Jenson Button, McLaren, Barcelona, 2012

Your favourite drivers and teams at the start of the 2012 F1 season

2012 F1 season preview

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Barcelona, 2012
Jenson Button and McLaren are your favourites at the start of 2012

With the new season almost upon us it’s time to take a fresh look at who F1 Fanatics are supporting in 2012.

We last tallied your support in November last year. Since then F1 Fanatic has amassed over 5,000 active registered users.


  • Jenson Button remains the most popular driver with almost twice as many supporters as when we last looked at these figures in November last year.
  • The three most popular drivers are all British – perhaps unsurprising as 35% of site visits come from the UK. Our second-largest group of users – the 10% from the USA – don’t have a corresponding American driver to cheers on.
  • Michael Schumacher has moved up two places to fourth, while Kamui Kobayashi has slipped three places in the list.
  • He may have two world championships to his name but Sebastian Vettel ranks only ninth in your affections.
  • Kimi Raikkonen wasn’t on the list last year, but now he’s been added he’s instantly received support from almost 200 F1 Fanatics.
  • Rookies Jean-Eric Vergne and Charles Pic are yet to gain much in the way of support.
Jenson Button
Lewis Hamilton
Paul di Resta
Michael Schumacher
Mark Webber
Kamui Kobayashi
Fernando Alonso
Robert Kubica
Sebastian Vettel
Heikki Kovalainen
Nico Rosberg
Kimi Raikkonen
Bruno Senna
Sergio Perez
Felipe Massa
Daniel Ricciardo
Timo Glock
Vitaly Petrov
Nico Hulkenberg
Pedro de la Rosa
Pastor Maldonado
Jean-Eric Vergne
Narain Karthikeyan
Romain Grosjean
Charles Pic

Here’s which of the current drivers have moved up and down since we last looked at who you’re supporting:

Rank Change Supporters Change
Jenson Button 1 = 638 +304
Lewis Hamilton 2 = 463 +225
Paul di Resta 3 = 332 +134
Michael Schumacher 4 +2 327 +160
Mark Webber 5 = 323 +148
Kamui Kobayashi 6 -3 320 +122
Fernando Alonso 7 +1 296 +154
Robert Kubica 8 -1 279 +118
Sebastian Vettel 9 = 256 +136
Heikki Kovalainen 10 -1 236 +116
Nico Rosberg 11 = 206 +90
Kimi Raikkonen 12 New 198 New
Bruno Senna 13 -1 196 +83
Sergio Perez 14 -1 132 +50
Felipe Massa 15 -1 131 +58
Daniel Ricciardo 16 +2 113 +62
Timo Glock 17 +3 76 +41
Vitaly Petrov 18 +1 73 +30
Nico Hulkenberg 19 New 68 New
Pedro de la Rosa 20 +6 27 +17
Pastor Maldonado 21 +3 26 +12
Jean-Eric Vergne 22 New 24 New
Narain Karthikeyan 23 +5 23 +15
Romain Grosjean 24 New 20 New
Charles Pic 25 New 8 New


  • McLaren remain far and away the most popular team with almost twice as many supporters as any other.
  • Support is split pretty evenly among the rest of the teams, though Toro Rosso have surprisingly few fans – perhaps a reaction against their cut-throat driver hiring practices?
Red Bull
Force India
Toro Rosso

When you started watching F1

This final graph shows when F1 Fanatics first started following F1.

Unsurprisingly, most have discovered F1 in the last 20 years but there’s a considerable dip in the early 2000s.

Year 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Number of F1 Fanatics who started watching in this year 9 0 0 3 2 1 6 2 4 3 6 4 4 3 7 11 13 11 9 6 21 10 14 5 12 19 32 19 24 20 48 17 26 20 47 76 58 34 64 63 138 114 82 73 92 73 140 87 125 104 136 55 59 59 67 79 74 147 90 102 78 47 0

Show your support

Want to make sure your driver and team preferences are reflected in these charts? Here’s how to do it:

1. Log in with your F1 Fanatic account. If you’ve not got one, sign up for one here.
2. Go to My Account > Profile > Edit and select F1 teams and drivers.
3. Make your choices and click Save Changes.

