The last two years have marked a significant elevation for the sport of F1 in the UK, for we have a new sporting hero in Lewis Hamilton. Despite winning the title in his weaker of his first two seasons his tenacity and determined spirit have captured the hearts of a British sporting fan base and garnered the sport a herd of new fans.
After years of the likes of David Coulthard, Jenson Button and Eddie Irvine coming close but not close enough it became refreshing to see a British athlete at the pinnacle of world motorsport, especially one whose successful introduction to the sport was instantaneous.
And for those wanting diversity in British hopes it was also welcome to see Coulthard, Button and occasionally Anthony Davidson backing up the young superstar with sometimes flashes of brilliance.
Davidson was unlucky of course; a credit to his team, but in a sport where chances come few and far, his teams collapse signalled the probable death to his career.
Then of course Coulthard took a well deserved retirement and transfer to the commentary box to pass on his years of sporting wisdom, leaving Lewis and former British number one Jenson Button to carry on the British hopes.
This of course however almost abruptly fell apart after the close of the 2008 season.
Jenson Buttons career was seemingly left in tatters due to the dramatic collapse of his Honda team and it appeared that would leave Lewis Hamilton to fly a solo British flag in a field of 20 or so drivers, something not seen for many years.
Flash forward a month or so and boy what a shocking turn of events have occurred, leaving Lewis Hamilton’s credentials to successfully defend his debut title under a pessimistic spotlight.
The 2009 McLaren has been reported as a struggling crisis, with no emergence of apparent speed at any test sessions.
Oddly Jenson has gone in the opposite direction, as the immediate pace of his newly named ‘Brawn GP’ car has signalled a resurgence in his career focused aspirations.
Lewis Hamilton therefore unexpectedly finds himself in the position of not only losing his competitive edge with the front running Ferrari’s but also of losing his role as number one British driver, which can only result in something of an anti-climactic follow up season if his McLaren’s teams fortunes do not take a sudden swift in direction.
Of course the year is still young, the McLaren team vastly experienced to tackle the ordeal, and Lewis Hamilton being at an age where everything in the early stages of his career will act as a strengthening learning curve.
The first few races of the season will outline the foundations of where the season looks to head and a nation of British fanatics will surely back both Jenson and Lewis all of the way.