The 2010 championship went down the wire, but that wasn't the case in 2011 as Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing dominated the season winning the championship with four races to go.
Paul di Resta, Segio Perez, Pastor Maldonado and Jerome d'Amborsio, made their F1 debut, while Karthikean returned to the sport with HRT, only to be replaced by Daniel Ricciardo mid-season.
KERS(Kinetic Energy Recovery System) returned in 2011 with all but the new teams opting to use it. But it was the new Pirelli tyres and DRS which made headlines. The new tyre manufacture made tyres which lasted for a shorter duration forcing more pitstops, while DRS helped drivers to overtake cars which were within one second.
Sebastian Vettel dominated the season with eleven victories and recording breaking fifteen pole positions. It was a perfect season for the German who became the youngest ever double world champion.
The credit for this goes to Adrian Newey who designed the championship winning RB7. Red Bull, by far had the fastest car in qualifying, and atleast one of the two Red Bull drivers started the races from first in all but one race. Mark Webber failed to match Vettel's form, specially during the races, however, he managed to win the final round in Brazil.
McLaren struggled in pre-season testing with their radical design, however worked day and night on a much simpler design and were the second fastest team in season-opening Australia. Both Hamilton and Button won three races, but the latter shined with some epic drives and consistent form. While Hamilton was famous for all the wrong reasons, particularly for his clashes with Ferrari's Felipe Massa. Despite that, the 2008 World Champion showed his pace by winning in China, Germany and Abu Dhabi; he was the only one apart from the two Red Bulls to start the race from pole position.
Despite impressive form during pre-season, Ferrari failed to deliver when needed. There only had the third fastest car, and managed to win just one race. Ferrari F150 Italia struggled on Pirreli hard tyre(usually used by drivers in the second part of the race), meaning Alonso and Massa lost all the places they gained during the first part. Alonso got most out of his Ferrari, scoring 10 podiums, much more than car was capable of. His Brazilian teammate Felipe Massa failed to match his pace, and finished sixth in the championship scoring less than half of his teammates points.
Mercedes failed to make a car which could challenge the top three runners, unable to score even a single podium. Nico Rosberg failed to meet the expactations, while his veteran German teammate performed better than 2010.
Despite impressive form in first half of the season, Renault failed to match the expectations and only had the sixth fastest car at the end of the season. They were hurt by absence of Robert Kubica, who had a severe accident during a promotional rally event.
Force India were the best of the rest in second half of the season, and finished sixth in the championship.Adrian Sutil showed his pace with some amazing drives, finishing sixth in Germany and Brazil. While Paul di Resta was the best rookie in 2011; his best drive was at Singapore where he finished in sixth place.
Sauber and Toro Rosso also had some strong finishes. The former packed Kobayashi and rookie Perez in their lineup, while the Red Bull junior team also impressed with their old Buemi-Alguersuari lineup.
Williams had one of their worst season in recent times, scoring only 5 points.
The story of the backmarkers in 2011 was similar to 2010; Lotus on top, followed by Virgin and HRT. Lotus managed to enter Q2 a couple of time, however never came close to scoring points on . Virgin, though did finish the championship in last place, they were far better than HRT. In 2012, Lotus would be called Caterham, while Virgin would be called Marussia. HRT looked more financially stable this year.
The 2012 F1 season starts in Australia this March. Follow Rach F1 for all the updates throughout the 2012 F1 season.