My highlights of the 2017 Formula 1 season
Posted By: James Allen  |  01 Jan 2018   |  6:39 pm GMT  |  193 comments

Happy New Year to all JA on F1 readers. Let’s hope 2018 is a good year for all of you and a good season for Formula 1. It should be a more competitive one, building on what we saw from Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull in the closing stages of 2017.

As we turn the page from 2017 into 2018 I thought I’d share some of my personal highlights from the year, including things that happened behind the scenes. Please let us know what your highlights were in the comments section below. We may well publish some of them in a separate post in the coming days.

Kimi Raikkonen and the kid who cried in Barcelona
I’ve been in F1 for 29 years and so this was the first season of my career where the sport was not run by Bernie Ecclestone.

One of the first obvious things that showed that F1 was in new and different hands after the takeover by Liberty Media was the way they handled the story of the young French boy, Thomas Danel, who was captured by TV cameras in tears in the grandstand after his hero Kimi Raikkonen was eliminated at the start of the Spanish Grand Prix.

In an F1 office in the paddock, it was suggested to Luca Colajanni, who now works for F1 communications department but used to be head of communications at Ferrari, that they should get the boy and his family into the F1 paddock and into Ferrari to meet and be consoled by Raikkonen.

It made for a genuinely touching moment of TV, sent out a positive signal about the sport and its outreach to fans and when I met the family an hour after the race, they were still wandering around the paddock shellshocked at what had happened to them. The parents’ mobile phone inboxes were jammed up with messages.

Charles Leclerc
Interview with Charles Leclerc, Silverstone
Since meeting Ayrton Senna at a Formula 3 race in 1983, I’ve encountered plenty of young drivers making their way up the ladder to F1 and had the chance to speak to them before they got their F1 debut – and some of the future greats have made an impression.

I had that feeling again when I sat down with runaway F2 champion Charles Leclerc at Silverstone this year, in the F2 paddock up at the old pits complex.

Leclerc had shown amazing mental fortitude having recently won Baku despite losing his father that week after a long illness. Some of his drives in the series were reminiscent of Lewis Hamilton’s in 2006, when it was called GP2.

But he’s a different kind of driver from Hamilton. He has incredible speed, of course, but his overtaking style is less aggressive, more strategic and his feel is clearly exceptional. It’s very hard for a rookie to win the F2/GP2 title as the Pirelli tyres used there really take some getting used to and learning how to manage them takes time and experience.

Leclerc learned a lot in the first race weekend in Bahrain and from then on judged it almost perfectly for the rest of the year, against more experienced drivers.

Our interview which was published on JA on F1 in July, (link here) explains who this man is and where he is coming from. In the wheel tracks of his young contemporaries Verstappen and Ocon, this trio look set to form the F1 elite of the 2020s.

He will race for Sauber Alfa Romeo in 2018, so keep an eye on him. He is a Ferrari junior driver and Italian colleagues say that Ferrari has him lined up to replace Raikkonen for 2019, although there is a chance that if Vettel falls short again in 2018 they may look to Ricciardo. Time will tell.

A visit to Bernie’s office
As part of my remit with bringing my website and digital content business into the Motorsport Network, I have made several documentaries this season and in October I went to Princes Gate to interview Bernie Ecclestone for a film on legendary F1 photographer Rainer Schlegelmilch.

Bernie helped Rainer a lot and took him under his wing as his official photographer at one point, so it was important to get his take on Rainer’s work.

Having been used to not only waiting for Bernie, but also having limited time with him in the past due to his hectic schedule, it was odd to have well over an hour recording an interview and then chatting about life after F1. I’d had my motorbike stolen that week in London and he was even giving me advice on how to get it back!

Hosting the F1 World Champions at FIA Hall of Fame
Without doubt the best thing from 2017, probably one of the best things I’ve ever done in motorsport, was hosting the inaugural FIA Hall of Fame event in Paris in December.

The event featured most of the living F1 world champions and representatives of most of the deceased ones too. It was therefore a unique event. They are all now inducted, so it won’t happen again.

It had the feeling of a huge event, in an intimate setting; the library of the Automobile Club de France, next to to FIA headquarters in Paris.

Drivers like Rosberg, Vettel and Alonso admitted that they weren’t sure what to expect before arriving there but sitting together with legends from the past like Mario Andretti and Nigel Mansell and being honoured for their achievements in F1, was a powerful emotion and they were all extremely glad that they had made the trip.

It was an amazing night, of the highest level and a privilege to be part of along with my co-host Nicki Shields.

Daniel Ricciardo in F1 press conferences
This year wasn’t and easy one for Daniel Ricciardo, as I outlined in my Top 5 Drivers of 2017 post, but he certainly gave some fantastic entertainment in the official F1 press conference, which I host and moderate.

