The 2011 season will be remembered for the domination by Sebastian Vettel, who steamrollered his way to back-to-back world championships by winning 11 of the 19 grands prix.
The combination of Vettel and the hugely effective, Adrian Newey-designed Red Bull RB7-Renault was unbeatable on some tracks, and it appeared that the German's first world title in 2010 had enabled him to move to a new level of confidence and performance.
Another talking point was the absence of a stout season-long challenge to Vettel. McLaren's Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber all won races, but none of them could go toe-to-toe with the reigning champ on a regular basis.
It was 2009 champion Button who emerged with the most credit, winning three times and annexing second in the points with some impressively mature drives. Team-mate Hamilton, on the other hand, was stymied by on-track incidents and off-track personal issues, and matched his worst finishing position in the points.
Ferrari had a below-par season by its standards, although lead driver Alonso wrung the neck of the car as often as he could, and scored a sole victory at Silverstone. Second driver Felipe Massa was disappointing for the second successive season, although hit the headlines for his year-long spat with Hamilton.
Webber ended the year with a welcome victory in Brazil, but he was otherwise comprehensively outperformed by Vettel, and admitted that he had taken too long to learn how to exploit the Pirelli tyres to their maximum. It's something he's vowed not to repeat in 2012, when he, Button, Hamilton and Alonso will all be itching to get one over on Vettel.