are two teams which have shown the potential and the promise to be challenging for top spots. Nico Rosberg has already won Mercedes a Grand Prix and has been consistent enough to be placed fifth in the drivers standing. Lotus has had consistent performances from both Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean and have claimed a few podium finishes to keep their hunt alive.
Whether the season is confusing or exciting it has made the competitive nature of the teams and the drivers come out and that can only be good for the sport.
It will be very interesting to see how long it takes for the season to see a repeat winner, and how the battle between the top five teams takes shape as the season progresses.