Whereas Vettel can often by funny in a sardonic way, Ricciardo is downright funny much of the time and we had some priceless lines from him this year. There was the hilarious episode where he asked permission and then broke wind after the race in Singapore GP, but my favourite was at the end of the season in Abu Dhabi, where he sat with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel and said, “Obviously I give every year a good crack, but (I’ll) give next year a proper crack.

“I mean between us all we’ve got eight world titles, so it’s pretty good! But, yeah, obviously we want nine!”

He’s a breath of fresh air and long may he stay that way.

So what were the highlights for you of the F1 season 2017? What were your favourite moments on or off track? Leave your comments in the section below

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i enjoyed the 2017 season because there were so many competitions up and down the grid. even 2nd 3rd and fourth places we’re talking points right until the final race.
all the races won were cheered. for me cheering translates to approval so all those complaining are in the minority. f1 should take no notice of them after all f1 existed before the fans. f1 attracts fans, fans do not attract f1. f1 is attracting more fans every season and should continue to attract fans as it has always done…
there are motorsporting series which are won by a different driver every season yet they don’t enjoy a tenth as many fans as f1 does…
even if the regulations change, the driver who leads their team the best, will win so i just don’t think there is a need to take any of the negativity seriously..


all the races won were cheered. for me cheering translates to approval so all those complaining are in the minority.

Haha you’re so insecure it’s amusing.


Nick, to be fair all wins are cheered by someone, and I would say that there ismore evidence that thr complainers are in the minority than the other way round.


Nick, to be fair all wins are cheered by someone

In life in general of just F1? 🙂

Back to the complaining, and I’m pretty sure it all revolves around the current state of affairs with the engines.

You might be right about the minority however I can’t really remember anyone complaining about the N/A engines anywhere near as much as they do with these Hybrid PUs. Fair enough?

In fact I don’t think there was anyone moaning about them at all.. apart from people with sensitive ears.


“I can’t really remember anyone complaining about the N/A engines anywhere near as much as they do with these Hybrid PUs.”

Surely you must’ve complained about all those engine penalties Kimi had to take in 2005, no?

Have to also remember that that was before this site even existed, and before the advent of Sebee. 😀


Hahaha good one KRB.

I did complain but it was mainly aimed at my TV! Did JAF1 exist in 2005?


I believe JAonF1 started in 2009.


Late 2008, but yes it started in earnest at the start of 2009


NickH, they didn’t complain about the engines as much, but there was certainly a lot of complaining going on, there always is.


certainly a lot of complaining going on

You’re not wrong there Tim. I remember someone interviewing Damon Hill back when he was racing and he said words to the effect that not all races can be classics, just like not all football matches are. The irony is that a lot of the complainers now reference back to those MSC/DH days as being halcyon ones.


C63, it will always be the same, the usual method of the rose tint brigade is to compare the most recent season if F1 with an entire decade!


i’m never insecure because i am confident that race victories are always cheered by fans present at races and those watching on their tvs. those fans are excited about their f1 experiences and should be given more attention than the minority who moan without any logical reasons whatsoever. don’t forget that f1 attracts fans and not the other way around..
a small reminder, i am assured of myself.


@ NickH…You know sometimes it makes me wonder…Is he just talking to himself or what…?


Ken, I think even neurological doctors would struggle to fully understand what is going on there hahaha


why should i be insecure?
you are the insecure one, complaining and asking for change while not confident enough to share your real reason for complaining and asking for change.
i am confident in everything i say and haven’t moved my position once. you keep fluffing around baseless.


Hi James, just reading the part “a visit to Bernies office” and it reminded to me ask for help, stay with me here 🙂 I’ll explain…

I saw an old lady struggling to cross the road about year and half back, so I stopped to help her out, found she was about to catch a bus to go shopping, seeing she was struggling, I took her my car instead. Anyway as we wondering round we were chatting, turns out she’s an Ex-f1 Photographer, Maureen Magee, you may know of her. (I’ve attached a few pics of hers for you to see) She’s not in good health, I’ve tried so many avenues to get a current F1 driver/member to contact her with no avail. What I’d really like is some good natured person in the F1 world to spare half hour and call or better still meet her. She is a little eccentric, but it would mean so much to this elderly lady who spent many years following F1 all over Europe.

If you can help, or point me in any sort of direction, it would be massively appreciated

Oh and the reason why a “visit to Bernies office” reminded me, is because she used to get on well with Bernie from I understand and did have pitpass once upon a time, and he’s impossible for a mere mortal like me to get in touch with.

