F1 Fanatic’s best arguments of 2008

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Hamilton catches Raikkonen at Spa, a big argument can't be far off...

Last month Alan said he had enjoyed the “quality arguing” on F1 Fanatic this year.

So have I, and I thought it would be a good idea to end the year by looking back at some of our best quality arguments…

Biggest row

It goes without saying that Spa-gate was the defining argument of the year. This had everything rolled into one: a dodgy stewards call, FIA-Ferrari conspiracy theories and the ages-old McLaren-versus-Ferrari rivalry.

With over 400 comments, the first article I wrote on the penalty attracted more discussion than anything else before or since.

Lewis Hamilton stripped of Belgian GP win – another asinine FIA decision

Those controversial headlines

Was Heikki Kovalainen lucky to win at Hungary? Throttle disagreed:

How about he drove sensibly, looking after his engine and his tyres?

And I’m told you can’t “lose” Sports Personality of the Year. Antonyob had a persuasive argument:

SPOTY dates back to the 1950’s in Britain, a very different time when our sporting heroes ahd 3 minutes of coverage on Pathe news and everyone used the word "old chap" more often than was strictly necessary. Sport was either played by working class types who were dashed grateful or by the ruling classes who did it for fun.

The PERSONALITY bit was because "winner" was considered too vulgar. Its an anathema, an anachronism but it still carries weight in the UK and Chris Hoy was genuinely overwhelmed. Its nice that not everything has to be about winners and losers but who the public perceive as the best example.

So if Hamilton finishes second again next year, I’ll call him a three-times “runner-up” and not a “loser”. Promise.

Best one-on-one

When we discussed whether Ayrton Senna or Michael Schumacher was the best driver, Steven Roy and Sri took each other on in classic ‘immovable object meets irresistible force’ style:

“Ramming people onto the grass is not grand prix racing. There was nothing exciting about Schumacher putting Hakkinen on the grass at Spa. That was stupidly dangerous and Schumacher should have received a long ban for it.”
Steven Roy

“What would you do, would you wave your opponent by? "So long bud! You take that win/championship. I don’t need it much."”

By the time they’d finished the discussion had moved on to Lewis Hamilton conspiracies, continuously variable transmission and spygate. Now that’s a quality argument!

Alianora and the rulebook

Why isn’t Alianora la Canta working for McLaren’s legal team? On Felipe Massa’s penalty at Valencia Alianora posted:

I am seriously unimpressed with the way the FIA has handled this. The stewards delayed the decision after the race despite it being obvious that the release was unsafe. The message declaring that might as well have added that Ferrari were going to be given no significant penalty regardless of the visual evidence.

Matters are not helped by the seriously inconsistent way that punishments have previously been handed out for this type of regulation breach. However, the regulations are clear in that there are only four possible punishments for this incident: a drive-through penalty, a 10-second stop/go penalty, a 25-second post-race penalty or a 10-place grid drop. There is no provision whatsoever for a fine to be imposed. (Yes, the FIA have issued fines before, but only when the driver got a DNF immediately afterwards).

If Ferrari did not deserve punishment for the incident, why were they fined? If they did deserve punishment, why didn’t they receive one of the punishments that the regulations say should be given for that type of incident?

All in favour?

Every now and then we actually agree on something. Everyone who posted congratulated the BBC on picking Martin Brundle for their F1 commentary team. Journeyer wrote:

Martin Brundle must have the highest approval rating in F1 today. Is there anyone who is as well-loved as he is?

You’ve got to be kidding me

Glock slowed down for Hamilton? Dumbest conspiracy theory ever.

Spot the codger

One of my favourite comment threads was after the Singapore Grand Prix where we marked the 800th F1 race by trying to find out who had seen the most.

Clive can trace his F1 fandom back to the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix. My 324-race streak (dating back to the 1989 British Grand Prix) is positively pitiful in comparison.

