Date: 28th December 2012 at 1:23pm
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The 2012 Formula One World Championship will probably be forever remembered for the dramatic and unpredictable start the season created.

The 2012 season was the first time in the sports history that the opening seven races had been won by seven different drivers.

Over the years Formula One has also been seen as a sport where only two or three teams have realistic chances of winning and yet in 2012, those seven races were won by five different teams.

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton both won for McLaren, whilst Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber also won for Red Bull. But the other winners came from different teams Fernando Alonso for Ferrari, Nico Rosberg for Mercedes and Pastor Maldonado for Williams.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix even served up an eighth different driver and sixth different team standing on the top step of the podium with Kimi Räikkönen winning for Lotus.

But it was those early rounds which caused all the surprises, apart from Rosberg’s victory in China and Maldonado’s win in Spain, neither team looked like potential race winners at any other point in the season.

They simply lucked into the right set-up to maximise the performance of the new compound rubber designed by Pirelli for the 2012 season.

If you could find the tyre’s sweet spot over the course of a race weekend you would reap the rewards and Mercedes and Williams certainly did that!

But as the season panned out the teams understanding of the tyres improved and a more predictable season unfolded.

That step forward in understand is what has promoted Pirelli to be even more aggressive with their compounds for next season.

‘During 2012, more or less all the teams learned much better how to use our tyres, One of the key criteria that improved their consistency was the fact that we have seen and measured much less [wheel] spinning from them – which means they have learned how to manage this phenomenon. Pirelli’s chief technical officer Maurizio Boicchi told Autosport Magazine.

‘We believe a lot of things have moved in this direction [wheel spinning], and what we would like to do in 2013 is to come back to be a little bit more aggressive in our compound choice in order to introduce more pitstops and strategy for the teams.’

The early season races saw a number of teams run different tyre strategies during races with two, three and even four stop races, but once we got to the end of the season most races were won with one stop strategies.

But rather than the teams hitting the winter testing period with little or no understanding of the new tyres, Pirelli believe that the test session in Brazil will offer invaluable data to the teams going into the new season.

‘They got their first feedback [during practice in Brazil] which was important, as normally at the first tests in February we have such awful temperatures that it is more or less impossible to have clear information,’

‘It is also hard to get a clear perception from the teams then too, because often they are focused 100 per cent on car development ? they worry more about the aerodynamics than the tyres.’

 

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