Formula One 2008: A Season of Many Highs and Extreme Low.
After the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, it is safe to say that this Formula One season is shaping up to be the one of the best in recent memory. But from some people's perspective, it is shaping up to be the worst season in recent memory.
Let's take a look at the 2008 Formula World Championship as it stands today:
High: BMW-Sauber Becomes A Household Power
After struggling for over ten years in Formula One, Peter Sauber sold a majority interest of his Swiss based team to German auto manufacterer BMW in 2005. Just three years later, BMW-Sauber has become a force to be reckoned with in Formula One.
Any doubters of this team were silenced after BMW-Sauber swept the top two spots on the podium at the Canadian Grand Prix. Robert Kubica won the race, one year after his infamous crash in the same race. Nick Heidfeld came home in second.
However, many will say this victory would not have happened if Lewis Hamilton had not crashed into Kimi Raikkonen in the pit lane during the lap 18 safety car period.
Looking at the drivers and constructors standings sums up BMW perfectly this year. Kubica took the lead in the drivers' standings with 42 points, and BMW is only three points behind Ferrari in the constructors' championship. It is clear that BMW is now a power in F1.
Low: The Loss of Super Aguri Honda
In 2006, former Formula One driver Aguri Suzuki and Honda put together an F1 team at the last minute for Japanese driver Takuma Sato, because Honda wanted Japanese driver in a Honda powered car.
In 2007, the "Super Best Friends" had an amazing season for a team of their size. They scored points in Spain, and in Canada.
Everybody who saw the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix will remember three things that happened during the race. The first being Kubica's accident, the second being the disqualification of Giancarlo Fisichella and Felipe Massa for running the red light in the pit lane, and the third would be Takuma Sato overtaking the two-time defending World Champion Fernando Alonso with two laps remaining to secure a sixth place finish.
The result would end up being the team's second finish in the points in its history. Unfortunately, it would be their last.
In 2008, Super Aguri looked to be prepared for the season. However, the team's sponsor, SS United did not pay the bills, and SAF1 was left for dead.
Suzuki received help from his engine supplier and participated in the first four grand prix of the season. But after weeks of trying to find financial support, Suzuki decided to withdraw his extremely popular team from the world championship and file for bankruptcy.
Their absence from the grid is highly noticeable. It feels like that there is a huge hole that just cannot be filled. It is sad to see such a popular team go—especially the "little team that could."
High: Very Exciting Racing Action
The Monaco Grand Prix and the Canadian Grand Prix have been both two of the wildest and most messed-up races in recent memory.
Monaco saw a rain-soaked track at the start of the race. This led to many collisions and accidents, which caused the race to be shortened by two laps.
Adrian Sutil was on his way to a fourth-place finish in his Force India-Ferrari—until Kimi Raikkonen lost control of his Ferrari and slammed into the back of Sutil. Sutil was told he was finished, and could not even watch as Raikkonen passed him by in the pit lane to rejoin the race, only suffering minor damage.
Canada saw Lewis Hamilton take a commanding lead in the race after starting from pole. However, when Sutil stopped on track, the safety car was brought out. When the pit lane opened, many of the front runners came in for service.
After a slow stop, Lewis tried to race off pit road. He did not realize that the light was red, and when Kimi Raikkonen stopped his Ferrari, it was too late. Lewis slammed into Kimi, forcing both to retire from the race. This opened the door for BMW to take the victory.
There was a ton of overtaking, including a pass by Felipe Massa on both Jenson Button and Hekki Kovalainen in the hairpin corner. If more F1 races were like this, Americans would look at it in a whole different light.
Low: Max Mosley Wins Vote of Confidence
I will not get into what Mosley did, but it is the consequences of his actions for the sport that have many people worried.
FOM boss Bernie Ecclestone has talked of forming a breakaway series from the FIA. This leaves many fearing a similar situation to what American open-wheel racing was in for the past twelve years.
Only time will tell if Mosely's actions will have a detrimental impact—not only on Formula One, but on all motor sport in general.
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