Team 2012 summary:
Red Bull Racing
Great performance decline in the beginning of the season, more or less due to the lack of Exhaust Blown Diffusor. Great drive from Vettel and Webber throughout the season.
The RB8 was no longer a bullet proof car like the RB7 as multiple alternator failures and water leaks, that cost them a win in Valencia and several championship points.
The designers and engineers in Milton Keyes are the unsung hero of this championship. Along with chief designer Adrian Newey, they made the RB8 very competitive as McLaren. Also dominant win in India, Korea, and Japan. They simply won the Constructor Championship with great drivers in the beginning of the season, and development race later in the year.
All year long we had been talking about how FUGLY F2012 was. Not just ugly, it was more than a second slower than the front running McLarens and Red Bulls.
As an ugly duckling, Fernando Alonso literally drove the nut out from the car. The magician kept pulling something out of nowhere, and kept himself in the championship hunt until the very last race, the very last several laps.
There will be a lot of work to be done in Maranello, the engineering and design validation was their fundamental problem this season. Wind Tunnel simulation were all wrong. Also development was slow and ineffective. For the past three years, Alonso made Ferrari looked better than they were.
Second half of the season, great to see Felipe back on form and be competitive again!!! I don't think he will challenge Alonso and become championship hunting in 2013, but he can haul great points for the Scuderia for their Constructors Championship.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
The MP4-27 was quick in first race and duly won the season opener. Then for no apparent reason, they just trip their own foot with multiple pitstop blunders. Perhaps cost Hamilton a win in Malaysia and China. Then later in the season, various car failures cost them even more precious championship points. They fixed one problem, another failure popped up. Unlucky? Maybe.
It was a great opportunity wasted this season. McLaren could simply be in both championship hunting "if" Hamilton did win the races he dominated and lead comfortably.
Next year with Sergio Perez will be a big unknown, I wouldn't bet on them on Constructors Championship, but maybe Drivers if Button will have a competitive car in his liking.
Lotus F1 Team
From the ashes of Championship winning, they finally got a consistent competitive car. The E20 were constantly lurking behind the Red Bulls and McLarens and in the mix with the Ferraris. A few strategy problems in the beginning might cost them several points. Later in the season we saw more consistent performance from Kimi Raikkonen, and even picked up a win in Abu Dhabi.
Roman Grosjean got the pace but his wheel to wheel racing etiquette needs to be polished. Several brain fart moment from him made him famous of first lap terminator.
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1
Controversial Double DRS in the beginning of the season. Nico Rosberg's first win in China, was quite promising.
Then all went downhill from the team.
the rest three quarter of the season, they were extremely disappointing and scrapping points with lower tier teams like Toro Rosso.
With the scale of the team structure, financial backing, no excuses for such performance. They cannot just scrap the rest of the season every time once they are not competitive anymore.
Sad to see Michael Schumacher to retire again. But he said it was a three year plan. This time he retire in his career low, but perhaps its not that bad. Recent years we saw a more relaxed Schumi and more friendlier.
Sauber F1 Team
One of the best small mid-field team this season. Several podiums from Sergio Perez, and a podium in Japan for Kamui Kobayashi. They performed much better than most people expected. Personally, I think they should grab more points than Mercedes.
Sahara Force India F1 Team
So close for Nico Hulkenberg to win his and the team's first race in Brazil.
This is the team should have aim higher. But constantly we hear them saying P4 was a great result. They are just not competitive enough. I can see them hanging around mid-field next season.
Williams F1 Team
Switching to Renault proved to be a right more for Williams.
Chasing podium in Melbourne and a win in Spain proved they have a decent car in the beginning. However, just cannot catch up with the development.
Also Pastor just pushed a bit too much several times cost him valuable points, as well as many unnecessary red mist cost him grid positions several times.
Bruno Senna was consistently taking points, but disappointingly he just couldn't make the car set up the way he wish. As proven by Pastor, it can be competitive.
Scuderia Toro Rosso
STR just hiding under the radar all season. Nothing dramatic and dropping back to the last of the mid-fielders. Rumors had Red Bull trying to sell the team? Since RBR is no longer involved in STR's design and development.
Seemed like the future of the team will be a nurture ground for future Red Bull Racing.
Caterham F1 Team
Exact same situation as last year, fighting for P10 on Constructors Championship. They moved to a new facility during summer break, and hope they can have something that will constantly challenge the midfield like STR and Force India.
Wish they can keep Heikki Kovalainen next season.
Marussia F1 Team
They have yet to be competitive at the moment, and I do not expect them to be surprise next season.
HRT F1 Team
Not just back-markers, they even fell off the pace from both Caterham and Marussia. They are the least prepared team in the beginning of the season, and in the end they even unable to participate in Friday Practice. Now the team is up for sale. We might not see the cucumber driving next season.