YMMV / Formula One

  • Americans Hate Tingle: Despite the continuous existence of a United States Grand Prix and an occasional American driver (Mario Andretti and Phil Hill even won the championship in '78 and '61 respectively), F1 isn't as popular in the US as it is elsewhere in the world. It doesn't help that most races are in Europe or even farther away, providing unfavourable time differences.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • As prone as the FIA are to introducing base-breaking rules and Scrappy Mechanics, they will almost always revert them back as soon as possible. Examples include:
      • The last race of the season being worth double points (introduced in 2014 and dropped after that season)
      • The gradual restriction of engine development (introduced in 2014, relaxed for 2016 after it led to a severe case of Can't Catch Up for Honda in 2015)
      • Grid penalties being carried over from race to race if you couldn't serve the whole penalty (introduced in 2014, changed for 2015 so you'd serve a time penalty instead, then dropped completely midway through that season)
      • Restrictions on the technical information that could be given to drivers (introduced towards the end of 2014 and gradually tightened before being removed midway through 2016)
      • The three-phase qualifying being changed to a "knock-out" format, with drivers eliminated every ninety seconds (introduced in 2016 and scrapped after two races)
    • The FIA also typically act quickly to remedy fan complaints or safety concerns, for example:
      • After fans complained about the 2014 cars' ugly stepped noses, the FIA outlawed them for 2015.
      • After fans complained that the 2014 engines weren't loud enough, the FIA started working on ways to make them louder.
      • After Jules Bianchi's ultimately fatal crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, the FIA introduced a "virtual safety car" system for 2015 that would neutralize the race without the need for a safety car or red flag.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Ferrari, in the Schumacher years for being an Invincible Hero (less so in the Raikkonen/Alonso years). The FIA (Ferrari International Aid) was notoriously lenient with team order fiascos like Austria in 2002.
    • Michael Schumacher itself is a big Base Breaker. In one side, the people who believe he is the best F1 driver ever (or at least in the top 3) and being the driver with most titles and victories is a proof of this. In other hand, there is people who say Schumacher only won seven titles because having an awesome car and a team mate for helping him and the fact he lost titles to Hakkinen and Alonso are proofs he isn't the best driver.
    • Red Bull and Vettel, in a similar way of Ferrari and Schumacher.
    • Ayrton Senna is another big Base Breaker. His fans (especially Brazilians) and others say he is the greatest driver ever while some other fans say he was a good driver, but not the best. There are people who even dare to say Senna was a dirt driver (well, Nelson Piquet said this recently) which generally cause huge flame wars.
    • Fernando Alonso is considered by some fans the best driver from current era and is a shame to see him with less titles than Hamilton and Vettel. Others said Alonso is a good driver, but Vettel and Hamilton are better and he deserved his bad karma for being arrogant and selfish.
    • Lewis Hamilton is another example. His fans say he is the best driver of current era and deserves to win more titles while his haters say he is just a whiner and only won three tiles by luck.
  • Broken Base: What a broken base. F1 fans have disagreements in many subjects, like drivers, circuits, rules, etc.
    • The Monaco Grand Prix. A classic and beautiful street circuit or just a bad and boring street circuit who is only in F1 for tradition sake? Fans often fight because this.
    • The cost cap is a delicate topic to discuss among the F1 fans. People who support the idea believes this will help F1 to survive since the costs are rising to unsustainable levels and will help to promote a more fair F1 with the poorer teams closing the gap to the richer teams which will result in better races. In other hand, people who are against the idea say F1 is the pinnacle of the motorsport and should spend all money and resources necessary to maintain its status and this is not a place for "charity".
    • The canopy or other solutions to close the cockpit in order to protect the drivers' head is another tough topic, even between the drivers. Supporters of the idea say the safety must be the first priority and F1 needs to keeps to improve it while who disagree with it say the drivers know the risks and F1 is safe enough already. They also believe an F1 car is not an F1 car with a closed cockpit.
  • Cargo Ship: Vettel names all of his cars so it's a common joke (or a serious pairing) for him to be in a romantic relationship with his car.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: Lotus's birthday tributes to their drivers. Especially when you contrast it to what Ferrari gave Alonso on his birthday...
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Lotus during their unlikely championship run with Kimi. Especially as the other two championship contenders were Red Bull and Ferrari. It helps that they have an absolutely hilarious Twitter account.
      • Their car was literally the dark horse on the grid, given that it was black.