(I know it was cheeky of me to use this forum to contact you, so if this comment goes nowhere, I understand,)


To me Highlights of the year, Kimi’s Pole in Monaco I never expected this

Decision of the Year by Team :- giving preference to Vettel to take on Mercedes in Monaco.
Disappointment of the year : – Singapore crash and European Grand Prix.Worst & formula 1 Sign as well. (Mc’Laren)
Surprise of the Year : – Esteban Ocon
Drive of the Year : – Hamilton Brazilian grand Prix


Was the disappointment in relation to the European Grand Prix due to the fact that there wasn’t a European Grand Prix in 2017?


Guess he’s considering Azerbaijan as the Euro GP, as it was in 2016? Can call that one an honest mistake.


I believe they had to call Azerbaijan the European race didn’t they – something to do with the % of races held inside and outside Europe and the contracts Bernie had with the teams.


My highlights for 2017 (in no particular order).

Hamilton taking the outright pole sitters record and the presentation of the Senna helmet. Hamiltons defence at Spa after the SC came in and, of course, Hamilton taking his 4th title.
Overall I thought it was a great season and although the title fight petered out towards the end of the season, for the most part it was closely fought and I found it tense as well as exciting.


2017 proved, Kimi is human, and a good one at that :p Max’s overtakes, Ocon’s consistency, and a good overall drive from Hulk who single handedly brought Renault its sixth.


James, would a lowlight article come after this one?

I would be really interested to know, especially from someone like you, what you didn’t like about this season.

Mine was the Austin Rumble In The Tarmac intro! Totally cringeworthy lowlight of the season.


@ Fan1…you’d not be the only one to nominate this pathetic display of ‘cheese’ as the standout ‘lowlight’ of the season. I do fear that this will become a feature of the COTA race in the future. Prepare to be turned off.


It was really bad on TV but did it come across that way for the American fans at their home race?


@ Jon…who knows but let’s be candid here…the audience is more than the USA and judging by the comments i have seen on many many other sites it went down as a cheap ‘plastic’ gimmick. It was painful to endure….


Kenneth I turned the volume down until it was over and thought it was cringe worthy but that is also why I don’t watch American TV
Occasionally I channel surf and a race event from the USA is on. I can generally stand about 5 minutes of the commentary before I turn it off. That is my question . Was it a good product for the Americans? If they enjoyed it then we are destined to see it repeated next season.



Michael Buffer was reportedly paid 4 million pounds for the Joshua vs Klitschko heavyweight fight. I wonder how much he got to announce the lightweights Vettel and Hamilton? I’m sure well over in excess of $ 2 MIL.

What a waste by Liberty.


@ Fan F1…..If that’s correct it is ‘obscene’ in a manner of speaking.


According to Wikipedia, Buffer has earned over $400m for his announcing work.

I want to cry…


I think he’s good and, as they say, if it was easy then why isn’t everyone doing it? Don’t misunderstand me, I wouldn’t want that sort of thing at every race, but I thought it fitted in well with the general razzmatazz that accompanies the race at COTA. Think of it like junk food – nice every so often 🙂


No it won’t have been anything like that.


Thank you, James, for all you do and for the efforts of your co-authors as well. The body of work you provide is most positive to the understanding of F-1 for this fan.


Enjoyed the article – and the past year – thank you, JA.
But I really enjoyed the quality, variety and positivity of the comments here today – thank you, commenters.


Good highlights, James. I especially like the LeClerc interview and feel the same way about this man. When you hear his radio messages you can’t help but imagine a fast, calm, calculated and tenacious driver who will never give up – all virtues of a champion. The future of the sport is in good hands with the trio of youngsters you have mentioned. Watching the F2 races were always the highlights for me because of LeClerc.

Watching Lewis win his 4th title on a third iteration of a Formula 1 car was special as well as Alonso making the F1 community proud by a great showing at the Indy500. Although an ex-F1 driver won the Indy 500 the year before, it is the first time in a long time that a current F1 driver participated outside of F1 while the season was ongoing. He did us proud. If not for the Honda engine, who knows, he could have won it. A true highlight for the 2017 season.

Lewis Hamilton has proven with this year’s title that he can drive any car to poles, wins and championships. I would not have mind seeing him challenge Vettel, and in some way, Alonso, both of whom had weaker teammates, from 2010 to 2013 without the disadvantage of having another champion teammate in Button. I think he could have won one in the EBD era, as well, without the very experienced and underrated Button, at one time reigning champion when he teammed up with Lewis, taking points and wins away from him while his rivals were being given preferential treatment by their respective teams. 2010 and 2012 comes to mind.

In any case, besides being fast, Hamilton’s ability to adapt and tame, especially this year’s diva, any car is his most impressive attribute. The race stretch from Spa to Mexico were Hamilton stepped on the gas with a bit of Lady Luck in tow was a highlight for me. Poles after poles and wins after wins swung the favour back Hamilton’s way and an overdue 4th title was finally his.

Kimi’s Minaco pole and Stroll’s podium were also memorable and so was Max’s schooling of Vettel in Silverstone and Mexico and his bold overtake of Lewis and dominant win in Malaysia were equally memorable highlights for me.

