The 2012 got off to an unpredictable start as 4 different drivers from 4 different teams have taken the win in each of the first 4 races. Here’s a summary of the 5 leading team’s 2012 journey so far.
The RB8 didn’t enjoy a dominant start to the season, compared to its predecessor the RB7, but Red Bull took the best out of what they had, managing a win in Bahrain, and a second place in Australia for Vettel, while teammate Webber finished 4th in the 4 races.
The car is clearly fast in the race, but lacks the one-lap qualifying pace, which could prove crucial this year seeing how close the teams are.
McLaren made a brilliant start to the season, locking out the front row in Australia and Malaysia, but extremely bad pit stops in all races bar Australia, and a sudden lack of pace in Bahrain, brought them a single victory out of a possible 4.
The MP4-27 is fast, arguably the fastest, but McLaren could lose critical championship points later on, if they do not solve their pit-stop cock-ups.
Lotus’ races in Australia, Malaysia and China were a complete disaster. Their E20 is a promising car, but strategic errors from the team, as well as different on-track accidents, masked the car’s true potential.
Bahrain, though, was a big turn of events for the team as both Raikkonen and Grosjean drove a splendid race to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Ferrari’s radical F2012 was an absolute catastrophe. Alonso took a surprising win in a wet Malaysian GP but that was down to luck more than anything else. Massa and Alonso struggled for grip in almost all occasions, while Ferrari admitted that their F2012 was 1 second off the pace.
The Italian team introduced a redesigned package in Mugello last week, in hopes of catching up with front-running teams.
The W03 looked like the only car capable of ending McLaren’s strong qualifying advantage, and it did just that in China, as Rosberg qualified on pole, and brought home the team’s first victory in 50 years.
The car’s race pace is still in doubt though; despite winning in China, Schumacher and Rosberg suffered from severe tyre degradation in other races.
The image is still unclear; most people in the paddock are labeling McLaren as the team to beat, but their performance in Bahrain showed otherwise; can they jump back? Was Lotus’ performance in Bahrain a one-off? Have Red Bull finally unlocked the full potential of their car? What’s happening at Ferrari?
All of these questions will be hopefully answered during the Spanish GP in Barcelona on Sunday.