A Review Of The Last Formula One Season

By: Thomas Pretty

As the new Formula 1 season is only a month away sponsors and merchandise producers will be licking their lips at the prospective profits. After the success of last year's season and the growth in fan base due to the high excitement, merchandise companies and others on the Formula 1 gravy train will be hotly anticipating March 16. But what made last season so exciting?

The 2007 Formula 1 season had it all; there were huge amounts of drama both on and off the track which made exciting viewing even for the casual observer. The battle for the driver's title was most probably the most exciting for years. It was the first time since 1986 that there was a three-way showdown for the title on the last racing weekend. This is why sponsorship and merchandise profits were so high last year and why they will be expected to be even higher this season.

The most memorable event in 2007 is undoubtedly the emergence of Lewis Hamilton. British merchandise companies and sponsors will be thanking their lucky stars for this as the popularity of Formula 1 in Britain had begun to wane somewhat. The impressive performance of arguably the best rookie ever will not be forgotten in a hurry; the big question of course is will he be able to perform to a similar standard this season?

Some commentators have suggested that Kimi Raikkonen was not a worthy champion. The amount of merchandise that has been produced to commemorate his title win stands testament to his popularity and his time spent in Formula 1 shows he has the skill to remain at the highest level. Added to the mechanical problems he frequently had at McLaren that scuppered his chances, his title win seems further deserved; if taken to the facts, Kimi won six Grand Prix, more than anyone else during 2007.

One driver who came out of the 2007 Formula 1 season somewhat tarnished was Fernando Alonso. For many years he had been a sponsorship and merchandise dream; being the youngest ever champion he was hot property, it seems last year may have dented that image to an extent.

His tantrums at McLaren over not being given preferential treatment showed him up to be a destabilising element in any team; not to mention showing his personality as somewhat childish and egotistical. This year he will return to Renault where he won two championships; whether he will be able to compete in a sub-standard car still remains to be seen.

Of the drivers outside of the 'big four' (Hamilton, Alonso, Raikkonen and Massa) the most impressive was most probably Kubica; driving for BMW he surely raised profits for sponsors and merchandise companies in Germany. The hope will be that his continued development as a driver will enable him to compete with Ferrari and McLaren drivers throughout the season.

Of the rookies apart from Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Heikki Kovalainen both impressed. Vettel put in some decent performances once he had joined Torro Rosso and regularly finished above his team-mate. Kovalainen despite having a slow start to the season looked competent in the latter stages, as he is now to join Hamilton at McLaren their new 'rookie' team will be out to impress sponsors and merchandise producers alike.

Overall last season was one of the most exciting for a long time. Formula 1 had flagged in popularity somewhat. The boring processions of cars are hopefully a thing of the past and with the changes in traction control regulations, the 2008 season offers even more excitement. With so many brilliant drivers in the pack the talent on show will be exceptional and as long as other teams can compete with the big two, a feast of racing should entertain us immensely.

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