Who are you supporting in 2012 – and why? Have your say in the comments.

2012 F1 season preview

Browse the 2012 F1 season preview

Image ?? Jamey Price/F1 Fanatic

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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117 comments on “Your favourite drivers and teams at the start of the 2012 F1 season”

  1. Surprised to see Vettel so low down. Winning a Championship and then dominating seems to have seen him lose the ‘Honorary Brit’ status maybe. Think he’s one of the most genuine and funny guys on the grid still. A bit surprised some of the smaller teams who have put a lot into image low too (esp. Marrusia and Caterham). Maybe the goodwill and interaction they get doesn’t directly translate into people seeing them as ‘their’ team?

    1. Just goes to show there’s no substitute for heritage.

      It reminds me of the poll we had a couple of week ago on which teams will still be in F1 in ten years’ time. The results of that poll reflect the popularity statistics quite closely, and that makes sense: if you don’t think a team has a future, why bother supporting them?

      1. I would include not only teams that don´t have a future, but also teams who completelly change their identity from one season to the next. People won´t back up teams that only exist for a season! Think of BrawnGP (then Mercedes), Lotus Racing (then Team Lotus then Caterham), Virgin (then Marussia), Renault (then Lotus)…

        1. I think Brawn GP is very memorable – a 100% sucess rate

          1. True! True! but it´s a shame the team “dissapeared” after taking the titles! I still love to see the pictures of those white cars!!!!

      2. True, true, but that doesn’t make sense in Paul di Resta case.

    2. I’d say the infamous finger has won him no fans.

      1. Yeah, I can see sore losers objecting to the finger…

        1. I don’t think it’s people being sore losers. It’s people who are sick of seeing it, the way Vettel almost expects to be in a position to point his finger.

          1. Yes, and that its sooooo annoying.

          2. I agree, it’s hardly a graceful celebration is it…

          3. Its arrogant the way he does it, even kind of childish. If he did it only once in a while, maybe when he wins the WDC, it would not be so bad.

          4. My pereception of Vettel has changed, I see him as almost arrogant now. But for me I like to see drivers suffer setbacks and overcome adversity, I think Jensons popularity demonstrates this fora lot of fans. Vettel has been kind of gifted his success, not saying its undeserved just not worked for it quite as hard.

          5. You guys are joking right?

            He was winning races, and Celebrating because he was number one by sticking his finger up.

            It’s not like he runs around the office doing it.

            There’s a thought…

          6. funny to watch at first but so annoying for now.

          7. I don’t think they are joking, @mike — but I do find it hilarious that people are still complaining about Vettel’s means of celebrating victories. Every time I think people have moved on with their lives, a thread like this comes up!

          8. I agree there PM, not the best way to gain supporters between the fans.

          9. What @bigbadderboom writes is true for quite a lot of people, I count myself in as well.

            Seemingly just turning everything you touch into gold is not the thing to win you fans. But overcoming some difficulties and grow into an impressive contender does. Just look at Mansell, for example, still one of the all time favourites.

            That does not mean Vettel is not a great driver, just he is not the one getting most fan support currently.

          10. I lost a lot of respect for Vettel after Hungary 2010.

            His behaviour during the race when given the drive through and public ‘performance’ in the press conference where he stropped like a belligerent child (despite still finishing 3rd) coloured him in my eyes, something he hasn’t graciously been able to recover because his 2011 was largely flawless.

          11. @Optimaximal

            Name one decent driver who you haven’t seen have a sook.


            What about Alonso?

            It took Vettel 4 season to win the championship, including some very difficult races early on in his F1 career, along with some very impressive performances. He won it twice in a row.

            Alonso took 5 seasons to win his championship, starting his career with impressive performances in an under performing car. He also won it twice in a row.

            Both drivers were in the right car, at the right time, at a young age.

            All I’m saying is, There is nothing to say that Vettel had it any easier than Alonso. And there is nothing to say he deserve any less credit for his two championships.

