It gives me great pride to introduce the 10,000th article to be published on F1 Fanatic.
Since I set up F1 Fanatic over seven years ago we’ve seen 123 Grands Prix and five different drivers crowned world champion.
To mark this milestone, I’ve hand-picked 100 articles. Some are personal favourites, others were very popular or inspired lengthy debates, others are special for different reasons.
Together, they represent the very best of F1 Fanatic so far. Happy reading!
Grand Prix flashbacks
But inevitably some articles are more enjoyable to write than others, and the Grand Prix flashbacks are a definite favourite. History has always been a passion of mine, so researching and writing about the heritage of motor sport is a double pleasure.
Here’s five of my favourites so far:
25 years since Ayrton Senna’s first F1 win at Estoril – A soaking wet Portuguese Grand Prix in 1985.
“He was on it from the word go” – Schumacher’s debut remembered – Former Jordan man Mark Gallagher recalls Michael Schumacher’s F1 debut in the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix.
30 years ago: Villeneuve’s last and best F1 win – A remarkable piece of driving by Gilles Villeneuve in the 1981 Spanish Grand Prix.
20 years since Senna took out Prost at Suzuka – One of the most astonishing and controversial moments in F1 history in the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix.
Prost’s winning comeback in Kyalami – It was Prost versus Senna versus Schumacher at the final South African Grand Prix in 1993.
Keep an eye out for two new Grand Prix flashbacks coming later this month.
Not short of an opinion or two
Five years, over 35 incidents: Has Hamilton been treated fairly? – A recurring subject in the comments has been Lewis Hamilton’s treatment at the hands of the stewards.
Fernando Alonso should renounce his Singapore Grand Prix ‘win’ – Nelson Piquet Jnr was ordered to crash in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix to help team mate Alonso win the race.
The Bahrain Grand Prix: A matter of conscience – Discussing the vexed subject of Bahrain earlier this year.
The FOTA Fans Forum needs to ask the questions that matter – “It’s supposed to be a fans’ forum, not a fanboy’s forum.”
F1 should fix flawed rules before changing tyres – My view on the Pirelli debate.
The track they should build in Austin – Before the track design for the Circuit of the Americas was revealed, my take on what they should have done.
Why the UK government must protect live F1 broadcasts on free-to-air television – This was written in 2009, the subject became a major focus of debate last year.
Why F1 should race on ovals – “Oval racing is poorly understood in F1’s European heartland and viewed with some hostility and derision. But those who trot out tired cliches like ‘it’s easy because you only have to turn left’ should listen carefully.”
F1: not just a sport – One of the persistent debates among, shall we say, “unenlightened” sports fans.
Furious Hamilton calls penalties “a joke” – The most-commented ‘normal’ article on the site to date – over 800 responses to Hamilton’s infamous post-race criticism of the stewards at the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix. As Debaser91 summed up in the first of them: “Accusing the stewards of being racist, even if it was joke, hmmm. Not the smartest thing you’ve ever done, Lewis.”
Robert Kubica suffers multiple fractures in Italian rally crash – The shocking news at the beginning of 2011 brought many comments from readers anxious to learn of Kubica’s condition and hopeful he might recover. Sadly, as yet there’s no sign of him making a return to Formula 1.
So much for keeping F1 free-to-air – F1 is increasingly turning away from free-to-air television and putting more races on subscription channels. it happened last year with Sky in the UK and the same has happened in Italy recently.
F1 to split in two as FOTA teams announce their own world championship – During the nadir of the rows over the future of the sport in 2009 it briefly seemed the teams were set to leave Formula 1. Fortunately they pulled back from the brink of a disastrous move after FIA president Max Mosley offered not to stand in the next election.
Hamilton excluded from Australian Grand Prix, Trulli third – Another controversy, again involving Hamilton. This time his belated exclusion from the 2009 Australian Grand Prix.
Webber and Vettel lose one-two finish for Red Bull after collision – The Red Bull pair collided with each other while leading the Turkish Grand Prix in 2010.
