The brilliant: Hamilton's epic victory in Brazil 2008
As I am writing this sentence, we are already 2 and a half hours into the next decade. Throughout the Noughties, Formula 1 has undergone massive changes, the likes of which we have never seen before. Safety was radically improved, which has certainly saved many lives. We have seen Schumacher completely dominate, retire, and return. Battles between the FIA, FOTA, Mosley, Ecclestone and the world raged on, as the fans of the world looked on in disgust and anger. It was certainly a decade to talk about.
There is much to debate about here. The Schumacher domination, aided hugely by the impeccable F2002 and F2004, bored many F1 fans. But, when he left, we got 4 new champions in 5 years. Not boring in the slightest, especially when we saw new stars like Hamilton and Alonso rise.
As it was the start of the millenium, technology was going to soar out of proportion. Constant rule changes shifted the field on many occasions, but failed to solve the original problem: overtaking. The use of pit stops to overtake came into force, but hopefully this has been shut out with the refuelling ban next year.
However, the political side of F1 reared its ugly head, as money often spoke above the true sport. Indianapolis 2005 is the perfext example of this. About 100,000 spectators, and hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide, were cheated and ridiculed, because politics and money ruled. Also, it proved that Max Mosley couldn’t give a crap about his FIA president responsibilities, and waas more interested in the politics (and sado-masochism) than anything else.
The ugly: Indianapolis 2005- When politics rules in sport, you end up with a farce.
Then, most of the way through 2009, the FIA/FOTA war started, nearly ending in a breakaway series. Once again, the fans were pushed aside as politics ruled.
It is a wonderful thing, however, that Formula 1 was still able to provide pure, on the edge of your seat racing after all this. Brazil 2003/2007/2008, Suzuka 2005 and Belgium 2008 all proved that the sport was still enthralling and captivating. Lewis Hamilton’s last corner, last lap victory to win the championship was probably the greatest sporting finale ever.
So, F1 proved to be as unpredictable as ever. But, this always had to bring out the ugly side in the sport. Enter Nelson Piquet Jr, Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds. The crashgate scandal rocked the sport, disgraced figures, and probably cost Massa the 2008 championship (this is very debatable though). Mosley was right- race-fixing is worse than cheating.
The really ugly: Piquet's abandonment of sportsmanship in F1
This leads to a difficult question: Was the noughties a good decade for F1? I would not blame you for a second if you said no, because the constant turbulence is simply harming the sport’s image. If you said yes, it was because of the brilliant spectacles that we were sometimes treated to. No matter what your answer is, I have little doubt that 2010 will change F1 for the better. I dont think the politics side can ever be fully shut up, but the return of a legend, better technical changes, and many brilliant drivers pitted against each other speak for themselves.
The noughties changed F1 forever. Now to see can we make it epic: bring on 2010!