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It’s Top Gear Formula One 2012 bingo!

  1. By first practice we’ll have learnt a little, come the end of the Australian Grand Prix, a little more. Come November, however, we’ll know for certain; after so-so 2011 seasons, 2012 is set to be a bloodbath for the reputations of so many drivers, managers, designers and teams. So bookmark this page, see it as a guide to stories we’ll be covering on Sunday Afternoon Club that mark out this year’s championship.

    Alternatively, see it as a game, a return of our much-liked ‘Grand Prix Bingo’ slot, only this one you can play all year long. Or maybe not. If this lot have a really bad weekend, we might have to hand out prizes on Monday. Which means we better get thinking of one…

  2. Admit it, much as we all want to be him, we thought JB would be monstered by Lewis. And sure enough in 2010 he was, sort of. But last year? 2012 could be the making of Jenson Button and, necessarily, the, er, un-making of Lewis. It’s Jenson’s team now, and that must hurt Lewis. Mark your card when you hear the first mention of Lewis moving teams, possibly to Red Bull.

  3. The F2012’s issues might just save Felipe Massa. Had it been reliably quick, and Massa as reliably off-the-pace as he was last year, few believed he’d see the season out. Ferrari management can be ruthless, even when planning a Presidential campaign, but will be preoccupied making a faster car for Alonso and not searching for a replacement, not-quite-as-fast team-mate.

  4. Is this the year we get the fairy tale? Is it heck. Blame the tyres (2010’s excuse) the front-end handling (last year’s…) but there’s no getting around the fact Schu’s not got it any more. ‘Nico is faster that you, Michael…’ and nobody in F1 thinks Rosberg’s that fast himself. Tick your card if we’re wrong - we’d love to see Michael win, truly - or when you finally see the chin drop.

  5. Martin Brundle loves racing and we love Martin Brundle. We thought he loved the BBC too, but a recent interview suggested not; Martin didn’t really go for the silly shirts and bonhomie at the Beeb. There will be a return to gravitas at Sky, Martin hopes. At Sky? Hard to detect in the pre-season shows. Keep an eye out then for the first time the old team-mates come face to face live on air, as they will. If you can still hold a pencil in the resulting chill, tick your card.

  6. Get ready for some heady Bromance, Sunday Afternooners. Top Gear has seen these two together now they’ve got rid of Dad (see previous slide) and only have Mad Uncle Eddie to keep them apart. Jake, you can tweet about your missus all you like and DC, keep up the fnarr fnarr on twitter, but we’ve seen the way you are together. And you will too, TopGear.commers.

  7. The story is that there are six teams that haven’t quite got the money in place to make it through the longest-ever F1 season. We can only assume that of those six, HRT is the one most anxious each time its credit card is swiped. Right now, on Thursday evening one of its cars was still being built. In the garage. In Australia. Given the circumstances, any sighting of an HRT gets you a point, plus an extra point for each subsequent race in the season.

  8. We might be wrong, but we think F1’s going to get legal in 2012. So far, so good; all the cars have been through scrutineering and the FIA’s enforcer has said all is good and legal. McLaren’s exhausts, Red Bull’s diffuser and even Mercedes’ F-duct rear wing. But we don’t know how well any of them works. Come qualifying and the race and any car showing dominant form, expect to see team bosses in deeply serious conversation with Whiting.

  9. One for the female Topgear.commers. Quite why the BBC has chosen to hide him on Radio Five Live we don’t know. We do know we admire his chops, having been sacked by Toro Rosso, to stick with F1 and not go looking for a sportscar or Indycar drive. Wonder why? Tick your card the first time you see Handsome Jaime hanging out chatting about, ooh, nothing much with any team boss.

  10. Top bloke, ripper and all that, but Mark Webber really wasn’t great in 2011 was he? The ‘thank you for your support’ win in Brazil aside, he just couldn’t hold a candle to Vettel. He says he’s better now (without explaining what was wrong with him) but we suspect this is his last year in F1’s best car. Tick your card when you hear Mark mention ‘options’ for 2013. He means retirement.

  11. Give yourself a tick each time you get a clear shot of a 2012 F1 car’s rear wing. In testing teams were throwing blankets over the wings of any car off-track even before they’d checked the drivers were okay. It is the battleground, aerodynamically speaking, this year. And now we know why; Mercedes has apparently reinvented the F-duct, only this time without the intervention of the driver’s knee/elbow/hand/arse. Others will follow.

  12. Oh, the loss of innocence. With every new season, with every step up the ladder to global superstardom, Seb’s hair gets more ‘done’. We can only assume in the early days at Toro Rosso or the first season at Red Bull, he clearly didn’t care about his barnet. There is no other explanation. Since then, each year, the Red Bull team crimper has been given more freedom. Score a point if you spot a tell-tale white daub of product .

  13. Yes. The biggest reputational question left ‘til last. Kimi was fast, really fast. Then he wasn’t. Getting beaten by Felipe Massa was not cool. He stopped caring. But now he does, or so it seems. He’s silenced almost all the sceptics with his commitment and pace in testing. But as we’ve said more than once, testing is testing and racing is racing. We’ll find out very soon now.

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