    • Minardi were minnows for most of their 21 years in the sport, often going entire seasons without scoring a point and becoming synonymous with backmarkers in their later years. However, they were beloved by both fans and fellow teams for their friendly atmosphere, their decent designs and refusal to hire pay drivers in comparison to other cash-strapped teams, and for being the starting point of such drivers as Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, and Jarno Trulli. While most backmarkers fade away within a few seasons, Minardi lasted longer than many successful teams, outliving the likes of Tyrrell, Benetton, and Ligier. Like Lotus, they became a literal Ensemble Darkhorse during the last few years of their existence, when they wore a mostly-black livery.
    • In 2016, a Twitter poll asked fans which drivers they deemed cult heroes. The drivers that the fans picked are:
      • Gilles Villeneuve, for his absolute madness when driving an F1 car. This including attempting to driving his Ferrari back to the pits after spinning out on just three wheels at the 1979 Dutch Grand Prix, literally driving blind after his front wing was damaged & blocked his view at the 1981 Canadian Grand Prix, and his battle with Rene Arnoux at the 1979 French Grand Prix.
      • Elio de Angelis, mainly for his helmet design, which looks like an older version of The Stig's helmet.
      • Vittorio Brambilla, mainly for his physique and aggression behind the wheel, and having an infamous handshake routine. He is also known for crashing his car after winning his only GP, the 1975 Austrian Grand Prix.
      • Robert Kubica, mainly for his determination and the fact fans consider him to be a world champion candidate had he not suffered an almost-career ending crash while rallying in 2010.
      • The late Chris Amon. He's regarded by many as the best driver not to win a Grand Prix race, partially because of his God-awful bad luck.
      • Andrea de Cesaris, mainly because he got involved in so many accidents, he's nicknamed De Crasheris.
      • Markus Winkelhock, for reasons explained below.
      • Kimi Raikkonen. There's no need to explain why he's a darkhorse.
      • Ronnie Peterson, for his blazing speed, flamboyant sideways commitment, and the ability to wrest his car back from the brink time and time again.
      • Gerhard Berger, mainly due to his antics with Ayrton Senna during his stint in McLaren.
      • Taki Inoue, due to his Twitter account and his particular bad luck with safety cars.
      • Jean Alesi, mainly because he has an unique driving style and his battle with Senna in a Tyrrell in the 1990 US Grand Prix.
      • Dan Gurney, mainly because he invented the now-standard champagne celebration and his Eagle car, which is considered to be one of the best-looking F1 cars of all time.
      • James Hunt. No need to explain why.
      • Juan Pablo Montoya, mainly from his rapid pace on track to his 'loose' language in press conferences and comically vicious outbursts.
    • Pastor Maldonado, rather surprisingly considering that to some fans he's The Scrappy. His constant tendency of crashing ironically gave him quite a lot of fans who deemed he's bringing comedy into F1 with his constant antics. In fact, several websites (such as hasmaldonadocrashedtoday.com) were created and dedicated just for him!
  • Estrogen Brigade: Some of these drivers really look attractive and manage to draw girls. Subverted with some female fans who have just as much knowledge about the sport as many men do.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Some fans say F1 died around the 90s, others say during the Ferrari/Schumacher dominance in the 2000s, and finally there are those who say F1 died after the introduction of DRS, KERS, and circuits from designer Hermann Tilke. Senna fans often say F1 died with the driver.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • Oldschool F1 fans vs Newcomers (or fans that started to watch F1 in the 90s and onwards). The former fanbase often criticize the new fans for not knowing the "true F1" and the latter fanbase usually hits back saying this is just "nostalgia blindness" and F1 is now better in comparison with the 70s and the 80s.
    • Senna fans vs Prost fans.
    • Senna fans vs Piquet fans, especially in Brazil.
    • Hamilton fans vs Rosberg fans battles in internet skyrocketed in 2016 due the intense battle between the Mercedes duo for the championship. They often accuse one of the drivers of using dirt tactics and being favored by Mercedes bosses and FIA. Internet fights and even flamewars are common.
    • F1 fans vs Nascar fans.
    • F1 fans vs other open wheel series, like Indycar and Formula E. Although it's more a one-sided rivalry from some F1 fans who think F1 is the pinnacle of the motorsport and comparing it with other racing series is an offense.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Top Gear giving the "Most Boring Driver in Formula One" award to Kimi Raikkonen.
