The 2012 year of motorsport draws to a close today and we’re only weeks away from another year of thrilling four-wheeled action.
RichardsF1.com has dug through the statistics of the past year, and have looked at which of our stories have been the most popular with our readers…
10. De Villota gives first interview since crash
María de Villota’s horrific testing accident was one of the headline stories of the 2012 year in motorsport, with the likeable Spanish lady racer losing her right eye in a sickening crash in July on her first test outing for the Marussia F1 team.
Thankfully, she survived, but her career-ending injuries will serve as a reminder not only of the inherent dangers in motorsport, but that the consequences of her crash could have been so much worse.
It was a thrill to all of us in the motorsport family when she gave her first media interview, just three months after the smash.
9. Exclusive Interview with Richie Stanaway
It being thirty years since a New Zealander last graced the F1 stage, the ‘shaky isles’ best F1 prospect, Richie Stanaway, looked set to shine in the Abu Dhabi ‘Young Drivers’ test for Lotus at the end of the year.
But this likeable lad’s aspirations took a major hit when he had a huge crash in a WSR 3.5 championship race at Spa-Francorchamps, which resulted in his back being broken.
Incredibly, he suffere3d no spinal cord damage and looks on course to return to motor racing after half a year on the sidelines. We were thrilled when he gave us a great exclusive interview in September, and we’ll be watching his career recovery with huge interest.
8. Mercedes joins the V8 Supercars fray
The growing popularity of our V8 Supercars coverage was in evidence, and for the first time we have a tin-top news story gracing our ten most-read articles published in 2012.
With the Australian touring car landscape having been dominated for so long with a two-horse battle between Holden and Ford, the arrival of the 2013 ‘Car of the Future’ regulations were perfectly timed to allow further manufacturers to join the field.
Nissan’s long-awaited arrival with Kelly Racing was a poorly-kept secret, but the surprise announcement came in September that AMG (Mercedes’ high performance arm) would supply E-class racers to long-time Ford stalwarts, Stone Brothers Racing.
We will certainly be watching their maiden season with great interest…
7. Exclusive Interview with David Tremayne
I’ve been a long-time fan of the writing of David Tremayne, one of Formula 1’s most acclaimed journalists who has over 40 books published, along with gracing the columns of some of the finest motorsport publications.
Having successfully secured our FIA accreditation to cover the Australian Grand Prix this year, I plucked up the courage to introduce myself to David in the Albert Park Media Centre, and he kindly accepted my interview request to talk about his career, F1’s biggest talking points and to offer some advice for aspiring journalists trying to break into the sport.
I am sure you will agree it is a fascinating interview. If you haven’t yet checked it out, you can do so by clicking here.
6. Viewers in uproar over F1 broadcast scheduling
Australia’s sole F1 broadcaster, Network Ten, made many enemies in 2012 after making a u-turn on its promise to show fans live qualifying and race feeds in high-definition.
The change, which kicked in at the Bahrain Grand Prix and lasted until the end of the European season, saw viewers on Australia’s eastern seaboard saddled with (often-delayed) standard-definition race broadcasts, while it took a major protest from viewers in other states and territories to even get a live feed.
The decision sparked all-out war on the station’s social media platforms – it repeatedly deleted all negative comments on its Facebook page – but it refused to back down from a wholly unpopular decision.
It would emerge later this year that Network Ten had a disastrous year on the ratings front and came days within major financial ruin, ultimately having to sack hundreds of staff and shed programs to keep itself going.
5. Caterham’s 2012 F1 challenger revealed
A major gaffe (one of many) by F1 Racing magazine led to images of Caterham’s CT01 challenger being leaked a day ahead of the planned schedule when it posted out its subscription editions a day early.
The studio images quickly went viral, and sent fans reeling as the first of the horrific ‘step nose’ designs was unveiled, forcing Caterham to hastily publish its launch page on its website.
It copped a barrage of criticism from F1 fans and journalists alike, but they were yet to witness the even uglier Ferrari and Sauber cars that would be revealed a few days later…
4. Jacques Villeneuve remarries
Our social articles don’t usually make major headlines, but our breaking news of Jacques Villeneuve’s second marriage – to Brazilian model Camila Lopez – is the most surprising inclusion in our top-ten countdown.
The announcement came just days before he made a surprise return to the V8 Supercars Championship, taking part in three rounds as a stand-in for the injured Greg Murphy in the Pepsi Max Crew Holden Commodore.
Despite his recent nuptials and a beautifully turned-out car, Jacques was out of his depth on account of his lack of miles in the car.
3. Gallery: From the pit lane to the cat walk
Our coverage of the annual Amber Lounge Fashion Show continues to be a popular feature on the RichardsF1.com website, and this year was no exception, as tens of thousands of you clicked on our feature gallery showing this year’s F1 drivers strutting their stuff in designer threads.
2. De Villota critically injured in test accident
The tragic testing accident that befell María de Villota in July was our second most-read article of 2012.
I remember the accident happening in the evening in Australia, and I pulled an all-nighter to give our readers the latest up-to-date information on her condition.
Many of you were very helpful in providing updates and comments of your own, and the testimonials you wrote to her on our Facebook page were passed on to the De Villota family.
1. Jenson pushes her button
RichardsF1.com gained huge publicity when Jenson Button’s girlfriend, Jessica Michibata, kindly posed with our exclusive ‘Jenson Pushes My Button’ T-shirt in the paddock at the Australian Grand Prix.
She was thrilled with the gift, and the photo went viral to many motorsport agencies worldwide, prompting our shirt to be sold out in less than 24 hours!
Perhaps it was a good luck omen for her man, who went on to win the Grand Prix at Albert Park later that afternoon!
If you haven’t yet checked out our bumper range of merchandise available at our online store, then do so now by clicking here!
The entire RichardsF1.com team would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year after an enthralling year of motorsport!
We would like to thank all of our readers and commercial partners, along with the drivers, teams and journalists who have supported us throughout the year.
In particular, I extend my thanks to my entire writing team – Geoff, Matt, Jen, Yassmin, Joseph, Ben, Samuel, Josh, Pru and Suzan – for your support over the course of the year.
We look forward to another fascinating year ahead, and to bringing you our unique slant on all the best in motorsport! See you in 2013!
With best wishes,