But you are right, Ricciardo’s funny line “there are eight titles between the three of us” is amongst the highlights of 2017. As you say, a true breath of fresh air between the dry wit of Vettel, Max trying too hard to be funny and Hamilton’s mood swings.

Happy New Year James!


“Although an ex-F1 driver won the Indy 500 the year before …”

An ex-F1 driver has won in the last three Indy 500’s.



Hahaha. Good point. I totally missed that one.

I have also apologized to Nico Hulkenberg below who won Le Mans while active as an F1 driver. I am now seriously rethinking if Alonso’s Indy moonlight is really that special. And he didn’t even win it unlike the last three ex F1 drivers! I think I might be guilty of jumping on the bandwagon on this one. I’m sure others were too.

At least, Hulkenberg won his extracurricular activity. Where was all the hoopla?


I’d still call it special: some of the ex-F1 drivers you speak of have full-time rides in that series – they should be competitive. Alonso was the very definition of a blow-in, and predictably did an amazing job!

That said, you do need a fair wind to win the Indy 500, and it was unfortunate we were robbed of him being in the mix around the time of the chequered flag. He was right with Sato when (yet another) Honda engine gave up.


A point well made but hopefully Alonso will stimulate more interest in this cross classification racing. I am old enough to remember the interest Cecotto caused when he switched codes, or maybe it was the team mate he was up against


There was hoopla around Hulkenberg for sure. Not as much as there would be if Alonso had done it, but still.

To win either the 500 or Le Mans, you need a lot of things to fall your way as well. Driving ability can only just put you in the frame, for those races. Before Alonso’s engine failed though, he was running 7th and falling a bit behind. It was actually Max Chilton leading (!) with Sato tucked up in behind him, with 22 laps to go. It’s at that point, the last 10% of the race, when people start to really race, to defend position harder, etc. Up to then it’s just keeping yourself in with a chance.

So yeah, there was a bit of glorifying Alonso’s run in the 500, while overlooking the drive of Chilton, who in terms of pure driving ability, couldn’t hold a candle to Fernando.


Apologies to Nico Hulkenberg – LeMans Champion and current F1 driver. Oops!!!


Happy new year to JA and readers.

I agree that 2017 had numerous highligth and that naysayers are mostly annoyed that it did not yield the result they wanted….and yet they will tune in in Melbourne and keep on coming here complaining or debating F1…..that’s a pretty good sign that F1 is still relevant and can generate passion.

actually 2017 was very close to a classic year…unfortunately Ferrari/VET lost big points when they were supposed to press their advantage and Merc/HAM really had a strong 2nd half. A reverse scenario in singapour would have streched the championship all the way to abu dhabi and would have been monumental.

My higlights (important moments as some were negative highlights) : HAM breaking records and driving superbly, Vettel/RAI crash in singapour ( the tide turned), VER/RIC ups and down, Honda’s final and dismal season with McLaren, ocon/prez battle and FI standing for on its 4th place (there should be an award for “most effective team”). and a new guy to be in my “most annoying circus member”…Sergio M replacing MrE !!


you’re right, 2017 was an exciting season. those who complain are in the minority because all f1 fans st the circuits cheered the winners. a profound piece of evidence that they are happy with f1 as it is. i challenge all anti fans to turn up at circuits to protest and be heard.
they only go on websites to complain because they are in the minority..
baku was exciting because of all the incidents…


I do not agree with “fans” booing at the podium. Hamilton got booed in Italy so not everyone was happy, and by your statement this shows true and accurate dissent compared to those that are posting on line.


Mr. James,
It has been a pleasure reading your column for the past year. Keep up the good work.


Great article, thanks! One of the top moments for me was Hamilton’s incredible qualifying lap at a very wet Monza, something like 1 sec ahead of everyone else and to top it off I believe he also broke Schumacher’s quali record that day as well. I’m glad to be able to witness one of the greats in his prime.


2017 was a fantastic season as it was littered with numerous highlights.
i don’t just understand those who complain. those listening to the complaints have got ot realise that there are different people complaining about different aspects of the sport without a real reason, but just complaining because they dislike the outcome.


You’re still complaining about 2016 saying ‘Mercedes won Rosberg the championship’ about a million times on that other article.

Complaining for no real reason because you didn’t like that outcome.


You say people that complain about F1 are only doing so “because they dislike the outcome.” Well, we all know why you don’t athough I will note you complained yourself alot at the end of last season.

Considering that overtaking almost halved this season due to the wider cars, increased downforce and shorter braking distances ..