    • Lotus-Renault in 2014 had official Twitter hashtags for each race, to go along with their Deadpan Snarker account (#CatchTheBull for Barcelona, #EinsZweiDrive for the Nurburgring, etc). The hashtag for the British Grand Prix was #GodSaveOurTyres, and then a quarter of the field had tyre failures in the race.
    • The Sky promo as seen in Sarcasm Mode features the line "The same guy wins every race..." Cue Sebastian Vettel winning the last nine races of the season.
    • Kimi Raikkonen's famous "Leave me alone, I know what I'm doing!" outburst, which was already pretty funny, has gotten a double dose of this. First, in the Brazilian GP later that year Raikkonen actually managed to drive the wrong way and get lost, calling the "I know what I'm doing" part of the rant into question. And now, ahead of the 2014 Singapore GP, the FIA have banned teams from instructing drivers on things like improving their sector times during the race - so they really will have to leave him alone.
  • Ho Yay: No, not even Formula One can avoid the slash fangirls or Rule 34.
  • Improbable Age: There were many people who were skeptical of Toro Rosso's decision to sign 17-year-old rookie Max Verstappen, Jos Verstappen's son, insisting he was far too young to enter a sport like Formula One. Throughout his rookie campaign, he impressed pundits, colleagues and fans alike, pulling off sensational overtakes, going wheel-to-wheel with Sebastian Vettel, and finishing just off the podium on two occasions, en route to winning three FIA awards after just his first season in Formula 1. It's probably fair to say he even exceeded expectations of those who doubted him.
    • And then he exceeded that even more by winning the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix. At the age of 18. On his first outing with Red Bull. With a car in which he had absolutely no prior experience before he left Toro Rosso.
  • In the Blood: Graham Hill, and his son Damon, both won the World Championship.
    • Gilles Villeneuve and his son Jacques were both accomplished drivers as well - ironically, Jacques is considered one of the weakest world champions, while Gilles is one of the strongest non-champions.
    • Nico Rosberg is finally shaping up, especially after winning the Monaco Grand Prix exactly thirty years after his father did the same. The next year, he went out and won it again, something Keke never did, and then won his third straight (one of four in F1 history, and the first since Senna) in 2015. He also battled Lewis Hamilton for the championship all through 2014 (but unfortunately lost) and again in 2015.
    • Subverted with Ayrton Senna and his nephew Bruno. Ayrton hyped up his nephew during his lifetime, saying, "If you think I'm good, wait 'til you see Bruno". Much was thus expected of young Bruno when he stepped up to F1 in 2010... but in his two-and-a-half seasons he showed merely a sliver of his late uncle's prodigious talent and was outperformed by his teammates in all three seasons. Although, you have to remember that Bruno stopped racing after Ayrton's death, and didn't return to motorsport until the mid-2000s.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks: The years of domination of Ferrari and Schumacher(2000-2004) made some fans to quit watching F1 because they got bored to watch the same driver and the same team winning races. They said the same about the Red Bull and Vettel domination (2010-2013) and the Mercedes domination (2014-).
  • Memetic Mutation: Kimi Raikkonen's infamous "Leave me alone, I know what I'm doing!" outburst at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It's spawned shirts, coffee mugs (one of which Sir Frank Williams proudly owns), and is freely used in almost every article about him.
  • Misblamed:
    • Pastor Maldonado is the biggest example. Many fans unfairly blamed him for every crash he got involved just because he is an aggressive driver. A notable example is the start crash of British Grand Prix of 2015 season which was Ricciardo's fault but most of people blamed Maldonado because he was involved on it.
    • Lewis Hamilton between 2008 to 2011. This was so huge that people created the meme "Hamilton's fault".
    • Bernie Ecclestone is often accused of being the main and the only reason of F1 decay.
    • Hermann tilke, the designer of many new circuits which debuted in the last decades, is another person who is blamed for the decay of F1.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The 1960s and 70s were full of horrific, fiery and fatal crashes. In many cases the surviving drivers were just as affected by these as the fans.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Due nostalgia, some fans say the '70s and '80s were the pinnacle of the sport and everything in these two decades were perfect and everything after this were garbage.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Markus Winkelhock had one of the shortest and most astonishing careers in Formula 1 history. His only race came at the 2007 European GP, where he qualified last for the unfancied Spyker team. However, in a stroke of inspired brilliance, his team decided to start him on wet tyres when everyone else was starting on dry tyres. At the end of the first lap, the circuit was hit by torrential rain, and those who couldn't get back to the pits in time generally ended up spinning off. The race was red-flagged on lap 4 due to the hazardous conditions, by which time Winkelhock was leading by half a minute. When the race was restarted, with Winkelhock now on pole, he quickly fell down the order and eventually retired due to hydraulic failure after just 15 laps. He remains the only driver to have led every race he's taken part in, and the only driver to start in first and last at the same Grand Prix.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy
    • The whole 1994 season is the biggest example for being remembered either by the lack of safety of cars and some tracks, which resulted in two deaths (Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna) and others with injuries (like J.J Lehto, Rubens Barrichello and Karl Wendlinger), by the controversy about Benetton cheating or not and by the finale when Schumacher and Hill crashed which made the young German the champion of the season.