          12. @Mike

            Obviously Vettel is allowed to be frustrated/have a sulk, but the way he conducted the interview, slouched in his seat, sunken shoulders, angry as he seemingly thought it was everyone’s fault but his own hat he had received the drive through.

            It was different to the Turkey debacle, where the team did everything in its power to insulate him from blame or culpability, but he just seemed to be left to his own devices in Hungary and he didn’t deal with it well at all.

            Maybe he’s massively matured now – it’s more than likely the case – but every situation since has either been a genuine case of bad luck or a car failure.

            How did he conduct himself in Germany 2011? Did he fess up to dropping the ball at his home GP? I can’t remember.

          13. @prisoner-monkeys I think pole position was pretty much Vettel’s last year by default, unless proven otherwise. Can’t blame the guy!

            At least he kept it up.

          14. I’m just sick of neither Ferrari nor McLaren winning very much :( /s

          15. @Prisoner Monkeys

            I think it is. You won’t hear people complain when someone else does it. And you can see by raymonu999’s post that other drivers do it too.

            It’s like in 2010 when Witmarsh labeled Vettel as a crash kid for 2 incidents that year and every McLaren fan happily picked up on that. Then came 2011 and Hamilton took out drivers almost every race. What was Witmarsh’s response? “It’s not his fault, he’s just having a bit of a rough season.” and every McLaren fan happily picked up on that as well.

            I don’t give 2 cents about someones preferences but I do believe one should apply the same set of rules and criteria when viewing something. Something you clearly lack.

      2. @prisoner-monkeys

        While I don’t deny most people point to his finger as the reason for their… “dislike,” of him, *drumroll please:


        I guess what I’m trying to say is… he should really be more humble :P

        1. Greatest, Post, Ever!

          1. @mike why thank you :P

        2. It’s not the finger, it’s how he emphasis it and his expression. He shakes it at the camera as if to say I’m the best, there is no better.. losers!!

          When other drivers do it, they do it quick in celebration and it’s gone. He knows it irritates people as well, That’s why I think he’s continued to do it ;-).

          1. He knows it irritates people as well

            And that’s why it makes a great avatar ;)

          2. I always enjoy it when our avatars are right next to each other in the “Active F1 Fanatics,” @david-a . It’s like a finger double team. ;-)

        3. Hahahaha! @raymondu999 , thank you for doing what I’ve been wanting to do for ages — and more comprehensively than I would have done! :-)

        4. Thank you for clearing that point(-ed finger) @raymondu999

        5. A slap in the face of biased people showing weak reasoning for hatred. +1 raymond

        6. And no response from Prisoner Monkeys…

          I wonder why. ;)

    3. To be honest, I didn’t like him at all until he appeared on Top Gear.

      He’s a top bloke, really, very funny and very talented of course. So he’d have my vote… if only he didn’t win so much!

      I don’t like supporting the driver that always wins. I guess it’s like boring, or easy…

    4. Webber being more popular than Vettel shows that it’s not all about driving skills (e.g. Button more popular than Alonso) but then, like you put it, being funny is not enough either.. So it’s about being British or from a Commonwealth nation, oh no, Schumacher is German just like Vettel! What’s wrong with Seb? However, I don’t think is resembles a drivers rank by perception of skills.

      1. I’m primarily a Hamilton fan but I like webber coz of his openness & honesty in front of the camera. He’s straight-talking.

        Interviewer: if you had to be ruthless to make sure you won the championship, would you.

        Webber: I’d have to say… *blows through cheeks* … Yeah.

        No BS.

        Lewis is my fave driver coz he’s so exciting. Even fans that don’t like him would miss him out on the attack. He may have not had as good a year in 2011. But could overtake well before DRS came along. He’s pure skill!

      2. “Button more popular than Alonso”
        how did you figured out this
        that’s only true in the UK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        1. Fail, Alonso is not popular because he sffers from “Little Man” syndrome, he needs to know he is the big dawg or else! FAIL for self confidence.