…its therefore understandable people are struggling to show the enthusiasm you do or find as many highlights .There is more to this sport than one driver and most fans want to see drivers battling wheel to wheel for race wins, not shooting off into the distance while managing fuel flow and tire wear.


overtaking didn’t present much of a problem this season. the only tack overtaking was a problem was abu dhabi. the rest were good. drs has reduced the value of overtaking.
like this


Sarsippious, you mean like in Spain and Belgium?


Even the most die hard Hamilton fan can only highlight two races out of twenty. You could’ve just said you totally agree with me that the racing is a bore but thanks all the same for proving my point.


Sarsippious, I don’t think the racing is a bore, there were good races last year, and some not so good ones. I don’t think it will go down as an all time great season, but it is far from the worst I have seen. I have been watching since the mid eighties, and have enjoyed all the championships I have seen won. When people talk in such disparaging terms about modern F1, I wonder what they are talking about as it wasn’t so very different in “the good old days”, I also remember the same sort of complaints being made by the same sort of people back then! You have a simple choice, stay or go, nobody is forcing you to watch.


Sars, can you name a season where there were lots of wheel-to-wheel racing for the lead, in a large number of the races?

We had other passes for the lead in MAL, USA & MEX this year, had the crazy Baku race, saw some overcuts in AUS & MCO, and had some winners hounded to the line in RUS & AUT.

I’m all for some aero reg changes that will aid nose-to-tail close following between cars, but it’s a bit much to call the racing a bore.


Look at the link above I posted KRB with regards to the decline in overtakes. You take out the ones Hamilton and Ric did in Brazil from the rear of the field and Rics 13 places after his grid penalty in Britain and it drops well below 50%. It was also one of the leanest years of multiple overtakes as well.

Were there some key overtakes as you mention, certainly, yet we were left bereft of the wheel to wheel battles many fans crave, like the one we witnessed between Max and Dan in Malaysia in 2016 and even that only lasted for a few corners.

In the past we witnessed those kind of fights regularly, lap after lap, so forgive me if I deem what I witnessed this year as underwhelming or indeed …..a bore.


you should get out of your room and watch a live race instead of counting overtakes.
next season, a lot more italians will pay to watch the race at monza. that’s how much they enjoyed it. they didn’t boo because they didn’t like it. they booed because of the pain hamilton subjected them to. they will be back for more, i’m sure.


What series were you watching to see regular wheel-to-wheel fights lap after lap? I’ve only been watching F1 since 1979, so perhaps it was before my time?


I don’t think we witnessed them “lap after lap” in the past. You’re wearing rose-tinted glasses there. I don’t have the overtaking figures, but I bet that 2007 & 2008 were comparatively lean on that stat, but they were very tension-filled seasons.

The Max & Dan battle in Malaysia ’16 was great, but yielded 0 overtakes in all. So just going by overtakes is not always the best barometer.

Alonso v Schumacher in Bahrain ’06? 0 overtakes after the final pitstops. Imola ’05 or ’06? No overtakes. Still a case of the hunter harrying the car ahead, and being able to do so repeatedly (i.e. no 2 laps to try, then need to drop back garbage).

It can’t always be Bahrain ’14 in terms of the dicing between cars. Having a car pass, then be re-passed by the car they just overtook, is a very rare occurrence in F1.

Many of the DRS-assisted overtakes would not qualify as wheel-to-wheel “battles”. Perhaps we should keep track of such a stat this next season. Like in hockey or soccer where they track shots on goal, but then also scoring chances (basically shots from dangerous positions).


That would be an interesting stat to keep track of. Lot of effort involved in that though KRB so probably a job for you.

I think the only way we get more overtakes next year compared to the past one is if we have the title contenders finding misfortune in qualy or suffering McLaren-esque level of grid penalties for faulty engines.

As for your snide comment regarding the pretty glasses you assume I wear, I’ll just say Senna and Mansell in 91 and Schumacher and Hakkinen in 98 to name the first two off my head. Plenty of wheel to wheel racing in both those seasons throughout the field.


no need for more overtakes. there were enough over the 2017 season.


You answered your own question: they don’t like the outcome. They haven’t liked the outcome for years. It’s getting particularly stale being able to guess the race result before the lights go out. Many of the competitors who – all things being equal – would be contenders are getting kicked in the proverbials purely because of one component of their package constantly lets them down. That the field is effectively operating in two tiers of manufacturers and garagistes. Even having the main protagonists in a situation where they are massively hyped, knowing that either many of them would be susceptible if there was just a little more competition.

A classic season 2017 was not: it was the same people getting the same results at almost every race. Classic in my mind would be 1997, 1999, 2003 or any season where the form between the top teams (note the ‘s’) fluctuated in form and created some kind of variable narrative. I’ll admit there was a tiny bit of this in 2017, but it didn’t last.


Big haydo. I wouldn’t have 2017 as a classic season, but I thought it was good. I would point out that in 1997 JV won 41% of the races while MS won 29%, while last year Lewis won 45% to Seb’s 25%.


