My highlights of the 2017 Formula 1 season
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Posted By: James Allen  |  01 Jan 2018   |  6:39 pm GMT  |  199 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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199 comments

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1

I would love to know what Bernie's advice was to get your bike back James, did he suggest one of his underworld contacts would keep an eye out for it?! The 'Ferrari kid' was a great moment, best on track moment was the whole Brazillian GP with Dan and Lewis coming through the field, and as always watching the young drivers battling for supremacy remains fascinating to me. Very much looking forward to seeing Leclerc on track in an F1 car, will Ericsson see which way he went? If Charles blows Marcus away, then he will indirectly ruin Wehrlein's chances of returning!

2

He has already ruined Wehrlein's carrier didn't he? Next Year may be Kimi departed however Ferrari will bring Giovinazzi, movement could be expected in 2019 we may see Alonso in Red Bull Ricciardo in Mc'Laren but pool will remain same so.......... to me Wehrlein's last hope is Williams now.

3

Neo, Toto has said that Pascal deserves to be in F1, but if Leclerc beats Marcus more convincingly than Wehrlein did, then I think he will drop off the radar.

4

Maybe you could use some of the millions Lewis is paying you to comment on the forum to buy James a new bike?

5

Andrew, I asked the boss, he says he can get James a good deal on an MV Augusta.....

6

lol...James was happy enough with just the interview Tim...didn't want to owe Bernie any "favours'.

7

Bernie probably had it in his garage.

8

For sale, no doubt.

9

You think Bernie ever sold a used car that had the VIN changed? 🙂

10

If Bernie deemed it worthy to swipe, I'd like to see what James was riding.

Feel free to use that "attach photo" feature James. 🙂

11

Happy New Year to all! 🎉🎆

Highlights for me were the Spanish & Belgian GP's, getting the first wet night race (and first in Singapore), Alonso at Indy, London Live, and the post-quali presentations in Canada, Belgium, and Italy.

I always like watching the In Memoriam montage at The Oscars, as there are always some lesser known people who you know of, but didn't hear of their passing. I think FOM should produce a similar video clip for each year. We obviously lost a giant in Surtees earlier in 2017, but we should highlight other team members or paddock ever-presents, that have passed on during the previous year/season.

James, regarding the Hall of Fame, I am glad that they've finally gone that route, but I don't believe they should have automatically inducted every champion right away. I haven't looked into the policy for the other major sports leagues in N. America, but the NHL mandates a minimum 3 year waiting period (after a player retires) before HoF eligibility. As you've alluded to, inducting them all en masse means that we won't have anyone going in (drivers at least) for the forseeable future.

We could have had Rosberg and Button being inducted in 2019 & 2020, etc. Were other non-champion drivers inducted? I'm thinking of drivers like Gilles Villeneuve, Stirling Moss, or Jacky Ickx.

11.5 weeks until lights out in Melbourne, and only 8 weeks to winter testing!!

12

Isn't it really just a Hall of Champions? A Hall of Fame would have included Moss and Villenueve.

I like the suggestion of easing the induction of drivers though, because you're right, who is there to induct next year?

13
Richard Mortimer

Good point about Moss and Villeneuve. They should award a 'Master Of The Era' prize or something. So, Fangio would get it 1950-57; Moss 58-61; Clark 62-67; Stewart 68-73; Lauda 74-79; Prost 1980-87; Senna 88-93; Schumacher 94-2004; Alonso 2005 to? hmmm, now it becomes difficult....

14

@Richard Mortimer

Thanks. I think they should just enshrine them as Hall of Famers. According to KRB down below, they do have plans to do that.

15

@FanF1, I have no idea if they have plans for that or not. I was just saying it was a possibility.

16

Thought you might be onto something, but it is a Hall of Fame, but it seems they've only inducted the F1 World Champions in so far.

https://www.formula1.com/en/championship/drivers/hall-of-fame.html

So maybe those non-champion stalwarts will be the next in.

17

@ KRB

Let's hope so. It would be a shame not to.

Those two are more deserving of being there than some of the champions who are already in.

18

The Hall of Fame thing bulk induction was probably because of the backlog and it having been created just now.

