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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The top stories of 2008

The year is rapidly coming to a close, so here is a look back at SpeedRead's top five F1 stories for 2008:

Spanish Formula One Grand Prix: Practice

5. The Super Aguri soap opera - Were they in? Were they out? The team was absent from tests leading up to the season, sponsor S.S. United was apparently not paying up, and support from the Magma Group didn’t come. By Barcelona things looked grim. By Istanbul, the team was locked out, told they would not be participating by none other than Nick Fry. Founded by principal Aguri Suzuki to save face for Honda and give Takuma Sato a place on the grid, two and a half years later he found himself thrown under the bus. What price loyalty?

Singapore Formula One Grand Prix: Race

4. Night race in Singapore - Hey, did you hear? F1 raced at night in Singapore. Actually, it was a beautiful thing, and it helped that the track was far more interesting than dreary Valencia. And it all came on Fernando Alonso and Renault’s sudden reemergence as race winners, and an exciting three-way championship battle between Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica. Now Bernie would like any race in that hemisphere to be a night race, which is facing resistance from most venues. Personally, my feeling is let’s not over do it. Singapore works because of the setting, I can’t think of anything much less exciting than Sepang at night.

Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix: Race

3. Last corner of the last race - How many times during the Schumacher era was the championship decided in August? For the last two years, we have been blessed with championships that go down to the last race, but nothing compares to this season. What more could we want than a championship decided in the rain, between Ferrari and McLaren drivers, on the last corner. Massa won the race, and for a brief moment, we thought the championship. That’s when Toyota’s gutsy gamble fell short and Hamilton passed Timo Glock to take the needed fifth position, maintaining his one-point edge to win the championship and become the youngest F1 champion.

Turkish Formula One Grand Prix: Qualifying

2. Honda - Honda made waves early in the season, and not just with the green pants, by hiring Ferrari alum Ross Brawn. Many thought this was the foundation for a resurgent Honda, but it soon became apparent there was much to be done, as the team suffered a horrendous season. But 2009 would be a different story, with new regs shaking up the field to make it anybody's game. Well, anybody but Honda’s, as the Japanese automaker shocked the F1 world by abruptly pulling out of the championship this month and putting the Brackley-based outfit up for sale, a victim of the worldwide economic crisis. Four parties have supposedly expressed interest in the team, with Brawn and Fry scrambling to find a buyer to keep it on the grid. The ramifications have yet to play out in full on this one, especially if no buyer can be found, leaving the grid at 18 cars. Is there a provision in the F1 contract requiring 20 cars on the grid? Will teams be asked to field three cars?

Max Mosley Wins Damages Against The News of The World

1. Max - In March, British tabloid News of the World released a video of the FIA president involved in a sadomasochistic role playing adventure with five prostitutes that it claimed had Nazi connotations. Mosley sued, but facing strong criticism from teams, drivers and the FIA membership, his position seemed to be in jeopardy, with even longtime pal Bernie Ecclestone calling for his head. Mosley was forced to steer well clear of F1 events, often at the request of local governments. Mosley won a vote of confidence at a June meeting of the FIA, however, and by the end of the year most of the flap had blown over. Threats by motoring bodies to withdraw seem to have died down, Mosley won his court case, and (save perhaps a recent Christmas card) Ecclestone and Mosley appear to be back on the same page. The only question remaining: Will Mosley stand sown at the end of his term, as he has often claimed? Or will he return?

Well, that just about closes the book on 2008. Here’s wishing everybody a great 2009, a year with a little more overtaking, the return of slicks, and (hopefully) a wide open championship. And maybe, just maybe, the aero guys will figure out how to make these wings a little prettier. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six



sidepodcast said...

v.happy new year CD.

SpeedRead said...

Thanks! And the same :)

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