Ahh – but in 1997 there was something like 17 drivers that were on the podium at some point, and the title went to the wire. That’s the variability I’m talking about!


Bighaydo, the title went to the wire in 2016! 97 may have seen a lot of podium visitors, (15 out of 27!), but the championship was all about Jacques and Michael. I also seem to remember Patrick Head saying that Villeneuve made “heavy weather” of winning the title that year, so maybe having low quality drivers in the top teams is the answer!


There was more variability back then because there was greater unreliability. With greater reliability now, it’s hard for midfield teams to score a podium.

You’re right, in 1997 there were a lot of different drivers on the podium, 15 in all.

Five with 1 podium, and another three with 2.

The highest we’ve seen since 1997 was 14 different podium finishers in 2008. This year (only 7) was particularly low. 2011 had only 7 as well. 2011 was a walkover year, but then you have 2007 where there were only 8 different podium finishers, and that was the closest 3-car finish in F1 history! So while greater variability would be nice, it doesn’t mean you’ll have a classic F1 season.


I’m very tempted to work out some kind of “excitement score” metric, weighting race/team winners, how close the championship was, podium finishers possibly as well…


I’m up for that, but it’s usually the case that any season is exciting for some, and not so exciting for others. But can aim for an excitement metric from the view of a true neutral.


Indeed, and some stats are misleading – 2007 had 4 race winners, while 2004 had 5, but you’d be a brave man to claim that 2004 was a better, more exciting season.


from the view of a true neutral.

Are there any true neutrals involved in this debate though? Most of the complaining boils down too; ‘my’ drivers not winning……..


Not really. I just am getting a bit bored with drivers winning when they have a significant car advantage, even over their teammates. Especially when at times said drivers have previously shown some cracks when someone is there to put the pressure on. Also when some other top-tier drivers are completely hamstrung by their equipment and forced to scrap with drivers that are clearly not their equal, but struggle because the field is too stratified, and that some rushed, ill-conceived regulation aimed at cutting costs does little more than preserve the advantage.


So you don’t mind who wins so long as it’s someone else – is that right?

Whats the difference between that and ‘my’ drivers not winning?


I don’t particularly care who wins, so long as there is actual competition and some change to the narrative from time to time, not the same guys winning all the time for the obvious reason.

I have a pre-disposition to support the underdog and may see things a bit differently to others who might champion dominant success.


I have a pre-disposition to support the underdog

Fair enough – I tend to support one main driver through thick and thin, but I do also like to see the underdog do well from the to time – who doesn’t?


take blinkers off mate…


To be quite honest there weren’t too many highlights for me in ’17. It was my opinion that from day 1 Mercedes were going to win both championships. Mercedes only did what it had to do. The WCC points table are a clear indicator of that. I guess the race that i enjoyed most was, strangely enough, Baku.Coming into that race i had absolutely no idea what was about to unfold. No one could’ve forecast that. It was packed with incidents not usually encountered and it also had some real racing thrown in as well. Ricciardo’s triple pass was the highlight..for me that is. I do think that it’s a pity that real racing was in short supply for most of the year. My greatest fear is that the results of this year will mirror those of the past four.


everybody else above pointed out numerous highlights.


@ Aveli…In case you haven’t noticed, i’m not everyone else.


never thought you were, for a minute.


@ Aveli…so what’s your point?


my point is, you’re stating the obvious.


Dear oh Dear oh Dear……


am i twice as dear to you that you love me so much?


Hi James, Happy 2018 to you & all fellow readers. I have been in love with F1 since I was taken to see the Tasman Series at Warwick Farm in 1968. I have enjoyed many aspects of this year like Baku, the Pink Twins trying to wall each other at Spa, half the field desperately trying to deal with the understeer at Degner 2, Max closing on Lewis at Suzuka, Lance Stroll making good his oportunity & karma helping Vettel spin on his own coolant in Singapore.
But after attending Melbourne, for the first time with my daughter, the best highlight for the year was while leaving Albert Park & my daughter excitingly jumped up & down & asked “We are coming again next year, aren’t we?”
Ladies & Gentleman, we have another fan, & for the record she is a Kimi fan at that. That’s a proud dad moment right their. I just wish I could get her to a grandstand.
Roll on 2018, & I’ll see you from turn 9.


@ Mick…as an attendee at all the Tasman races at Warwick Farm i can remember all the great races as well. Fond memories.


Mick & Kenneth,
I attended the Tasman series races at Sandown in the early 70s. Having F5000s and F1s mixing it – great times!!


I can only think of three, of the top of my head, or three main ones, and a bunch of secondary ones.

– Lewis Hamilton being presented with the Senna replica helmet by the family. That was a touching moment. 🙂

– Lance Stroll getting a podium in Baku, and any time that he proved some of his critics wrong. Not sure where I was for Canada, but I missed him getting points there.

