2008 F1 season review

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Starting next week I’ll be doing a comprehensive review of the 2008 F1 season. And I’m looking for feedback from everyone on who were the best drivers, what were the best moments and more.

Please share your thoughts on the 2008 F1 season in these forum posts:

If you have any other ideas for articles please share them below or you can post and vote on suggestions in the Skribit box in the centre column of the page. Here’s a look back at the review of the 2007 season.

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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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14 comments on “2008 F1 season review”

  1. How about an article about the best overtakes of the season?
    My memory is pretty rubbish but Alonso on Kovalainen and Raikkonen from Australia stands out in my mind.

  2. One thing has to be in the season review, and that’s the amount of mistakes made by the title protagonists and their teams. After Fuji, I found both Massa and Hamilton unworthy of the WDC, and actually rooted for Kubica.

  3. What about the a full re run of stats for the season as a whole, how many people finished each race, who had the most reliable cars, what ifs (dodgey steward calls, engine failure etc) who would have won the WDC?

  4. It would be interesting to analyse how 2008 turned out so differently to everyone’s expectations. Looking at pre-season predictions (not just on this site), and almost everyone predicted Kimi to walk it, for Felipe to be nowhere, for McLaren to be behind Ferrari with Heikki matching Lewis, for Williams to be the #3 team and for Honda to make good progress. Nobody thought Lewis and Felipe would take it down to the wire. I guess that’s part of what made it such a great season.

  5. lustigon.

    kubica needlessly got involved in the title race by stupidly unlapping himself. Absolutely no need for it, quite egotistical really. Personally i think hes an over rated driver. Certainly he fell apart when the pressure was on but he probably lacks the extra 1% that separates the competent from the potentially great.

  6. This season was certainly more exciting than 2007 one. We had a lot of winners this year, saw a lot of different drivers on podium, a lot of rain and a lot of controversy – erase the last one and we can say it was perfect season ;) It seems the teams are getting closer to each other – too bad that FIA will reset this “battle” next year with new rules…
    My top 5 2008 drivers: Kubica, Massa, Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen.
    Worst team: BMW – it will get me a lot of time to understand theirs “philosophy”; if someone can tell me why/how they managed to screw 2nd half of season that badly i would be gratefull.

  7. @ chaostheory

    BMW the WORST team?,are you joking?We finally have a team to compete with McLaren and Ferrari,the third strongest team on the grid,and only after a few years.I agree they did fall apart in the second half of the season a little and,I don’t believe they supported Kubica strongly in his quest for the title but,worst team is an insult to a team that has accomplished alot in a short period.I have faith in Doc Mario….he is on a mission.

  8. Worst team: BMW – it will get me a lot of time to understand theirs “philosophy”; if someone can tell me why/how they managed to screw 2nd half of season that badly i would be gratefull.

    BMW slowed/halted development on their car late into the season, concentrating r&d into 2009’s car, whereas other teams continued to develop – part reason why they weren’t as competitive. BMW are, reportedly, on a budget much much smaller than one would expect to achieve the results they have over the course of the season. Compare this to the likes of Toyota who, spending more than the other teams, have nothing to show for it but a mob of angry Brazilians.

    kubica needlessly got involved in the title race by stupidly unlapping himself. Absolutely no need for it, quite egotistical really.

    Maybe he was trying to rattle Lewis :p

  9. Its sad, but the season was tarnished with just too many bad decisions and scandals, firstly involving Max Mosley and the sex tapes. It was bad enough reading about it, but to see on video on the web was just unbelievable!
    Even more surprising, was that Mosley kept his job.
    After this, it all kind of went down hill. As a whole, the spectacle is more enjoyable than it was say four years ago. There are more competitive races now, unlike the processions we were used to seeing back in 02-04. Also there is the added incentive of fresh talent. Apart from Hamilton, Vettel was one big surprise this year. His performance in Brazil was only overshadowed by the ‘moment’, the championship battle. For me, he was the best driver of the race, considering the standard of his machinery.
    I am interested about next season’s points system, that will reward drivers more for winning races rather than coming second or third more often. This is a great idea, aswell as the change to slick tyres and no aerodynamic toys.
    My main concern, is the FIA and the quality of the stewards at these races. I know alot of focus has been on Hamilton, but this issue extends to a broader level. If drivers need to win races ‘more’ under the new points system, they will need to pass more and take more risks. Will this not lead to yet more penalties and stewards investigations?

