The worst moments of 2008

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Rubens Barrichello at Montreal - sadly, F1 may be without both in 2009

What was the worst moment of the 2008 F1 season?

Here are my least favourite moments of 2008, many of which were suggested by contributors on the F1 Fanatic forum.


Max Mosley making the headlines for all the wrong reasons and taking the attention off of the race track.
– Scott Joslin

A sorry episode best forgotten, which dragged the sport’s reputation through the mud.

Penalty controversies

Penalties assessed by stewards. Honestly, those penalties were putting me off F1. Some reason the Bourdais penalty in Japan irked me the most.
– Muckymuck

stay the hell away from the sport, fer cryin out loud!
– Stubie

We’ve taken apart the year in penalties in this post. Of course penalties are always going to be contentious in professional sport, but in not bothering to write down many of its rules, in having stewards whose experience of motor racing is negligible, and in denying competitors right of appeal, the FIA has made many fundamental mistakes that spoiled the competition this year.

Farewell Super Aguri

Losing Super Aguri
– Loki

Losing any team is bad, especially as F1 is now down to just 20 cars and there’s a credit crunch/financial meltdown going on. But Super Aguri had charm, character and cult appeal, not to mention a pair of decent drivers who deserve a place in motor racing’s top flight.

A rotten year for Coulthard

Lots of crashes involving Coulthard. I don’t remember him being involved much in crashes in previous seasons, but this season it seemed like he had a bullseye painted on the rear or side of his car.
– Patrickl

Coulthard declared halfway through the year that it would be his last F1 season. Unfortunately that didn’t stem the depressing tide of incidents and accidents. The most disappointing of which came at the first turn of his final Grand Prix.

And spare a thought for Rubens Barrichello. We might already have seen his last Grand Prix without knowing it at the time.

Adrian Sutil at Monaco

Raikkonen losing control at Monaco, shunting Sutil
– Loki

Sutil was on the kind of giant-killing drive at Monaco that everyone loves to see. Until Raikkonen, in a classic brain-fade moment, lost control of his Ferrari and swiped Sutil out of the race. That was the closest Force India came to scoring points in 2008.

More of my least favourite moments of 2008

Losing Montreal and Magny-Cours – I’m no great fan of the Circuit de Nevers but the prospect of not having a Grand Prix in France – the birthplace of Grand Prix racing – is bonkers. Not having any race in North America is just as bad.

The Glock Delusion – A new low in idiotic conspiracy theories.

Do you have any other least favourite moments from 2008?

Author information

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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28 comments on “The worst moments of 2008”

  1. The last corner at Interlagos…( a última curva )

  2. I think in general the worst part of the year has been the hint of racism and fascism that has cast a cloud over the sport. From Mosley’s actions to racist fans to Ecclestone’s remarks…it’s just been a bit stupid, IMHO. It’s one of those issues that no other sport has to deal with…yet Formula 1 gets into the thick of it.

  3. Mark – F1 is certainly not alone in having problems with racism, just look at football.

  4. a) Moseley winning vote of confidence – For someone who preached about “Bringing sports to direspute” and penalizing teams and drivers on that front, Moseley’s shamelessness is worst event not only for 2008, but for entire history of Motorsports. Whats more shameful is inability of stronger factions in FIA (AAA, German Autosports) to come up with a more democratically operated Motorsports Association.

    b) Losing Super Aguri from the grid – Just because of boardroom politics,but mainly due to Nick Fry’s Ego trip, he left no stone unturned to block every backer Aguri San presented to Management in Tokyo. Nick must be knowing lots of naughty secrets of Japanese bosses that they let him have his way always.

    c)In consistent penalties – While I have said on this forum, that any alterantive to current stewarding system will be not be perfect as well.
    I should say for sport that boast to be pinnacle of motorsports, and teams spending $4,378,133 to win everyy point, the adjudiciating system of the sport is pretty lousy.
    I have also stated more irritating is double standards shown by fans on the rulings, based on “Who” is penalized

  5. a) Penalties
    b) Adrian Sutil at Monaco

    c) One which many did not realise; Heikki’s treatment by Mclaren at Shanghai GP.

    The mechanics first kept a set of mist-mtached tyres onto his Mclaren; After which he was called back; and finding that he was out-of-points; he was forced to retire so that Mclaren could have “an optimum strategy for Brazil with 1 new and 1 old engine”.

    Consider this; Mclaren was the fastest car that weekend; and they were just 8 points behind Ferrari then, yet; His race was compromised for sake of Lewis’s WDC ! !

  6. @Sumedh – Well spotted.. I was to write on the Heikki Race Cock-up myself, but then its “Team Call”,so can’t call much on this one. there will be other teams and other stories which will always remain under wraps

  7. The so called stewards at Spa….

  8. Max Mosely followed by his stewards.

  9. Idiotic posters on F1 forums who dig up conspiracy theories in order to devalue the incredible championship win of the youngest ever F1 World Champion, Lewis Hamilton.