– Lewis’ fight for the title, in that race where Vettel punted him to the back of the field, and both champions had to fight through the field to the respective positions that they needed in order to win the WDC.

– ALL of the Ted’s Notebook segments after Qualifying, and the Races, on Sky F1. Love those.

I enjoyed the shared respect that Hamilton and Vettel had, before Baku.

Did Martin Brundle get a long service award this year? If so, that was good.

Paul Di Resta getting back into a car, and his Sky F1 colleagues support for him throughout the weekend, including reminisces of their own various times stepping in for sick drivers. That was a good weekend.


Hi James,

Do you know if there are any packages for tickets to the French GP, Austrian GP and British GP as I’ll be travelling to them this year as my highlight for 2018 (from the other side of the planet).

Looking to get a package where all three would be combined in the one ticket as this is a great way to tick off 3 GPs on the bucket list over the course of 2 weeks and what a great marketing angle a ticket like this would be.

As for this year, my highlight is definitely RIC’s triple overtake in Baku.


I can’t imagine there being enough interest for such a niche product. I think this is one you’ll probably just need to sort out by yourself. Gives you a lot more flexibility with how much time you want to spend in each place that way, too.


Well considering the low was channel 10 dropping F1 FTA broadcasts…I’ll highlight some other bits and pieces, more so than races watched.
– DR’s Facebook videos and reports after races are fairly cool. It’s also pretty fun when he sneaks in shots of MV sleeping or when he stole LH’s iPhone on the podium.
– F1 had a full length free archived GP up on the website for a few days! That was fantastic to watch, even though I can’t remember now which GP it was? (Maybe it was a Japanese GP but I can’t recall). Anyway, it worked, and it was great and hopefully a sign of things to come for viewing audiences.
– The Bruce McClaren DVD was awesome
– And 3 days after starting it, I’ve just finished my Christmas present, the Adrian Newey autobiography – How To Build A Car. That was for me the highlight of my F1 year. Such an enjoyable read.
– Another weird highlight is whenever your comment or question attracts an answer or comment from the great JA himself on this website!
– And finally back to the racing, even though I’m not a Ferrari fan, I really enjoyed the results up until the summer break. It was setting up for an amazing finish which of course fizzled out. But the first half of the season was very interesting and worth reading about and catching up on (as a non pay TV subscriber) as much as possible.

Cheers JA, have a great 2018.


Luke, you poor bugger.
I see that you too are a victim of Channel 10 in Australia.
For the rest of you, dear readers, I shall bring you up to speed with the reality of life Down Under.
Channel 10 purchased the free to air rights from Bernie several years ago, & used to give us a 1 hour Quali on Saturdays, & about 2 & 1/2 hours on Sunday to cover the grid walk & the race.
They dropped the Qualifying, but Google was our salvation making the results available.
Then at the end of 2016, Channel 10 sold their package to Foxtel, & apart from 4 occassions (Melbourne, Monaco, Singapore & Abu Dhabi), only gave us a 1 hour “highlights” show minus 15 odd minutes of advertising, usually on a Monday night but several times so late on a Tuesday that it was actually Wednesday morning.
Does anybody know how hard it is to avoid hearing the result, for days?
Sometimes there was only 2 laps between ad breaks, sometimes there was 20 laps cut!!!
Channel ten’s answer to enquiries was to subscribe to Foxtel.
Foxtel offers a 20 plus channel subscription for $50 per month, but there is no sport. To add the Sports pack was an additional $25.
So Rupert Murdoch wanted me to pay $750 so that I could watch 1 bloody channel!!! NOT BLOODY LIKELY.
Now I understand that Liberty Media are American, & not a charity, & are in F1 for the money, but I sincerely hope they understand the ‘Sir Richard Branson’ policy of
‘Why take a dollar from 1000 people when you can take 10 cents from 1 000 000 people’.
Therefore James, please don’t bother wasting your efforts on Channel 10 Australia, because we just don’t get to see the fruits of your labour.
I hope that my 2018 highlight is that Liberty Media enable me to see all the races so that I may enjoy my ultimate passion that is . . Formula 1


Heya Mick & Luke – another Australian Pay TV victim reporting in… you forgot to mention that when they did the deal with Foxtel, they ended the coverage on Ch10 without any prior warning! I was looking forward to catching one of my (few) live races, which suddenly disappeared from the schedule!

The highlights packages were extremely ordinary – scheduled for 60min with 20min of ads, with races where the main talking points were glossed over, or simply didn’t feature. We didn’t get any footage of the Stroll-Vettel incident in Malaysia, entire scraps were omitted, pitstops were shown but cut away the moment the car left the box. It looks like they copy-pasted the Skysports summary, and talk about sub-standard coverage!

