Formula One During the 2000s: A Tale of Two Halves

Chris RowlandsCorrespondent INovember 1, 2009

MONTREAL - JUNE 13:  Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher of Germany celebrates with fellow Ferrari driver Rubens Barichello of Brazil after Schumacher won the Canadian F1 Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada June 13, 2004.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

From the start of the 2000 season of Formula One through to the 2009 Abu Dhabi finale, we have seen so many epic moments in this, the most-watched sport in the world. We have seen a man win five consecutive World Driver's Championships, the first Afro- Caribbean driver and World Champion, and the first team to win the Constructors Championship at their first attempt.

Safe to say, it has been eventful.

Most notable was the complete division between the two halves of the decade. The first five seasons were dominated by the pictured team, Ferrari, and more notably Michael Schumacher, statistically speaking the greatest F1 driver ever seen.The second half was won by four different people and four different teams, a complete role reversal.

While there were indeed some fantastically dull races—notably the 2002 Hungarian Grand Prix—there is no doubting it was incredible to watch one man dominate his opposition so thoroughly, at almost every time of asking. It wasn't dull. It was mesmerizing.

After Schumacher retired, I felt mostly relief the title would become more open, but looking back I actually feel regret. How amazing would it be to witness Hamilton, Alonso et al face up against Schumi?

One problem we seem to be facing with regard to the future, however, is the removal of several European venues from the calendar. While France was understandable, seeing as Magny-Cours was in the middle of nowhere, Austria was quite a blow. Don't forget Belgium was absent for a year. Who can really envisage a future without the magnificent Spa? The British Grand Prix is under threat too, but it looks likely Silverstone will now retain it. I certainly hope so.

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Looking forward to the next decade, I see nothing but promise. The number of extremely talented young drivers is ever-increasing, to the point where half the grid can be labeled "potential World Champion." Regulations are constantly being modified to increase the spectacle of F1, and there will be more teams next season than I personally have ever witnessed.

The only stumbling block is the political motivation coming over the competitive motivation we have seen so much with Max Mosley as FIA president, that Jean Todt can hopefully reign in. Onwards and upwards, I say.

We end 2009 with a quote none of us ever thought we would hear: "There are things I cannot afford" - Bernie Ecclestone. (I'm serious. He said this. Honestly.)

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