    Racism and general nastiness rearing its ugly head in F1.

  10. I would agree with all the moments mentioned in the article. But if I had to pick one it would be Spa, a great finish to a Grand Prix with two drivers not wanting to settle for second ruined by the stewards. Then the FIA made the worst possible decision by having the appeal, then deciding the appeal was inadmissable.

    Like in a football game, the better the ref does the less he gets mentioned, I think the amount of coverage the stewards and FIA have received this year say what sort of a job they have done.

  11. Red light moment…

    And I don’t mean Max here….

    You mention Kimi and Sutil at Monaco but at least there was a racing reason for that…

    Although Kimi tapping Lewis on the shoulder and pointing at the light is probably one of my favourite moments….

  12. The worst moments of 2008 —

    Good ones listed but, no US GP was the worst ‘moment’, one that stays with you like a disease.

    Learning that the French GP would be gone from 2009 calendar.

  13. There could not possibly be a lower low than our boy Max
    getting outed and defending his actions on the grounds of privacy. Possibly lower yet was the FIA giving the S.O.B. a vote of confidence and not calling for his resignation.

  14. which race should i go to in 2008?? err silverstone? no done that in 2005 and a pretty dull race. what about monaco?? no, done that in 2006. also a dull race. then maybe good old spa??? no, i did that in 2007 and that was a real dull race. hold on i know, ill go to valencia in 2008. what could go wrong this time??………oh dear

  15. a peripheral worst moment

    Raikkonen-Cahier dispute on the grid at Silverstone

  16. Terry Fabulous
    18th November 2008, 22:39

    Sutil being punted out by a Ferrari. Especially when he was knocked out and the Ferrari kept going!

    (I say Ferrari because I don’t want this to be a anti-Kimi comment. I would have been just as shirty with the Scuderia if Felipe was driving. Although Kimi was annoyingly unapologetic after the race)

  17. Worst moment for ME:
    Finally talking my friends into watching a F1 race with me instead of Nascar and then trying to explain to them after the race why Piquet who just lucked out and pitted at the right time was on the second step of the podium at the end of the race because of stupid safety car rules…..this is the top shelf of racing afterall….quite embarrassing.

    Worst moment for F1:
    Taking F1 out of North America and France…..and I never expected to have to see red bottoms.

  18. Wesley – Amen!!!
    I have had hard time explaining F1 to the people on this side of pond. But I have been very lucky to have co-worker in present place and one of my ex directors , both into Open Wheel racing and F1 followers , So at least there are some people whom I can talk F1 and of course there is this forum and live-blog

    I should have listed live-blog among the best events of 2008 season :)

  19. 1. Bernie and his insane hunger for money leading to the axe taken to the Canadian GP for next year, my closest hopes for actually going to a real GP event.

    2. The stewards. ‘Nuff said.

    3. DC getting punted out on the first lap of his last race. Just a shame.

  20. 3. DC getting punted out on the first lap of his last race. Just a shame.

    Agreed. I felt so sad when I read about that. :(

  21. Kimi assualting a cameraman (although the guy may have come close to deserving it) , Lewis driving with eyes shut in Montreal pit lane , Massa learning to “skate”on Silverstone track , and his engine blow-up in Hungary , Lewis passing Glock in Brazil . Those are probably the worst moments I remember.

  22. Constantly hearing how Massa won more races than Hamilton when in fact he was gifted one by an incorrect marshalls decision at Spa.

  23. Belittling of Kimi’s performances when he had a pretty sertain win taken away in Montreal and another one taken away by a bust exhaust.

    Basically the fickle public ****** me off the most this year.

  24. Sadly there too many to chose from, which is a bit of a sorry state of affairs.

    I’d have to say the Spa penalty, S&Max Mosley-gate & ensuing vote of confidence (WTF?), axing of Canadian GP, Valencia, loss of Super Aguri, and DC’s non-existant last race were all lowlights that spring to mind.

  25. The worst moment is :
    -Losing kimi raikkonen the title .
    -not having the USA GP
    -seeing Alonso not in a competitive car

  26. Surely it’s unfair to brand Raikkonen-Sutil incident as brain-fade; wasn’t it over-cautiousness rather than carelessness that meant he braked earlier and lost it on the wet patch?

    Also Sutil was going to receive a 25-second penalty anyway so shouldn’t we simply disregard the incident?

    Just a thought…

  27. Roly – If we’re going to get into ‘should’ves’, Raikkonen shouldn’t have even been there. The correct penalty for still having mechanics on the grid before the start of a race, as Raikkonen did at Monaco, is to be sent to the back of the grid, whereas Raikkonen only had a drive-through penalty.

    So I think we should judge based on what happened.

  28. Raikkonnen did spoil Sutil’s race and its a shame, but Hamilton crashing into the back of Raikkonnen at Montreal, for me was even more humiliating

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