Rupert and his cronies demanding the prices they do for access to F1 is just wrong, and unfortunately is a sad indictment of Australian TV across the board. Watch this space, I reckon we’ll end up losing the GP in Melbourne: it’s already contentious on tax payer funds front, imagine what it would be like if it isn’t serving the “main purpose” of advertising the city to the world!

Prior to all this pay-TV malarkey, I hadn’t missed a race from the end of 1994 to 2016, and because I don’t fancy getting behind on my mortgage to pay for a bunch of televisions shows I wouldn’t otherwise watch, I was relegated to casual fan overnight (aside from the live timing and commentary – for which I won’t pay what they are asking!). And they wonder why online piracy is as rife as it is…

Hopefully Liberty has the nous to realise that you can’t be a truly global sport without giving people access: I’d be happy with a no-frills lights-to-flag coverage – add the bells and whistles to make the paid coverage more palatable. I’m sure that the sponsors would appreciate more eyeballs on the screen, rather than the selective few.


you forgot the extra $10 for HD


@ Mick….This was always going to happen. We in australia are simply soaked for everything, grossly overcharged for just about anything i can think of! The Chael 10 FTA broadcast was always a shambles and we were lucky to get 45mins of racing per hour ? I cane even recall the last two laps of a GP being dropped for an Ad break. Yes, Foxtel satellite is expensive but it is worth it…considering the level of broadcast and volume of material available. I get every FP session, quali and the race, totally uninterrupted plus the notebook and gridwalks. That adds up to around 10 hrs+ per race x 20 races For two hundred hours off F1 it costs me $750 so i consider it a worthwhile investment especially when i also Moto GP as welll!!! My suggestion is this, if you can afford it do it… won’t be sorry. To lay this at the feet of Murdoch is simply wrong. The problem lies with with Liberty and their predecessors.


I would very much like FTA to return in the UK, but I think the chances of it happening are virtually zero; there’s very little FTA sport in general now in the UK, and it is very unlikely to happen before the Sky deal runs out in 2024(?). I’m lucky in that I can afford it and watch enough other sport to make it worthwhile, but I know that’s not the case for everyone else. I think the days of BBC/ITV full seasons are gone, but I think the duel deals with BBC/C4 can return.


F1 is still FTA on german tv . It takes a bit of dish magic ( from parts of uk) and if you do not speak German then the audio feed from BBC radio is 10 seconds late but acceptable. There are some internet sites ( no i will not put up the address because James would ban me for life) that try to re-push a murdoch tv feed but you need to be a bit more tech savvy for them. Finally it is fairly easy to mask your IP and get an audio feed . As they say locks only keep out honest people.


I am aware of certain sites that I resort to when I am abroad, at home however I’m impatient and set in my ways and can pay for the convenience.


My personal highlight was being sat facing the start line of the Singapore GP. It all goes so quick you’re thankful there are TV screens to replaying the action.

Other highlights of the year include Ricciardo calling Max an effing amateur in Hungary as well as his triple overtake in Baku.

Also Hamilton achieving the highest number of poles was quite something too.


Happy new year to all.
James – I didn’t know you do so many fantastic things off the site. Great!!!


My highlight of the year is Lewis Hamilton. 2016 was a bad year for him, reliability issues, blaming the team, disobeying the team, losing to a less-talented teammate, and failing to deliver in the crunch races. To come back from all that as a sportman, and have even a half-decent season is amazing, but to deliver the best season of your career, requires something truly special.

And that is why i also look forward to 2018. Can Hamilton keep this up, can Vettel rebound after a horrible 2017, is Verstappen ready to show the consistency needed for a championship challenge, can Ricciardo play Prost to Verstappen’s Senna, and does the “Old-Dog” Alonso still have it to mix it at the pointy end if the Mclaren-Renault is any good.


On second thought, maybe the confirmation of the Halo introduction in 2018 was the lowlight.


The highlight was when quali in Melbourne showed there just may not be another Merc cakewalk in store for the rest of the fans. The lowlight was it also showed there was only one further pair of cars in contention, with daylight to the next in line.


It’s very hard for a rookie to win the F2/GP2 title as the Pirelli tyres used there really take some getting used to and learning how to manage them

And this is why once Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel have all retired is most likely the day I’ll finally finish with F1. I have *no* idea how good any of the new breed of drivers are at beasting powerhorses around tracks; and neither does anyone else… As they’ve all been brought up to concentrate on “managing” artificially complex tyres instead. How very, very exciting… 😣


Thank you James, and fellow contributors, for another year of your brilliant blog!

My personal highlight of the year was standing at turn 2 for the start of Singapore race and witnessing the carnage, grinding and sparking straight through the first turn. The crowd reaction and the confusion of seeing Seb make it past turn 3 only to retire moments later was spectacular stuff!

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