I find it interesting that people like Ecclestone, Williams, Dennis, Jordan are not eligible - or are they? I mean if we're talking about contribution to Formula One racing, is there any argument about these? So many more. Would/Should Flavio be inducted? 🙂

19

I'm sure they will be eligible. For the NHL's Hall of Fame, the categories are Player, Builder, and Referee/Linesman. Coaches, owners, league commissioners would all be under the Builder category.

F1 doesn't really need a Stewards category, but a Builder category would apply for any of those you mentioned. Maybe a category for the F1 press.

As FanF1 says, Briatore is persona non grata. When you asked about Briatore I also immediately thought of Pete Rose.

20

Flavio like Pete Rose in baseball, regardless of their contributions, will never get the nod, I think, because of the heiniousness of their acts.

21

FanF1, same goes for Eddie Jordan, his podium interviews are a crime against humanity.

22

@ TimW

It's Jordan's shirts that are more henious than any acts committed by Pete Rose and Flavio Briatore.

23

I wonder which is worse? Pete Rose, where there is no proof if he bet against his team and no proof he fixed games, OR Flavio, where there is 100% confirmed proof? Plus, there is that whole thing that MLB endorses gambling and betting now, don't they? So Pete was an early adaptor?

24

@Sebee

Intetesting, isn't it? One fixed a race and the other committed an act that could have led to game fixing.

I thought Rose should be in. His stats on the field alone are good enough to get him in there. Which is what matters, isn't it? But when the hypocrites and the righteous decide, somehow only morality matters. IN BASEBALL ?!?! FOR PETE'S SAKE!!!!! Excuse the pun.

I don't think Flavio should ever get in though because his henious acts were committed on track. Imagine if Piquet got severely injured or lost his life. Both him and Pat Symonds should be charged with manslaughter.

25

My own personal highlight was attending Spa, and watching the race as the cars blasted down the Kemmel straight - for me it's one of the most iconic images in F1 and I was privileged to be there and witness the restarts between Hamilton and Vettel in person - looked for all the world that Vettel would take the lead at the restart but my boy held on, I knew he wouldn't disappoint me!

In terms of other races, either Spain or Singapore would be my highlight.

26

You really took that slight from kenneth (being left off of his Hamfosi list) hard eh? You're totally overcompensating now!! 😉

27

You've hit it right on the head for me Andrew M. The sight of Vettel twice, right on the heels of Lewis coming out of Eau Rouge, and onto the Kemmel Straight were sights to behold. I thought that it was curtains for Hamilton, but he cleverly held back Sebastian in both attempts from taking advantage of the slipstream that he had on him, and was still able to hold onto first place going into Les Combes......Terrific moments!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhmGaCjpoBY

28

My highlights were when they started talking about new engines for 2021 and there was some hope that they would reintroduce v10s, or at least really brutal 1500 bhp twin turbos. Also when there was a chance of a jet fighter type screen instead of a thong, or nothing at all.

29

Well, that highlight means nothing, because there is little motivation to rev these things higher with twin turbos flattening out the power curve.

FYI - McLaren documentary added to Netflix today. There is also a Williams documentary, but somehow it just made everyone look like their priorities are out of whack so I stopped that mid way through. Should we be impressed that Frank is praised for prioritizing his racing hobby ahead of his family repeatedly?

31

aveli, Verne found a way to get super fast delivery of Tesla at a huge discount, and he'll never out grow it. Lucky dude!

Look at all that electric instant torque!

32

Why do they have to give big discounts?

33

A kid at the end of my street got a Tesla for Christmas. Except his is even smaller and remote controlled.

34

Still ELECTRIC!

Long time ago I had a Tamiya RC F2001 Ferrari - my goodness that thing was a bullet. It was honest a goodness too darn fast.

35

I had one as well. But I crashed it on purpose because I didn't like like. I preferred my petrol-powered buggy. It was much faster and more exciting, probably because it sounded more like a real car. And I didn't have to recharge it for hours. A thimble of petrol was all I needed for hours of fun.

Good memories.

36

mine was pedal powered.

37

1500 bhp twin turbo engines without Mguk and Mguh would sound glorious even at 12000 rpm.

I really enjoyed the Willams documentary, by the way. I thought it was very funny in a tragic kind of way.

The Mclaren documentary was interesting but it felt rather flat, as if something was missing.