At the time ‘Eddie Irvine’ lamented that in 11 years of supporting different F1 drivers he had not yet seen one win the championship. But this year he was backing Lewis Hamilton…

Read the 100 F1 Fanatic articles with the most comments: The F1 Fanatic Top 100

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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14 comments on “F1 Fanatic’s best arguments of 2008”

  1. Continue with the great work and no doubt the comments will keep being lively…

  2. Best argument of the year for me has to be the whole spa fiasco.
    Damaged the title race, F1’s public image and really lit the touch paper on the whole FIA(t) controversy.
    Although, the seemingly unfathomable decisions in China didn’t help clarify things, and probably comes a close second.
    Maybe one you’ve missed is the whole (I’m gonna coin a new phrase for this, and I hope it catches on) Whoregate escapade, the should he stay should he go, conumdrum that has become Mad Max’s last year
    I didn’t believe that people could argue for his merit (regardless of this) but they did, and some nearly made sense!

  3. HounslowBusGarage
    29th December 2008, 15:19

    Whatever the argument, it’s a testament to the intelligence of the posters here that the arguments never result in CAPS LOCK or trading personal insults.
    This is definitely the most intelligent place to discuss F1 in the internet.

  4. No mention of “Spankgate”? Or was that the end of 07?

    I thought “for sure” we had some great comments from both sides of the fence on that one.

  5. Whatever the argument, it’s a testament to the intelligence of the posters here that the arguments never result in CAPS LOCK or trading personal insults.
    This is definitely the most intelligent place to discuss F1 in the internet.

    You must not have read any of my posts then :~)

    This is my first year on the site but I’ve enjoyed some of the arguments we’ve had on here, especially when our foreign friends get involved.

    Spa-gate was a great argument, it’s brilliant when all of the skeletons get dragged out of the closet, and this gave all the Ferrari & McLaren fans a chance to vent their years of bitterness.

  6. Great article! The world would be a very boring place if everyone agreed with each other. I don’t comment on here very much but am a regular reader, and it’s great to see opposing sides of the debates put their cases forward in an articulate and respectful manner. In the majority of cases!

    I was hoping for a less controversial season next year but then what would we all argue about?!!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all…

  7. I have been a race fan for over 30 years but, only started watching F1 three years ago….and as I wrote to Keith the first season I started coming here….this site has been a great education in Formula 1.Not only are the articles here good but, the people who comment on those articles are intelligent and well mannered.The newbies that keep coming in seem to pick up on the proper way to conduct themselves through the example set before them and that makes it a pleasure to not have to sort through the childish and vulgar rubbish that contaminates most sites.

    My comments are usually short but,I am learning more about F1 everyday and look forward to butting heads on some issues with a few of you when I have better knowledge on the subject.

  8. It’s been great discussing F1 with other people here :)

    As for why I’m not in McLaren’s legal department… …what would I do if they went up against Force India in a legal dispute?!?

  9. Parenthetically, I should explain that Force India is my favourite F1 team and I would feel quite awkward in opposing them.

    As for joining Force India’s legal team… …maybe in a few years time when I have some sort of documentary proof I could do the job to their satisfaction (I’m due to have the conventional secretarial stuff done by the end of this year, so in theory I could be a qualified legal secretary in two-and-a-half years). And have a house in Silverstone or a car and driving licence – Force India’s base is not very accessible by public transport…

  10. Indeed this site has by far the best educated bunch of F1 fans I have ever seen. This sure keeps discussions on a factual level rather than the “yes it is”, “no it isn’t” (etc etc etc) type discussion I see on most other sites.

  11. Bugger McLaren or Force India’s legal team – I think Alianora should be FIA President.

    I’m sure a few others on here would be willing to provide you with personal references and vouch that you have forgotten more than most(all?) FIA officals know :D

  12. Hello;
    Yes, good arguing here along the season and i have to agree with Wesley about the good manners and the inteligent comments.
    Unfortunately i can’t participate very much comenting, basically because my english is quite short, but i can read (and understand) 98% of the articles and comments. Still a bit difficult with the ausie (aussie?) english :-)but i enjoy (in the best sense) with the India “accent”.
    Keep everyone with the good work and i hope we can enjoy next year an apasionating season, at least as the last 2 ones.
    My wish for next year, a good (not the best, but good enough) car for Alonso from the beggining :-)he will do the rest for his 3rd. crown.
    Best wishes to all for the new year.

  13. Hounslow –

    This is definitely the most intelligent place to discuss F1 in the internet.

    Reading that has put a big smile on my face. Thank you very much!

  14. Keith, when’s the award ceremony for the best blogs of the year? Although of course you cant “win” the best argument of the year, only take part in it.

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