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2008 Formula One Season Review

It’s time to look back on the 2008 Formula One season and also to see how my preseason predictions held up.

McLaren-Mercedes: Prediction: 1st; Finish: 2nd
Lewis Hamilton: Prediction: 1st; Finish: 1st
Heikki Kovalainen: Prediction: 3rd; Finish: 7th

The return of calm calculation paid off as Hamilton delivered the World Championship – in dramatic style – but a patchy season from team-mate Kovalainen meant the Constructor’s title went to Maranello.

Ferrari: Prediction: 2nd; Finish: 1st
Kimi Raikonnen: Prediction: 2nd; Finish: 3rd
Felipe Massa: Prediction: 4th; Finish: 2nd

The Tifosi thought they had both titles wrapped up for about 30 seconds in Brazil before Lewis Hamilton broke Massa’s heart. In a suprising turnaround it was the Brazilian who lead the team as reigning champion Raikonnen seemed to sleepwalk through half of the season.

BMW Sauber: Prediction: 3rd; Finish: 3rd
Nick Heidfeld: Prediction: 8th; Finish: 6th
Robert Kubica: Prediction: 5th; Finish: 4th

As predicted the German squad were the “best of the rest” with Kubica giving the team its first win. Heidfeld had a stronger than expected season and ran in the points all year.

Williams-Toyota: Prediction: 4th; Finish: 8th
Nico Rosberg: Prediction: 6th; Finish: 13th
Kazuki Nakajima: Prediction: 15th; Finish: 15th

Well didn’t we get THIS one wrong? Podiums for Rosberg in Australia and Singapore did little to offset the lack of pace shown during the rest of the disappointing season.

Renault: Prediction: 5th; Finish: 4th
Fernando Alonso: Prediction: 7th; Finish: 5th
Nelson Piquet Jr: Prediction: 14th; Finish: 12th

We expected them to be stronger with the resturn of Alonso, but not this strong. Piquet’s 2nd place in Germany marked a second-half resurgence topped by back-to-back wins for Alonso in Singapore and Japan, with the Spaniard outscoring everyone over the last 6 races.

Red Bull-Renault: Prediction: 6th; Finish: 7th
Mark Webber: Prediction: 10th; Finish: 11th
David Coulthard: Prediction: 11th; Finish: 16th

Our prediction was pretty close though Coulthard’s fade into retirement came earlier than we expected, as the team started to prepare for 2009 during the second half of the season.

Honda: Prediction: 7th; Finish: 9th
Jenson Button: Prediction: 9th; Finish: 18th
Rubens Barrichello: Prediction: 22nd (DNF); Finish: 14th

The disaster of 2007 was followed by an almost equal underperformance in 2008, with only Barrichello showing more fire than we thought he had left. The news of Honda’s withdrawl from the sport was a shock but justified based on performance versus investment.

Toyota: Prediction: 8th; Finish: 5th
Jarno Trulli: Prediction: 13th; Finish: 9th
Timo Glock: Prediction: 18th; Finish: 10th

The massive investment made by Toyota however, seems to finally be paying off as the squad strung together some consistent performances and made a definite move up the F1 pecking order – to our surprise.

Toro Rosso-Ferrari: Prediction: 9th; Finish: 6th
Sebastian Vettel: Prediction: 12th; Finish: 8th
Sebastian Bourdais: Prediction: 19th; Finish: 17th

Vettel was the undisputed rising star of 2008 with his performances outshining even Lewis Hamilton’s acheivements. As predicted, Bourdais could not match his younger team-mate and maybe “one and done” in F1.

Force India-Ferrari: Prediction: 10th; Finish: 10th
Adrian Sutil: Prediction: 16th; Finish: =19th
Giancarlo Fisichella: Prediction: 20th; Finish: =19th

Well we pretty much nailed this prediction as the Mallya-owned equip tooled around at the tail-end all year, wasting Adrian Sutil’s talent but giving veteran Fisi something to do on Sundays.

Super Aguri-Honda: Prediction: 11th; Finish: 11th (DNF)
Takuma Sato: Prediction: 17th; Finish: =21st (DNF)
Anthony Davidson: Prediction: 21st; Finish: =21st (DNF)
James Rossiter: Prediction: 21st; Finish: DNS

We didn’t think they would set the grid on its ear, but we at least thought they would finish the season. Losing a team – any team – from the F1 grid is a great shame and the plucky little Super Best Friends squad were liked by all.

So there you have it.
Overall an entertaining season that went down to the wire – literally!
Look for our 2009 F1 Season Preview towards the end of January.


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