There is also an excellent Ferrari doc with really good footage focusing on the 50s and Peter Collins and hawthorn.

38

McLaren doc on Amazon surely?

39

On Netflix in recently added. 2017 production date. Maybe they gave Amazon the first go for 6 months and now Netflix has it as well.

40

Great to see Kimi make at least one top 5 list.
Highlight of 2017 for me was Kimis pole lap of Monaco.
Worst would be no more FTA races in Australia, not sure who let that happen but if i find out i will take a dump in a box and post it to them.

41

The highlight for me was as a VIP with Mercedes in Singapore. An experience i will never forget.

43

Hello James, my recent comments on your new articles are not getting through. I know the poster Jon to be the same person as cheesypoof,and was just trying to advise the site not to allow some bad behaviour tolerated elsewhere to creep here. I haven't read anything about Hamilton for a couple oif weeks, and only read about what the poster was alluding to moments ago. Am i struck off? A yes reply in my inbox will suffice. Thanks.

44

I am definately not cheesyproof and I request that you withdraw that allegation or give your evidence.

45

Some of you will know im a Dan Ric fan but i also work for Epson with regards to Robotics in Australia so was provided the privelage by the Epson Singapore boss a VIP pass for qualifying day.

We were put up in a 5 star hotel overlooking the track and were ferried around in Mercedes cars with the Epson logo on the side.
Had lunch at a Chinese restaurant in one of the tallestr buildings in Singapore.
After that back to the track and into the Mercedesn hospitality lounge directly above the Mercedes pit. All the food and drink you like all afternoon and night. Giant TV on the wall with presenters talking about the drivers, the team and technical things like the steering wheel etc.
Then the highlight is being taken downstairs in to the pit while the action was on. James will know theres two rows of seats at the back of the garage where as a VIP you sit with a monitor in frobt of you and you are given headphones so you can listen in on the team radio.
You are so close. Literally 1 metre behind LH's car as the mechanics work on it. Then Lewis goes out for practice laps and comes back in where i took the photo you see above. (Not supposed to take photos but could not help it).
Im a technical guy working in Robotics so really appreciate that side of things. The team would answer any questions when we did the pit walk prior to Qualy. I actually had a photo taken of me sitting next to the sidepod behind the front right wheel nof LH's car.
Did i mention the gifts we were given ?
No, ok well we were given a cap, jacket, bag and a heap of other stuff.

Now to bring back myself to earth i only had the pass for Qualy day and night. For the race i had a general admission ticket.
Remember the rain on race night ?
I was standing in the pouring rain across from the Merc garage looking up at the windows above the garage at all the race VIP's and thought wow, how things can change and bring you back to earth fast ! Still the race was great and you are closer to the cars in the race so that's a different experience.

The Mercedes hospitality team were so great to us and so accommodating i can't thank them enough. It was a once in a lifetime experience but i'd give my left arm to do it again.

Now while that was all good the best part was behind the scenes

46

Dufus, sounds an amazing experience, love the bit about standing in the rain looking at what once was yours! Is it better to have loved and lost? Would lovevto go to Singapore, my Dad lived their for a few years and attended the first Gp there, he enjoyed it despite having no idea who any of the drivers were! If I do ever get there it will bevery much on the GA side of the fence, what was your impression of the fan experience?

47

Hi Tim,
i think the fan experience was good though with general admission best to have your seat or position at least an hour or two before the race but its the same everywhere. Was the same in Melbourne for me a few years ago.
Food was good, entertainment was great but i missed seeing Duran Duran which was a shame.
There's a real separation from the privelages of a VIP to general admission. It is chalk and cheese.
I wonder if there's a way the organizers could have it so the general public could do a pit lane walk. I know it would take time when we are talking about thousands of people but why not let the public walk past the garages and get to see their favourite team up close.
Just that alone could really bring the fans closer.

48

Dufus, I have always thought that the drivers should be forced (at gunpoint if necessary) to sit at one end of the pit lane signing autographs, while the fans get to look into the garages while they queue. Would only work on Fridays, but would be a good thing to do.

49

I don't know why but that Max Mosley quote that F1 is a TV sport has always stuck with me, and it always plays back in my head when there is pouring rain at a race I'm watching. If it's coming down buckets I'm just feeling the pain for the fans at the track taking the soaking to be there. And now I feel their additional pain of them taking that soaking and not getting the spectacle they could and should be experiencing. Those V10 sounds were quite uplifting on those wet days.