          1. What are you on about?

  2. As ever I’ll be supporting Vettel/Hamilton for the championship.

    I’ll also be supporting 2 rookies Ricciardo because he’s awesome and drives for Toro Rosso and Grosjean. I really thought he deserved another chance and his GP2 season was incredible. I’d love to see him challenge Kimi.

  3. seems a tad many di Resta supporters dont you think. hope hulkenberg can change that this season

    1. What’s wrong with having a lot of supporters?

      1. In that a rookie, who only did so well against his only so good team mate, is more popular than say, All of the other drivers?

        It doesn’t quite add up, I mean, I’ve seen him in an interview, his expression, (and he only has one I should add), makes him seem like he has spotted and is entranced by a large mole on the reporters face…. So that can’t be it. :D

        1. When the Sky-BBC deal was first announced, a lot of people talked about how important the British market was to the sport, and the way the arrangement would only push people away. If the British audiences are as important as these people say they are – and, as Keith points out, 35% of posters on the blog identify themselves as British, thereby suggesting this importance is not exaggerated – then, as a British driver, Paul di Resta would have a natural advantage when it comes to popularity.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys

            35% of posters on the blog identify themselves as British

            Just to be clear, 35% of visits to the site have been from computers in the UK. I haven’t been asking people what nationality they consider themselves to be!

          2. I personally am not a fan of Di Resta and I’m British. I prefer Kobayashi over most of the drivers with the exception of Jenson, I’ll never forget 2009 and his awesome wet races in 2006,2010,2011 especially.

            All I seem to remember about Di Resta is him crashing into other cars last season. Probably being unfair to him their, I’m sure he had some good races.. But nothing special springs to mind.

          3. Not everybody in the world speaks English. One should not take this site as benchmark to determine British fans importance to F1.

          4. One should not take this site as benchmark to determine British fans importance to F1.

            But, with 35% of people posting from British computers, surely you can see why di Resta would have so much support on the blog.

    2. He’s british, what did you expect?

      1. Didn’t take long…

        1. For an obvious conclusion?

          I don’t think that nationality can really alter how people think about issues and debates. I trust people to consider things more than that.

          But favorite drivers is affected, a lot, very visibly.

          1. Also, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, it’s just how it is. And it includes me as well.

  4. I think I selected Lotus (the team now known as Caterham) as my favourite team last year and, after reading this article, I noticed that I’m still a Lotus (the team formerly know as Renault) fan. I’ve changed that to Caterham but I guess there are maybe more Lotus fans who ain’t Lotus fans anymore.

    Yes, I also find the Lotus naming dispute very very annoying. It must be the weirdest and most confusing thing I’ve experienced in my 15-year long F1 fan career.

    1. Same issue here, my old Team Lotus fan vote seems to have transferred over to Lotus instead of Caterham, so can’t really trust the values for the teams much.

      1. @disjunto I’m afraid it’s a consequence of the way the FIA has handled the naming row.

        If you’re no longer supporting Lotus because the name Lotus has passed from one team to another (a switch which is extraordinary and, I think, unprecedented in F1) then you can change your stated preference accordingly. I did mention this in the round-up a while ago for exactly this reason.

        1. @KeithCollantine I must have missed that round-up, sorry for that. Anyway, this is just another proof for how absurd and childish this whole We’re-the-real-Lotus saga was.

          1. @Girts Agreed…

  5. Jesnson, Lewis and Paul at 1,2 & 3 . LMAO

    1. Of course! Its only natural to want to support your own countrymen. If there were more visitors to this site from say Spain, or Australia, the numbers would be different.

  6. Satan clearly on McLaren’s side.

  7. The self-congratulatory Jensen Button

    The self-aggrandising Lewis Hamilton

    The self-deprecating Seb Vettel.

    I guess the poll question should be, “Which of these drivers are from Britain?”

    1. Perhaps followed by a second poll, “Which group of fans are the most bitter at the outcome of this survey?”

      1. That’s my COTD :D

      2. As this poll is about people’s favourite drivers, maybe everyone moaning about it should reflect on the fact that it doesn’t actually matter…

  8. Kubica, the guy who’s not even on the grid for over a year and most probably won’t be this year is STILL more popular than Vettel.