Here is how they year unfolded from the mouths of the people who made it what it was, from Lewis Hamilton to Bernie Ecclestone, and Martin Brundle to Kimi Raikkonen.
“He’s a totally integrated racing driver and he’s a McLaren-Mercedes man. He hasn’t joined us for the salary; he’s convinced that in the short, middle and long-term this is the place to be in order to win races and feel fine. And we feel the same about him.”
Nobert Haug forecasts the start of a beautiful new relationship with Fernando Alonso.
“I asked him why he was mucking about in the DTM and not doing a proper job.”
Gerhard Berger explains how he encouraged Mika Hakkinen to do an F1 test.
“If we stay confident that we can improve our reliability issues then it is just pragmatism to expect a strong 2007 season.”
Toyota’s Pascal Vasselon confuses pragmatism and optimism.
“Ideally I’d like to move into a new environment here at Ferrari, but if another opportunity arose with a different team I would definitely consider it.”
Nigel Stepney spoke of his unhappiness at Ferrari – but no-one expected what came next.
“All the information from Ferrari is very reliable. It comes from Nigel Stepney, their former chief mechanic – I don’t know what post he holds now. He’s the same person who told us in Australia that Kimi was stopping in lap 18. He’s very friendly with Mike Coughlan, our Chief Designer, and he told him that.”
A few weeks later Pedro de la Rosa sent an email to Fernando Alonso.
“We’d been restricted to a certain line of design when Geoff Willis was there.”
Honda designer Shuhei Nakamoto explains his frustration at not being allowed to design uncompetitive cars prior to 2007.
“It sounds rather like the definition of greenwash.”
Aat Peterse of the European Federation for Transport and Environment was not impressed with Honda’s ‘Earth Car’ livery.
“Kimi is overrated as a driver package, because apart from jumping in a car and going fast, he really doesn’t care about the rest. He doesn’t give a s***, so he isn’t up there with Alonso.”
Jacques Villeneuve on Kimi Raikkonen, pre-season.
“Kovalainen had a horrible race. He did almost everything wrong. It was rubbish. If I tell you it was good I am a complete idiot. Because it was so bad, it was not him. Maybe it was his brother.”
Don’t knock Flavio Briatore’s man management – Kovalainen bounced back to beat Giancarlo Fisichella by the end of the year.
“I could predict the end of the race. By lap three, Kimi had six seconds’ lead.”
Juan Pablo Montoya isn’t missing F1, then.
“I thought after we got rid of Michael, ‘now we’ve got a chance again.’ Then another superhuman turns up! Hamilton is still a baby, so to speak, but dishing out loads of trouble already, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. I cry that he’s not in a Williams.”
Frank Williams covets Ron Dennis’s new hire.
“I’m F1’s Tim Henman.”
A downcast David Coulthard – but by the end of the year that title would suit Jenson Button better?â?ó?óÔÇÜ?¼?é?ª
“Bernie, please don’t make me speak to some spurious ex-Prime Minister again.”
No such luck, Martin Brundle.
“I’ll never forget today as long as I live.”
Trundling around the Nordschleife did more for Nick Hedifeld than racing most of F1’s tracks.
“Are you a fan of F1?”
Supermodel Petra Nemcova interviews Heinz-Harald Frentzen on the eve of the Monaco Grand Prix.
“McLaren’s actions during the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix were entirely legitimate and no further action is necessary.”
The FIA delivers its first of many verdicts on McLaren in 2007. This one was more positive than some.
“Monte Carlo is a joke. It’s not even a race, it’s just a TV show,”
Luca di Montezemolo takes defeat at F1’s most prestigious race with magnanimity and good grace.
“Shock confession by Bush administration: ‘We can now admit that we were surprised, albeit pleasantly surprised, at how easy it was to make the world’s governments and media dance a political waltz to our financial beat.'”
Alexander Wurz names his fantasy headline for 2007.
“On the last lap I was just trying to control myself. I really wanted to stop the car, jump out and do cartwheels.”
Lewis Hamilton scores his maiden Grand Prix win at Montreal at his sixth attempt.
“My mum and dad took some convincing I was OK.”
Robert Kubica on his horrific crash in the same race.
“Celebrations continue as black man in expensive car is not stopped by police”
Satirical magazine Private Eye on Lewis Hamilton’s victory in Indianapolis.
“If I do this photoshoot for you, you have to stop being so critical OK?”
Relations between Ralf Schumacher and F1 Racing reach a new low.