    • The Singapore Grand Prix from 2008 season after the reveal of the "crashgate".
  • The Scrappy:
    • Rubens Barrichello in his homeland after the team orders scandal at the 2002 Austrian GP, when he had to give his victory to Schumacher in the last lap of the race. This angered many of his supporters, and Barrichello started to be mocked by humorist shows after this and was considered a "symbol of shame" for Brazil. When he joined Honda and the media shifted the focus to Felipe Massa, he stopped being mocked and slowly gained his respect back.
    • In The New Tens, Paul Di Resta due to his average results and poor personality, and Pastor Maldonado for those who hate his wild driving and tendency to crash.
    • Among the world champions, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve are perceived as having won largely due to the equipment at their disposal rather than actual talent (notably, Villeneuve raced in F1 for nine seasons following his title win and failed to win another race).
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The Drag Reduction System (DRS), which has been accused of making overtaking too simple, especially on tracks with two activation points, a long straight, or both (Shanghai).
    • The final race being worth double points in 2014 proved to be this. The teams hated it, the fans hated it, and when Ecclestone tried to get it extended to the last three races the teams promptly told him where to shove it. He quickly agreed to scrap it for 2015 onwards.
    • Bernie Ecclestone's proposed medal system, in which the driver who won the most races would win the championship. This was scrapped before it was even implemented due to how unpopular it was.
  • Tear Jerker: Any time a racer dies on or off the track. The 1994 San Marino Grand Prix is the most recent example.
    • Friday Practice: Rubens Barrichello's car flew into the air and crashed into the tire barrier, rolling a few times before stopping. He suffered a broken nose and arm and swallowed his tongue. He was lucky.
    • Saturday Qualifying: Roland Ratzenberger, in only his third race, crashed into a wall at 195mph after his front wing failed, and died of a basal skull fracture.
      • What makes Ratzenberger's death all the more tragic was that at the time, he'd been competing for the final grid slot. He'd damaged his front wing, but insisted on staying out to try and improve his time. At the end of the session, Ratzenberger's fastest time set before the crash would have been enough to get him onto the grid.
    • Sunday Race: A crash between two cars at the beginning of the race injured nine spectators with flying debris. After the race restarted, three time world champion Ayrton Senna crashed at Tamburello corner - the site of accidents before. Debate still ensues on what caused his crash and when specifically he died. The tragically ironic part was that in response to Ratzenberger's death the day before, the drivers reformed the Grand Prix Drivers 'Association (a safety organization) with him as leader. Even worse, Senna had (tucked into his sleeve) an Austrian flag which he planned to wave after he won the race in memory of Ratzenberger (who was Austrian).
      • Professor Sid Watkins, a close friend of Senna's, had this to say:
    "He looked serene. I raised his eyelids and it was clear from his pupils that he had a massive brain injurynote . We lifted him from the cockpit and laid him on the ground. As we did, he sighed and, although I am not religious, I felt his spirit depart at that moment."
    • A much less life-threatening scenario occurred at the 1999 European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. Luca Badoer, driving for the unfancied Minardi team, was in fourth with less than fifteen laps to go. It was pouring with rain, and many drivers had already retired. And, barring a terrible pitstop, Badoer would have been in second. But on lap 53, his gearbox failed, leaving him sitting in tears by the side of the track. The worst part? Luca Badoer holds the record for most races without scoring a point. And bad luck stole a podium from him.note 
      • And then, about ten years later, Felipe Massa was hitted by a debris from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn at the Hungarian Grand Prix and was out for the season. Ferrari - who while not brilliant that season, were still consistently in the points - brought in Badoer to replace him. And he still failed to score.
    • Nine months after his crash in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, Jules Bianchi finally succumbed to a brain injury that left him in a coma for nine months.