Massa ordered to hand win to Alonso – Unpopular team orders at the 2010 German Grand Prix.
From time to time a subject that can’t be adequately covered in a single article. Here are two of the multi-part series run on F1 Fanatic in recent years:
The history of F1′s circuits
One of the early projects for F1 Fanatic was building circuit maps for all the different circuit configurations used over the years.
This was enjoyable if rather time-consuming, though it did serve as the basis for this lengthy series looking at how circuit design has changed:
F1 circuits history part 1: 1950
F1 circuits history part 2: 1951-3
F1 circuits history part 3: 1954-7
F1 circuits history part 4: 1958-60
F1 circuits history part 5: 1961-6
F1 circuits history part 6: 1967-70
F1 circuits history part 7: 1971-4
F1 circuits history part 8: 1975-8
F1 circuits history part 9: 1979-84
F1 circuits history part 10: 1985-9
F1 circuits history part 11: 1990-3
F1 circuits history part 12: 1994
F1 circuits history part 13: 1995-8
F1 circuits history part 14: 1999-2002
F1 circuits history part 15: 2003-2007
F1 circuits history part 16: 2008 and beyond
100 F1 race winners
Heikki Kovalainen’s victory in the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix made him the 100th driver to win a race, prompting this look back on every other driver who’s won a round of the world championship.
Since then Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg and Pastor Maldonado have joined F1′s roster of winners. These are the first 100:
100 F1 race winners part 1: 1950-1953
100 F1 race winners part 2: 1953-1958
100 F1 race winners part 3: 1959-1962
100 F1 race winners part 4: 1962-1968
100 F1 race winners part 5: 1968-1973
100 F1 race winners part 6: 1974-1977
100 F1 race winners part 7: 1977-1982
100 F1 race winners part 8: 1982-1993
100 F1 race winners part 9: 1993-2001
100 F1 race winners part 10: 2001-2008
Last-gasp win for Raikkonen in sensational Suzuka race – Kimi Raikkonen scorched through the field from 17th on the grid to win the 2005 Japanese Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso performed similar heroics to finish third from 16th.
Alonso triumphs in final duel with Schumacher – At the time it looked like an extraordinary conclusion to Michael Schumacher’s career – but now we know his ‘retirement’ was only a hiatus.
Alonso wins amid Nurburgring chaos – A cloudburst at the start of the race briefly propelled debutant Markus Winkelhock into the lead for Spyker. Alonso eventually won, snatching the victory from Massa in a thrilling late battle.
Sebastian Vettel brushes title rivals aside to win – A star was born at Monza in 2008 as Vettel stormed to victory in foul conditions while the world championship contenders scrapped for the lower points places.
Webber wins in style as Button races to title – Jenson Button concluded an unbelievable year by winning the championship for a team which had been on the verge of closure less than 12 months earlier.
Hamilton heads McLaren one-two in Montreal thriller – Tricky tyres turned to 2010 Canadian Grand Prix into a spellbinding race – and inspired the teams to ask Pirelli to produce more of the same.
Alonso capitalises on Red Bull errors for Silverstone win – Several drivers were in contention for this win, but Alonso prevailed at a slippery Silverstone for his sole win of 2011.
Alonso holds off Perez for superb win in Malaysia – Outstanding performances from both Alonso and Perez made this a race to relish, with a wonderfully tense final stint.
Star drivers at the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed – My pictures from last year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed featuring John Surtees, Emerson Fittipaldi, Damon Hill, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Rene Arnoux, Eddie Cheever, Bruno Senna, Adrian Newey, Christian Horner and more.
The 2011 F1 season in 100 pictures – A look back on last year’s world championship.
Top ten pictures from the Monaco Grand Prix – The ‘top ten Grand Prix pictures’ series is new for this year and seems to have gone down very well with readers.
The costs of attending events to report on them first-hand means it’s not something I’ve been able to do much of. But being able to work in the paddock has given me some of the most rewarding experiences so far.
The opening weeks of testing last season was a particularly fascinating time. In Valencia there was a rush of car launches and the short-lived mystery about the location of Renault’s exhaust – which was solved when Julien Leroy, taking pictures for F1 Fanatic, snapped it nestling within the sidepods.