“I wonder if they had found in the house of a Ferrari chief designer 780 secret papers, 780 classified documents of another team. There would have been cries of a scandal, an exemplary punishment would have been demanded. And it would have been granted, I have no doubt.”
Yes, Jean Todt, of course it would.
“I have fought with Heidfeld, with everybody, what you did with three laps to go can’t be done.”
Fernando Alonso attacks Felipe Massa after their wheel-banging duel at the N?rburgring.
“Massa don’t bother the champion first learn to drive.”
Spanish fans’ banner.
“Tost and Berger are ********, dumb ***** and disgustings!”
Scott Speed’s fans don’t think much of his sacking after the European Grand Prix.
“You can’t have guys getting stuck in gravel traps and tractors popping them back on track – it’s not a Playstation game!”
Mark Webber is unhappy with Lewis Hamilton’s crane ride at the N?rburgring
“My life would have been much easier racing with those guys in the 1970s. I was definitely born in the wrong era?â?ó?óÔÇÜ?¼?é?ª”
Kimi Raikkonen pines for a simpler time.
“Between 30 and 60 you often hear about ‘character building’ but I can tell you at 60 years old I don’t need my character building any more.”
The Hungaroring scandal brings Ron Dennis down.
“In the USA, F1 is not perceived the same way it is around the world, and I think the futue will depends on recognising that fact, and figuring out how to make it work.”
Tony George warns Bernie Ecclestone as the pair fail to agree on terms for the continuation of the United States Grand Prix
“To be honest, I don’t have enough development experience in Formula 1 cars. Everyone knows my background is as a motorcycle chassis designer. Motorcycles never use downforce. In F1, aero is maybe 70 or 80% of the performance – in this area I have no experience. Everyone in our team knows this.”
Nakamoto keeps digging.
“We thought we would give you something heavy to throw at us.”
Ron Dennis presents a model Mercedes to Fernando Alonso in commemoration of his 100th Grand Prix in Istanbul.
“The World Motor Sports Council finds McLaren in breach of Article 151(c) of the International Sporting Code. The WMSC therefore, in accordance with the provisions of the International Sporting Code, imposes the following sanctions relation to the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship: – a penalty consisting of exclusion from and withdrawal of all points awarded to McLaren in all rounds of the 2007 Constructors’ Championship; – a fine of USD100 million; In addition, in the interest of ensuring that McLaren is not unfairly advantaged as against any of its competitors in the 2008 Championship, the WMSC instructs the FIA technical department to conduct an investigation of McLaren’s preparatory work on its 2008 car with a view to determining whether that car incorporates any Ferrari confidential information.”
The stunning verdict from the World Motor Sports Council that turned the 2007 season on its head.
“Do you think you have been treated in a fair way by the team or could maybe the team favour Lewis by making subtle changes to your car, like tyre pressures or wing settings?”
A journalist quizzes Fernando Alonso before the Chinese Grand Prix. The McLaren driver’s ‘no comment’ added to the roster of complaints he had raised about his treatment in the team.
“The problem was rain and [Hamilton’s] tyres were in the worst condition. But we weren’t at all fazed about Kimi. We weren’t racing Kimi, we were basically racing Fernando.”
The infamous Shanghai remark that’s surely top of Ron Dennis’s list of things he wishes he hadn’t said.
“The more people from more parts of the world that are following F1 the better. It is a pity he is not Jewish as well, because then we would have a much bigger audience then. Or Muslim actually, not Jewish, because there are much more Muslims.”
Bernie Ecclestone on Lewis Hamilton.
“McLaren lost the championship probably because of some of the decisions they took, especially in the second half of the season. It’s no secret that they haven’t helped me a lot. What my team boss stated in China, saying that they weren’t racing against Raikkonen but against me, was a declaration of intent. So McLaren did their part in losing the title, but also Ferrari did a better job than the rest. In the last races both my hands and feet have been tied. I didn’t have any power. I had to do it all the way they said and that made it harder to close the gap.”
Fernando Alonso’s parting shot.
“I have to put the result into perspective: this is only my first year in Formula One and overall it has just been phenomenal. I am still very young and have plenty more years in me to achieve my dream of becoming World Champion.”
Lewis Hamilton will be back.
“It seems I can’t stop smiling. Wherever I go there are people who congratulate me. It seems that everybody in Italy is as happy as I am!”
Kimi Raikkonen beams after his stunning triumph.
Photos: Ferrari Media | Daimler | HondaracingF1.com