Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Formula 1: 2009 in summary

And so the F1 season had ended. A new World Champion has been crowned, as well as, Constructor’s Champion. Looking back, 2009 has been punctuated by excitement and thrills only the pinnacle of motorsports racing could give.

2009 saw the demise of Honda to come out as Brawn GP, worthy successor to world class champions such as Ferrari, McLaren and Williams.

Midfield cars and drivers in 2008 were dominant in 2009. Button, Barrichello, Vettel and Webber each earned at least 2 first place podium finishes. Mercedes-powered Brawn and Renault-powered Red Bull were outclassing bigger teams.

Brawn’s Jenson Button was the dominant driver in the first half of the season while teammate Rubens Barrichello succeeded him in the second half. With a race to spare, the British driver snatched the Driver’s title from Barrichello and Vettel in the penultimate race that was in Interlagos.

Abu Dhabi showed fans what future race tracks should be like overlaid with modern amenities and the longest straight ever in the history of street racing.

2009 saw favorites Ferrari and McLaren running in the middle of the pack and it must have pained world champions Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton in such an uncompetitive car.

Of course F1 will not be F1 without its controversies. From Lewis Hamilton’s “lie-gate” scandal to Nelson Piguet’s “crash-gate” scandal, under new management with former Ferrari manager Jean Todt the FIA promises to usher more excitement in the coming season 2010.

Despite this, BMW Sauber and tire supplier Bridgestone leaves F1 racing at the end of the season.

But my favorite racing moment of 2008 has to be Kimi Raikkonen’s aggressive overtaking maneuver against Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella in Monza. The stronger pace was with the Mercedes-powered Indian car but Ferrari had KERS which the Finn was able to utilize taking Kimi to his only 1st place finish of the season.

Runner-up for best moments would be Jenson Button’s 5 overtaking maneuvers in Brazil from 16th place eventually finishing 5th and taking home the Driver’s title for good.

Fans cannot wait for 2010—the entry of new teams, Campos Meta, US F1, Manor GP and possibly former world champions Lotus; new drivers like Kamui Kobayashi securing his new drive for Toyota, Brunno Senna, nephew of triple world champion Ayrton, for Campos, GP2 champion Nico Hulkenberg for Williams, to name a few; and driver rotations—Fernando Alonso to Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen to McLaren or Toyota, Robert Kubica to Renault and Brawn driver Rubens Barrichello exchanges seat with William’s driver Nico Rosberg.

2010 will be exciting.