50

Hey Sebee, I don't know whether it was the echo with the fencing etc but towards the end of PIT straight when they are flying by the sound was good. Not the V8 sound of the past but still heart in the mouth stuff with the speed etc. Could care less about the rain as long as there is action to watch.

51

Thanks for sharing

52

Hopefully Liberty Media get it.
Im telling you, just put a 3d camera in the pits or behinds LH's helmut on a flying lap and you have a new fan base.
Samsung lead the way right now.

53

I am insanely jealous...

54

Me too - green with envy!

55

The highlight for me was Baku, the only truly great F1 race of the season. Yes there were a few other solidly decent ones, but Baku was wild and the only really memorable one for it.

In comparison F2 continues to show the sport up week-in, week-out by going to the same tracks and providing at-the-top-of-its-game excitement. Somehow the DRS and gimmicky tyres add to the F2 show even where they detracted from F1, and the reverse grid thing just makes perfect sense for F2. Additionally, Alex Jacques & Davide Valsecchi are a joy to listen to. Ironically enough the only duff F2 weekend was the Jerez round where they did their own thing away from the F1 circus.

56

Also the 2017 Macau F3 GP was stunning. Amazingly intense racing. There is a vid on YouTube if you're interested.

57

highlight for me was monaco. i was on the stand in rascasse during the drivers parade. as the truck came pass most drivers were happy chatting while hamilton stood with his head bowed low, looking into his phone with a miserable posture. as he look up, he looked into my direction and i pointed both my index fingers at him with my arms stretched out forward, like he does on the podium and he burst into the widest smile ever and started to wave back. he didn't look into his phone again. may be he did in the tunnel.
on tv, monza singapore spa and spain were pretty special.
behind the scenes, jean todt pretending to wanting to investigate vettels baku incident was exciting, and hamiltons refusal to shake todt's hand upon receipt of his championship trophy and refusal to attend the hall of fame were also dramatic.
i can't wait for march to come along fast enough.

58

You attended Monaco LOL

Did you make that up??

59

this a picture of a parking notice i took while i was there.

60

ok nickh...in 2008, we stayed in to a small italian town called albenga with an hour's drive into monaco. hotel was 80 euros per night and 50 euros for qualifying and 70 euros on race day for general entry tickets for a grassy area overlooking the pit entry and the homestraight. there's normally a huge tv screen with excellent commentary.
second time, stayed in geno a bit closer with a 20 minute drive into monaco. all other times i stayed in ventimiglia. started at the train station and gradually moved away until we reached the coast in 2017. the last time i stayed in a hotel called hotel kaly for 105 euros a night for a suite. got grand stand tickets on raceday for 340 euros.
i have posted on here several times about how monaco is a lot cheaper to attend than silverstone and silverstone is so much closer to me than monaco. plus the facilities are much better in monaco than silverstone.
most think it's out of their reaches. i thought the same until 2008, when i went there without the intention to watch the race. i wanted just to be present while the race took place. it wasn't until i felt a gp2 car go past while i was behind the wall that i decided to watch the race. it felt as though the car had gone through mu chest. i watched qualifying in a caffe on the hill comng down from the italian side.
you can also go. i intend to go again this season.

61

@aveli, what can I say, my apologies mon ami!

I found that genuinely interesting and by the way you describe it yes it does sound very doable.

I have been to Silverstone once in 2008 which was a good experience apart from getting in and out of the track which was a complete nightmare, and as you say it wasn't cheap.

62

it is accessible to a lot more people than most think.
not a good idea to leave silverstone right after the race. a lot more to see around the track. cross the track after turn 1 and you can see into the back of the paddock where all the team motor homes are parked. normally a hive of activity. you could walk the track or stand around to see the tv crews carrying out their post race chats.

63

Good to know.

I actually went with a girl believe it or not! And her brother was an F3 euroseries driver at the time, James Jakes, so he had passes to get us into a few of the better spots. Club and Farm off the top of my memory.

The awful weather was half the problem in terms of exiting, not sure if it’s any different these days.