  10. To me something has clearly emerged from 2008 season , is that Seb. Vettel is probably one of and seems to be set to possibly becoming THE most talented F1 driver of the future. Everyone’s saying it’s that the STR is a much better car than the RBR , but considering they are the same chassis , the only advantage STR would have is Ferrari power vs Renault , and if you compare the Renault to the Ferrari , the difference is not that great. Correct me if I’m wrong , but Alonso was second in his Renault ahead of Kimi in his Ferrari in Brazil. It’s a dream for me at present , but I would love to see Michael Schumacher get involved in owning a part of a team with Vettel as lead driver . “Dream Team” no. 2 ? Although no past F1 drivers have really excelled as team owners / managers , Schu’s ability to motivate people around him is as good if not even better than his superb driving ability.

  11. keepF1technical
    4th November 2008, 12:59

    i laughed out loud from brundles comment (or was it allens) about trulli being in bed with a box of tissues all weekend. one of those moments when the commentator realised what he had said but only AFTER he had said it!

  12. @Jean – Vettel had some great results in 2008, but it’s very difficult to be certain what is him and what is the car, because his team mate is an unknown quantity.

    We can’t make straight comparisons between chassis and engines because the Red Bull and STR are not completely identical except for the engine, and it only takes a few tweaks to make a huge difference in lap times. Plus we don’t know the exact spec of the engines Red Bull and STR were getting (did, for example, Red Bull get all the exhaust mods that suddenly improved Renault?)

    If you look at Q1 times in 2008, Vettel has been consistently quicker than Bourdais, and over the course of the season he has gone from being on average 0.15 seconds quicker to about 0.35 seconds quicker. A third of a second is a big gap, but is there an element of Bourdais being slow as well as Vettel being quick? I think we’ll only know for sure next year when Vettel is up against Webber.

    In his rookie season last year, when he was up against Liuzzi for 7 races, Vettel took a while to establish himself, but the linear trend in his qualifying performances showed that he went from being a good few tenths slower than Liuzzi to a several tenths faster in the space of a few races (and of course he was also very impressive in his single race for BMW up against Nick Heidfeld)

    As a general suggestion for an F1 2008 review, I’m interested in the relative performances of drivers ignoring the varying speeds of their cars. It’s easy to knock Fisichella and Sutil (or indeed Barrichello and Button), but did they actually do a decent job given their machines?

    @Keith Collantine – I don’t know if this is the time or the place, but no review of 2008 would be complete without a mention of F1Fanatic.co.uk – Sky News first choice for F1 information. I only found this site after the Belgian GP when I was trying to find out if anyone knew what the unwritten rules were. Turned out only Keith did. And since then I’ve come to the conclusion this is the only place for consistently high quality articles and comments. Keep up the good work!

  13. I must say, what an astonishing season this has been! Last two years were exciting but this year we are almost back to the glory days of the eighties and early ninties (correct me if I am wrong since I’ve only followed f1 since 98, I was 13 so don’t hold it against me).

    Out of 18 races I counted 9 for being superb, 3 good ones and 6 procession/dull ones. Fantastic ratio since I followed the sport. Even though out of the 9, 5 were due to good rain drama and 4 due to SCs they were still great entertainment, I guess the means serve an end. Meanwhile Massa has managed to win quite a few boring races, being as good as he is from Pole and equally awful lower down on the grid. I want to see the average race review votes in an article and compare to my list:

    Great races:
    Monaco, Silverstone, Monza, Spa, Brazil
    Australia, Canada, Hockenheim, Singapore

    Good races: Turkey, Hungary, Japan

    Bad races: Valencia, Shanghai, Spain, Magny Cours, Bahrain, Malaysia

  14. @Jian – No, I don’t hold it against you, but yes, you are wrong – the 80s and 90s were nothing like this. 2007 and especially 2008 have been absolutely incomparable seasons for F1. I’ve been watching since the turbo era of the early 1980s when Alain Prost’s Renault was spectacularly fast and spectacularly unreliable.

    For most of the 80s or 90s there was a dominant team – often McLaren or Williams – so the maximum drama occurred only if team mates were challenging each other for the championship (eg Prost vs Senna). But 1992’s Mansell victory was a Williams walk over, as was Prost’s 1993 championship. For Damon Hill in 96 and Jacques Villeneuve in 97, Williams was again the car to drive. 94 and 95 involved battles between Benetton and Williams, but those don’t hold a candle to 2008.

    Nobody predicted that Interlagos 2007 would involve a battle between two teams involving three different drivers, and this year has been even better.

    Most people reckon 2009 won’t be so close because the huge changes to the regulations will make for bigger differences between teams. I’m not so sure – KERS won’t make much of a difference, so we’re told. Possibilities for aero development are being hugely restricted and the teams spend so much on wind tunnel testing and CFD modelling that all the cars will be pretty much optimal from race 1.

    Obviously, it’s highly unlikely that there will ever be a repeat of Lewis’s last lap drama, but the whole season should be pretty good, especially if overtaking is actually easier, as we’ve been promised.

    And I must say I do like the way the FIA has resolved the problem of controversial penalty decisions. In Brazil the stewards didn’t bother turning up.

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