After a dash to Berlin for McLaren’s lavish launch came the dreadful news of Robert Kubica’s rally crash. That had a sobering effect on the paddock when the teams reassembled in Jerez, sporting “get well Robert” messages in Polish on their cars.
Here’s some of the coverage from last year’s pre-season testing.
McLaren MP4/1: Carbon fibre revolutionary – A rare step forward in both performance and safety.
Great F1 cars: Williams-Renault FW14B – One of the most crushingly dominant cars F1 has ever seen.
Lancia D50: Ferrari inherit a title-winning car – An unusual and gorgeous racer from the fifties. Originally raced by Lancia, it was later used by Ferrari to win races and world championships.
Banned! Lotus-Cosworth 88 & 88B – Colin Chapman’s controversial and unraced twin-chassis creation.
Life L190 – the worst F1 car ever – On a good day it was 15 seconds off the pre-qualifying pace.
The Driver Rankings is a feature that dates back to the very first year of the site. It has led to the creation of other areas like the Driver Form Guides and Driver of the Weekend to track performance through a season.
As you’d expect on F1 Fanatic, reader input plays an important role. The twice-yearly rankings incorporate your views and the end-of-season article includes a poll for F1 Fanatic Driver of the Year.
Here’s last year’s Driver Rankings series:
2011 F1 driver rankings part one: 28-16
2011 F1 driver rankings part two: 15-6
2011 F1 driver rankings no.5: Lewis Hamilton
2011 F1 driver rankings no.4: Nico Rosberg
2011 F1 driver rankings no.3: Jenson Button
2011 F1 driver rankings no.2: Fernando Alonso
2011 F1 driver rankings no.1: Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel voted F1 Fanatic Driver of the Year
Champion of Champions
I receive loads of email from readers with questions, ideas and suggestions. Your Questions Answered has grown out of that as a place where I can tackle the most interesting and popular queries.
Here are five particularly good ones:
The driver who raced illegally, and more – Hans Heyer started the 1977 German Grand Prix despite failing to qualify.
Racing with the number 13 – I get a surprising amount of questions about racing drivers’ numbers.
The manhole cover that stopped a race, and more – A huge crash at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 1990, though not in F1…
Glock-gate (Brazil 2008), and more – Debunking one of F1′s silliest conspiracy theories.
‘Win-less champions’, race hosting fees and more – The drivers who won world championships despite only winning a single race.
If you’ve got a question for Your Questions Answered then send it in via the contact form.
Top ten… Home Grand Prix wins – Great crowd-pleasing moments.
Top ten… Most notorious backmarkers – From the calamitous to the suspicious.
Top ten… Italian Ferrari drivers – Does not include Luca Badoer.
From Teflonso to Britney: Top ten F1 driver nicknames – This prompted a huge list of other notable nicknames from readers in the comments.
Top ten… Ways to finish an F1 race – How mangled motors have limped to the line.
Stats and Facts
Another mainstay from the early days of the site is Stats and Facts. Several readers tell me this is their favourite article, and it regularly appears on the Monday after each race.
2009 Brazilian Grand Prix stats & facts – In 2008 and 2009 the world championship was won by British drivers who finished fifth in the Brazilian round driving car number 22 powered by Mercedes engines.
2010 British Grand Prix facts and stats – Ferrari’s worst race finish since 1978.
Button scores tenth win in longest ever race – The 2011 Canadian Grand Prix took over four hours.
Rosberg becomes F1′s third second-generation race winner – The Rosbergs join the Hills and the Villeneuve.
We’ve had many superb contributions from guest writers over the years. Here’s a few of the best:
Tales from a Melbourne marshal – Jen Campbell reveals what it’s like to be a marshal at an F1 race.
Steven’s 51 F1 race visits in 25 years – Reader Stephen has watched F1 races in most corners of the globe.
How hard was Massa hit? – Kareem Shaya on Felipe Massa’s crash in qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.
