F1 07 review: The best of years?

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It was the best of seasons, it was the worst of seasons.

We watched a gripping championship battle with three drivers fighting until the final race. The championship lead swapped hands at the finale, and the victor overcame a 17-point deficit to win in the last two races.

We endured a string of shockingly poor races and a title race marred by some of the worst scandals the sport has ever seen.

It was a great year

Whatever 2007 was, it wasn’t predictable. The title went down to the wire between thee drivers for the first time in 21 years. The final races in Fuji, Shanghai and Interlagos were epic and the advantage in the title race swung from one driver to another.

We witnessed some awesome racing including Lewis Hamilton’s phenomenal starts, Fernando Alonso’s pass on Felipe Massa to win at the Nurburgring, and Kimi Raikkonen’s battle through the field at the Fuji Speedway.

It was the best season for rookie talent since 2001 (when Alonso, Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya arrived). Not just Hamilton, but also Heikki Kovalainen who comprehensively beat the experience Giancarlo Fisichella.

Sebastian Vettel scored on his debut for BMW, then equalled Toro Rosso/Minardi’s best ever result, and Adrian Sutil distinguished himself on several occasions including that surprise appearance on top of the time sheets in wet practice at Monaco.

Fears F1 would struggle with the loss of Michael Schumacher faded as Hamilton’s exceptional performance catapulted him to international attention – and not just in his home country.

And it bodes well for 2008 as the FIA have announced the banning of traction control. Many have suggested that it might not make a significant difference, but most importantly it puts the cars more firmly under the control of the drivers, which is undoubtedly to the benefit of F1 as a sport.

Best of all, both Ferrari and McLaren let their drivers fight for the championship all the way until, in Massa’s case, they became mathematically incapable of winning the championship.

It was a terrible year

Dogged by scandal and ruined by poor racing, 2007 was a season to forget. Melbourne, Catalunya, Indianapolis, Magny-Cours, Silverstone, Hungaroring, Istanbul and Spa-Francorchamps all produced races with very little interest at the front of the field.

The year was dominated first by the escalating McLaren/Ferrari spy scandal, which left one of the sport’s greatest teams branded cheats, ejected from the constructors’ championship and slapped with a gargantuan fine. Only a legal dodge on the FIA’s part kept their drivers in the title race, and that rankled with many fans.

After the fury came the fall out, most of it centred around McLaren where Alonso, trailing Hamilton in the champion, wasted no opportunity to attack his team, insisting they were given preferential treatment to the rookie. Team boss Ron Dennis stated Alonso had demanded number one status in the team, which Dennis refused.

It led to the FIA taking the unprecedented step of installing an official observer in the McLaren pit for the season finale. Nothing untoward was found, but it didn’t stop Alonso’s complaints.

By the end of the year it seemed not a day passed without some new controversy coming to light. McLaren ‘team orders’ in Monte-Carlo, Hamilton’s restart at the Nurburgring, Alonso’s punishment in Hungary, the safety car incident in Fuji, three drivers using the wrong tyres in Interlagos.

And even as the season ends the controversy goes on. We won’t know for sure that Kimi Raikkonen has won the championship until November 15th. You’d think sorting it out would be a higher priority for the FIA.

Photos: Daimler | Ferrari Media

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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6 comments on “F1 07 review: The best of years?”

  1. I enjoyed this year personally – although not every race was overly exciting, but when are they ever!

    Bringing in new drivers was never going to spice things up in that way though, nothing short of further rule changes will help there it seems.

    Hamilton appearing has divided people into lovers and haters, which is good as it has got people talking about, and interested in, F1 again.

    Some of the races have been brilliant with the result unknown until the last possible moment – the last race being a case in point, and as the season ended on an upbeat moment then hopefully that will influence how it will be remembered.

    The offtrack stuff won’t be forgotten for a while to come, but hopefully next year things will quieten down and everything will focus on the ontrack action.

  2. There was all sorts of drama but was there real racing? Was there action on the track?

  3. “Action on the track”?
    I would say not very much, Hamilton and Massa in Malaysia comes to mind but the move on-track for me was Kimi’s pass on Hamilton in China.

    That had me hooting and hollaring. What a symbolic moment of the year!

  4. Very exciting year. The only thing i regret is the penalty to alonso in hungary. It was an internal affair, and it should have being fixed by the team, not the fia.
    It was a good season, with the right winner.
    I hope next year is as good, with a little bit more overtaking, and less politics.

  5. I think 2003 season was more exciting then 2007.

  6. 2007 was closest to 2004, I think. Plain bore.

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