    • The 1970s were known for being a particularly dangerous decade for Formula 1, seeing the deaths of no less than twelve drivers. Perhaps the most heartbreaking of all was Roger Williamson's death in the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix. Williamson's car flipped over on the eighth lap and caught fire, leaving him trapped underneath the burning wreck. That would be horrible enough in itself, but what makes it truly saddening is how his personal friend and fellow racer David Purley pulled over and tried in vain to rescue him. The images of Purley trying desperately to right the car, and of him being forced to walk away and leave his friend to die, are nothing short of soul-crushing. Even worse, Purley stated later on that he could hear Williamson screaming from under the car the whole time. Ouch.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks:
    • The change from slick tyres to grooved tyres for the 1998 season wasn't well received. (Slick tyres were brought back in 2009.)
    • Many disliked the technical changes and restrictions for the 2009 season (such as wider front wings and higher, narrower rear wings) as they resulted in ugly cars.
    • The introduction of DRS in 2011 hurt the spectacle for many fans, who feel that overtaking is now too easy and artificial.
    • The change to turbocharged V6 engines for 2014 onwards brought many complaints that the new engines were too quiet.
    • The change to the qualifying format for the 2016 season, introducing a new "knockout" format, was so universally despised for its boring results that the FIA changed it back after just two races.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • As in all sport, this trope is in full effect - particularly in drivers that died before or during their prime (von Trips, Rindt, Peterson, Villeneuve Sr, etc).
    • A book is now being written that examines several F1 rivalries that never came to be, due to one of the drivers dying. An example is Senna vs Schumacher, which looks at how the 1994 season might have panned out for Senna had he not been killed at the San Marino GP.
    • A rather more light-hearted one - Michael Schumacher could easily have won on his debut for Jordan if he hadn't had clutch troubles on the starting lap. He had qualified four places and almost a second ahead of his teammate, Andrea de Cesaris... who proceeded to have the race of his life and hold second for the entire race before his engine died three laps from the finish. Imagine how well Schumacher could have done...
    • There are two interesting examples regarding Rubens Barrichello during the 1994 season:
      • Firstly, according to rumours, Brazilian TV station Globo offered to pay Williams a substantial amount of money for them to hire Barrichello as Ayrton Senna's replacement after his death, as they wanted the team to retain a "Brazilian hero" in order to maintain the sport's popularity in Brazil. Considering Hill won a world title with Williams, it's likely Barrichello could have done the same.
      • Secondly, at the end of the season, McLaren offered Barrichello a contract but he wasn't sure whether it was for a race seat or a testing role, so he declined. The race seat went to Hakkinen, who went on to win two consecutive world titles with McLaren in 1998 and 1999.
    • It emerged after his accident that Jules Bianchi had tested for Ferrari, and had gone faster that Räikkönen! The team confirmed that it was likely Bianchi would have joined them once Raikonnen retired, but sadly this will now never come to pass.
  • The Woobie: Any driver or team that fails to score a point. To get to the pinnacle of motorsport and leave without achieving anything? Tragic.
    • Especially any of the incredibly bad teams (Andrea Moda, MasterCard Lola or Life). Some of them didn't even make it to the grid.
    • When Raikonnen went off course at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, this promoted a battle between Caterham's Vitaly Petrov and Marussia's Charles Pic into a battle for 10th and 11th. Whoever won that battle have would have scored their constructor's first point... except Raikonnen repassed both of them. Both teams would remain Woobies for a while afterward, the stars realigning at Monaco in 2014: Jules Bianchi finished 9th for Marussia, but these would be his only points in Formula One, as he would be rendered into a coma after a crash in Japan, succumbing to his injuries nearly a year later. For Caterham, Marcus Ericsson was just outside with another 11th for the team. Caterham would withdraw from the series after 2014, still scoreless.
    • Perry McCarthy, aka Black Stig. His only F1 stint in Andrea Moda can only be described by one word: Heartbreaking. While the team were already hilariously incompetent, Perry's situation note  made it worse, to the point that all the team's good equipment was given to his teammate Roberto Moreno, and McCarthy essentially became the team's rolling spare. He even described himself as the unluckiest F1 driver ever. He must have been thankful when Andrea Moda got banned from F1 due to their shenanigans...
  • Yoko Oh No: When Senna was killed, his then-girlfriend Adriane Galisteu managed to get media prominence, in a Paris Hilton-y kind of way. F1 fans regard her as a self-serving vulture. Nicole Scherzinger, Lewis Hamilton's girlfriend, has drawn negative comments for drawing attention to herself and showboating.

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