“Senna” movie: an F1 Fanatic’s opinion – Long before it was released here in the UK, Robert York got to see the film Senna in Japan. His post prompted a response from writer Manish Pandey in the comments, which eventually led to this series of articles about the film.
Finally, I wanted to choose a special few articles that particularly stood out in my memory from the first 10,000 on F1 Fanatic.
Ferrari and McLaren secrets leaked in FIA document
20th September 2007
This article from 2007 was the first which brought traffic to the site in significant numbers.
It followed the second ‘Spygate’ hearing of the World Motor Sport Council in 2007, when McLaren were fined $100m by the FIA for obtaining and using confidential information belonging to Ferrari.
The WMSC hearings had discussed sensitive information in detail, and when the FIA published the transcript of the hearing substantial portions of it were censored.
While working with the document I noticed the redactions were completely ineffectual – the document only had to be copied and pasted into a blank text file for all the confidential parts to be revealed.
I wrote up a short piece explaining the FIA’s embarrassing oversight. The story was widely overlooked by other motor racing websites. A few years I later learned the FIA’s communications director Richard Woods had been in touch with some of them, urging them not to publish details of the FIA’s mistake.
Dan Wheldon killed in crash at IndyCar season finale
16th October 2011
Not all the memories are happy ones. The loss of Dan Wheldon in a crash in the final IndyCar race of last year is one of the most upsetting things I’ve had to write about.
Formula 1 is my first motor racing passion. My second is IndyCar racing, and since American single-seater racing was reunified in 2008 I’ve given more space to it on the site.
For the final race of last year we ran F1 Fanatic Live and several of us gathered to follow what we hoped would be an exciting climax to the season.
Safety standards in motor racing are better than they have ever been. But it remains a dangerous activity, and this terrible tragedy was a stark reminder of that.
Lewis Hamilton is champion in epic climax to final race
2nd November 2008
Had it been scripted, the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix would have been hailed a masterpiece of tension. While Felipe Massa led lap after lap, Lewis Hamilton hung around fourth place, just above the minimum he needed to be sure of the title.
But a late rain shower and a roll of the dice from Toyota put Hamilton in danger. Timo Glock stayed out on dry-weather tyres, moving up to fourth as those around him pitted for intermediate tyres.
When Kubica unlapped himself from the McLaren, Vettel pounced to demote Hamilton – suddenly he was sixth and the world championship was heading Massa’s way. Hamilton was seemingly doomed to lose the title in the final round for the second year in a row.
Powerless to pass Vettel around the final laps, Hamilton was still in sixth place as Massa crossed the line to win. But now the track was so wet Glock was floundering, defenceless. Hamilton caught him in the nick of time – reclaiming that critical fifth place at the final corner.
It was a truly staggering moment. We were following every lap on F1 Fanatic Live and shared our incredulity at the astonishing events unfolding before our eyes.
Sharing that moment with thousands of other F1 fans made an incredible race all the more memorable. And that’s exactly why I set up F1 Fanatic in the first place.
Here’s to the next 10,000
Thanks to everyone who’s been part of F1 Fanatic so far. I hope you’ve had as much fun reading and commenting on the first 10,000 articles as I have creating them.
The site has grown enormously in the past seven years and I hope it will continue to in future.
Continuing to produce this volume of original articles and catering for the large numbers of people that visit the site has inevitably become more expensive as the site has grown in popularity.
If you would like to contribute to the cost of running F1 Fanatic, you can pay £1 per month or £12 per year and in return get to browse the site ad-free. More information here:
Alternatively, you can make an ordinary donation to F1 Fanatic here:
Over to you
Have you got a favourite F1 Fanatic article? When did you first discover F1 Fanatic? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Remember you can navigate the entire F1 Fanatic archive and find the other 9,900 articles using the page numbers underneath the articles on the home page, or through the F1 Fanatic archive tab underneath it on the left.
Image © Williams/Sutton, Singapore GP/Sutton, McLaren, Ferrari Spa, F1 Fanatic, F1 Fanatic, Williams/LAT, Daimler, Jamey Price, Ferrari spa, McLaren