The New F1 Season, A Look Forward

by : Shaun Parker

The F1 season in 2008 promises to be one of the most exciting seasons for decades with a host of competitors that will ensure the action is both fast and furious. Last year's tri way battle between Hamilton, Alonso and Raikkenon created the most tumultuous climax; bringing many back to F1 fold.

What is sure is that sponsors and merchandise producers will be licking their lips at the prospect of increased profits due to the wider fan base.

Next year should widen this fan base even further with the McLaren signing another young prodigy Heikki Kovalainen from Renault. He impressed this year with some outstanding performances in a second string car and should open up the merchandise markets for Mclaren in Finland as well as Britain.

The move can be seen as a direct swap for Alonso who has moved back to the French team that he won two championships with previously, surely this also will be a merchandise earner for the flagging French team.
Mclaren will go into the season with two rookies who both debuted in 2007; both are exciting drivers whose fearless approach to racing will ensure excitement for British and Finnish fans alike.

McLaren will be returning to a Finnish merchandise market they have experience in; with Mika Hakkinen a past champion with the British team, the support they will get from Finnish F1 fans is sure to be huge.

This year however will not see the teams travelling to the US for a race. As one of the biggest motor sport fan bases in the world the sponsorship and merchandise revenues lost due to this will not please company bosses.

Although considering the debacle that was the 2005 F1 Grand Prix, when safety concerns over the Michelin tyres led to fourteen of the drivers not entering the race, the loss of the Indianapolis Grand Prix is no real surprise.

Instead F1 management have now added a night race to the schedule to further boost sponsorship and merchandise revenues. To be held in Singapore as a city circuit race it will begin at 8pm local time. Residents have reliably informed the press that by that time in the evening it will be almost pitch black.

F1 cars however do not possess lights so the track will be lit to seven times the brightness of usual sports events to ensure the safety of drivers. Sales representatives of the team's merchandise and sponsorship departments have had their fears of glare preventing clear television pictures allayed by track boffins, who will light the track in such a way that glare will be eliminated.

The night race has been designed not only to meet the needs of an evermore demanding F1 fan base but also to suit audiences in the western world who will not have to remain awake throughout the night to watch the race live. Sponsors and merchandise bosses yet again will be relishing this chance as another way to introduce fans to the exciting world of F1.

This season, unlike last years will hopefully not be marred by events off the track. Sadly, despite some of the best racing for years, 2007 will be remembered for the 'spygate' saga that cost McLaren the constructor's championship, and not the superhuman efforts of the drivers.

F1 will attempt to leave this in the past and focus upon the contest that is sure to enthral audiences worldwide. Can a rookie team at McLaren beat the seasoned professionals Alonso and Raikkenon at Renault and Ferrari respectively? We will have to wait until the 16th of March at the Australian Grand Prix to find out.