With the new Formula 1 season just around the corner I wanted to get the thoughts from the top F1 bloggers on what will be the big story of 2008.
First up is Clive from F1 Insight, who expects big things from Williams this year:
Keith and I were having a virtual drink in the internet pub, The Hacker’s Keyboard the other day, when suddenly he asked the question, “What will be the big story in F1 2008?”
Now that’s a tough one, I thought, as I played for time by taking another swig at my pint (Old Gates’ Terminal Error, strongest brew in the West, if you must know). My thoughts wandered back over the past year and the huge stories that had dominated the sport – the Stepneygate saga, the rise of Hamilton and his feud with Alonso, monsoon rain and penalties handed out, rescinded and threatened, Ferrari’s final and much-debated victory. So much had happened in that annus horribilis; surely 2008 must be different.
That Stepney thing is not over yet, I pondered; I could fob him off with a continuation. But no, that would hardly be fair and, knowing how the Italian legal system loves to keep things going, it could be years before we have a final answer on that one. It has to be something totally unexpected. After all, every year is different – apart from when the Shoe was winning everything in sight and the seasons just blended into one great borefest.
It was time to dust off the old crystal ball, I realized. The crack in it that caused my embarrassing prediction of Button for champ had been fixed and it was time I gave it a test run.
“Tell you what, Keith,” I said, “I’ll have a think and get back to you on that.”
He smiled as he held up his glass to see the light glowing through the warm, golden colors of its contents (Silicon Valley Vineyards, 2005 vintage). “Fair enough, I’d prefer you give it some thought. And no wild guesses this time, okay? Buttons belong on shirts, not racetracks, you know…”
Later that night, I dug out the crystal ball and sat down to let it run through the coming year. In fast forward mode, it scrambled through the early races, familiar faces coming and going, the same old flags waved, red and silver dominating the finishing straights. This is no good, I thought, I need something new and totally unexpected.
I increased the speed and everything became a blur of colour – faces, cars, celebrations, appearing and disappearing in a moment. But a gradual change was happening. I might not have noticed had the speed been less, but the colours were getting darker, almost as if night were falling.
Singapore? But no, that was very early on and long past. It was the red and silver that were disappearing and being forced out by a much darker colour. Dark blue in fact, almost midnight. Williams? Has Frank returned to centre stage at last?
I slowed the thing down – it was Monza already. And there was my confirmation: two blue cars flashing across the line, one, two, and half a minute before a red car appeared. Nico proudly waving the trophy on the top step of the podium, Kazuki grinning like a cat just to the side of him, Kimi looking like, well, looking like Kimi, just making it into the frame.
Increasing the speed again, I hurried through the last few races. There was no doubt about it – even Kazuki made it to the top step on one occasion. Williams are on their way back and I have a fine tale to tell Keith the next time we meet. 2008 will be the year Williams takes the biscuit again!
I imagined the look on his face at receiving the news. The incredulity, the smile of disbelief. Oh, I know what he’ll think – poor Clive has been at the juniper juice again. Could I face another year of being hopelessly wrong?
But nothing ventured, nothing gained. Little point in going for the same old boring predictions, after all – everyone does that. This is my answer: a Williams championship, a return to glory. That will be a story big enough to beat any political shenanigans, even with Max at the helm.
And how does that figure with my previous prediction of a certain bearded German to be champ? Ah well, there are two championships, you know, and there was quite a lot of white in that crystal ball too…
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