Last week I started my review of the 2012 Formula One Season by ranking the teams in my view from 12th to 7th. I am concluding the teams review with the better half of the table this week with places 6th to 1st.
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.
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 have support for 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.
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.
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 - they 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.
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.
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.
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.
Next week, I will start the mammoth countdown of how I order the 24 drivers in F1 this year. One thing to reveal now is that Sebastian Vettel is not ranked number one!