Yesterday I named the most exciting F1 moments in 2007 – here are the occasions that filled me with despair…
Spy appeal verdict
It may well have been the right verdict. And it may well have brought massive international attention to Formula 1.
But it also ruined the season and stained the reputation of one of the sport’s greatest teams.
The cynical dodge of allowing the drivers but not the team to keep their points – when one of McLaren’s racers had clearly been involved in using the ill-gotten Ferrari material – rightly drew criticism from many quarters.
McLaren appeal the stewards’ verdict at Interlagos
Yes, McLaren would have been derelict not to appeal against the stewards’ decision not to disqualify the Williams and BMW cars for using fuel that was below the legal minimum temperature.
And yes, the reasons why the stewards let off the two teams does appear rather circumspect.
But no one wants to see the identity of the champion changed in the courtroom. Not even Lewis Hamilton.
Safety car laps at Fuji
This catastrophic piece of race direction showed up F1 at its worst. Caught between the conflicting demands of live television and the imperatives of safety, the first half-hour of the race was spent behind the safety car.
When the race finally got going it was when the conditions had in fact gotten worse, suggesting they could have started the race in the first place.
This must not be allowed to happen again. If the conditions are fit to race, then race. If not, then don’t.
And perhaps someone should have asked whether, given Fuji’s history for terrible weather – not just at one of its earlier F1 events but numerous other disciplines – it was a sensible choice for the new home of the Japanese Grand Prix.
Anything else that involved the stewards or FIA
Threatening a ten-race engine freeze, taking hours to arrive at a decision on the Hungary qualifying debacle, penalising Anthony Davidson in Monaco when he hadn’t delayed Felipe Massa, the non-verdict on Hamilton’s driving behind the safety car at Fuji, the new investigation into Renault…
It wasn’t their best year.
Robert Kubica’s crash
For one brief, sickening moment, it looked very bad for Robert Kubica. The Pole’s gigantic crash at Montreal was on a scale not seen for many years.
Fortunately the many safety revisions mandated to F1 cars in recent years all behaved as they should, and Kubica escaped without so much as a broken bone from a crash that might have killed him 10 or 20 years ago.
Fernando Alonso’s press briefings
In the second half of the season his every remark contained yet another attack on his McLaren team, sometimes in a thin disguise, more often plain as day.
But what’s worse is it was a campaign of innuendo.
He insisted his team were favouring Hamilton; the infamous Interlagos ‘fair play’ steward found nothing; he claimed Hamilton had the benefit of an extra lap in qualifying at Shanghai, but he didn’t; he insisted Ron Dennis lied about their argument at the Hungaroring, but has not offered his own explanation for what really happened.
Until he finally coughs up some hard proof (which may finally happen now that he’s left McLaren) only his dearest fans will accept that McLaren were conducting a nefarious conspiracy against him from day one, and not that he just couldn’t stand it when Hamilton beat him.
The Hamilton hype
Suddenly, ITV don’t cover Formula 1. It’s the Lewis Hamilton show brought to you by Steve Rider, Mark Blundell and Anthony Hamilton.
The press – the tabloids in particular – are just as bad. If your name’s not Lewis, you won’t get a look in.
Formula 1 coverage may have grown in quantity this year, but it has certainly not improved in quality.
With his failure to win the title has come the inevitable backlash. The same newspapers that plastered lies about his love life across their pages over the summer are now attacking him for moving to Switzerland to get away from them…
The Hamilton hate
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Just as the mainstream media have gorged on the new-found popularity of F1 thanks to Hamilton, so have many fans reacted by turning against him.
Hamilton already seems to attract a peculiar level of scrutiny and criticism that previously was reserved for the likes of Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna.
His every move on the track and every utterance out of the car are meticulously scanned for evidence of evil intent.
An example: he jokingly referred to backmarkers as ‘monkeys’ before one race. The Hamilton haters leapt upon the throwaway remark as proof that he considers anyone at the back of the grid to be Epsilon-Minus Semi Morons.
But if Jenson Button, David Coulthard or Anthony Davidson said something like that, would anyone even notice, let alone care?
The Australian, Bahrain, Spanish, French, British, Belgian, Hungarian and Turkish Grands Prix
The year ended with a trio of exciting races in Fuji and Shanghai (thanks to the rain) and Interlagos. Thanks to those, and the tense battle for the championship, many motor sport commentators have begun eulogising over the magnificent, vintage season we’ve had.
Play back your tape of any of these tedious races and tell me if you agree with them.
FOM deleting fan videos from sharing sites
Someone at Formula One Management apparently thinks watching short, grainy film of Grands Prix on Youtube, Dailymotion and the like is a substitute for watching races live. That person must be quite mad.
Doubly so given that they apparently consider amateur filmed videos just as much of a threat and have had those deleted to. And still fail to offer an alternative of their own…
Allowing people to watch and share F1 video clips can only be good for the sport and help widen it to a new, younger audience. And I don’t believe it’s cost FOM a penny – except for the huge amounts they needlessly fritter away in legal fees.
United States Grand Prix dropped
Get it sorted, Bernie.
Photos: Ferrari | Ferrari | Daimler
- McLaren out of ’07 championship and fined $100m
- Kubica escapes injury in violent crash
- Raikkonen keeps title as Williams & BMW cleared
- 20 day wait for Raikkonen’s title confirmation
- Alonso continues attacks on McLaren and Hamilton
- Alonso is not the victim of a McLaren conspiracy
- Now FOM bans amateur video of Kubica crash
- Boring races
- No F1 GP at Indianapolis in 2008