64

NickH, I last went to Silverstone in 2015, we drove straight into the carpark without stopping! Getting out was s very different experience though, as Aveli says better to stick around for a couple of hours wandering the track than sit in your car!

65

attending monaco may be an impossible dream to you but it’s a reality to me. i have attended monaco several times since 2008 and will attend again this year.

66

Brother pays obviously..

67

Did you get any pics of the drivers parade?! Strange you never mentioned it at the time given how prolifically you post on here all year round.

Just out of interest which hotel were you in? I hear Coulthard’s place is very nice.

68

@aveli. Haha, had a similar experience in Montreal this year. Was trackside during the track parade when the king was came by. Had his headphones on, waving until he saw me scream my ass off, pointing at my Grenadian flag! Immediately had a huge grin, waved and gave me the thumbs up! Admitted it made my life. Unfortunately, in my excitement, was unable to capture the moment. Luckily, a fan - a ferrari fan no less, took an awesome picture and emailed it to me. It was an awesome experience. Trust me when I say this, television does not adequate purvey the experience of being trackside. The noise, the people, the atmosphere, unbelievable.
Trackside fans are passionate, courteous and respect all the drivers. Strongly suggest this experience to everyone.

69

Geez you sure do get around..

70

Ha ha ha, I received your desperate, hysterical, muddled up rant in my inbox ;
more desperate attempt to muddy the waters, and create a massive decoy. If James was refusing my comments, it must be because i jumped the gun and made a point that didn't seat well with the site ';
which i clarified and for which I apologise. You are not as clever as you think you are. Every time i see your multiple aliases, and particularly having conversations with yourself, i see someone with a contempt for other posters intelligence. The only other poster, your panic and desperation has led you to accuse me of being Is Aveli. You have now gone completely berserk. It is James himself you are foolishly trying to hoodwink here. But i am absolutely convinced he believes me on this matter.Every garbage you have listed here are things you alone practice on this site. And who are these so called posters you claim have been here for eons. None of these names have been here for more than 3 years maximum :
sarssipios, cheesypoof, Hello,
Clarkwheelsdrift, Jon, Jimothy, AlanF1, NickH, to name a few. You have introduced over 600 names minimum on this site since you started with your original 3 years ago : tealeaf,
equinox and Dave c. You are a coward. You lack the courage to own your mindless, fanatical hatred, infatuation and obsession with Hamilton. I dare you to become a normal human and post with a single name at a time on this site.

71

This is what I'm taking about when i say you need to pay more attention to who your posting as. My reply was to 'Oblah', not 'Janjajanjajja' yet you received it in 'your' inbox.

72

Haha another one for the archives Sars. Comical.

73

Your right, you got me. Im all those you mentioned and the other six hundred you haven't.

You call out four and five star posters and yet you have one? Please explain to us all how someone thats been here for five minutes can possibly know so much about guys that have been here for years and believe you know everything's they have ever said. How is that possible I wonder??

The gig is up and you have no one to blame for it apart from your own stupidity. You gave yourself away remember???

But hey, spit the dummy and resort to calling others name's instead of owning it. I would expect nothing else from someone with your disability.

74

Six hundred different alias........name all of them then!

75

Ha ha ha, i posted my last comment around 12pm midnight, but so rattled and destabilised you are by the absolute truth, that you are jolted to do what some guilty minds will do in situations of intense stress, which is lash out with worthless personal abuse,like i received in my inbox at 3.15am.It is the prerogative of the site to let comments through or not, but everything I have said in my posts are the absolute truth. Remember, C63 has already caught you mixing up your emails, with some of your posts showing irregular star awards. I have destabilised you with the truth, but your unwillingness to lay down the truth from your own side is causing you discomfort, and you are lashing out like a trapped animal. No more going off on irrelevant tangents. Just tell the truth like i have. Admit you are all these aliases. It is easy, it is the absolute truth.

76

is it unacceptable to only name a few?

77

I don't see how someone could post under many aliases, but with different IP addresses (which we see) -

Can you explain that to me?

78
Ricciardo Aficionado

VPNs

79

I did not receive this comment in my inbox, but i presume it is for me James. Well, as i have mentioned before, I am quite poor with technology, but after searching on the Internet, i understand that those who subscribe to vpn products like IPVANISH and others are offered thousands of
IP address choices to operate with on the Internet. And also choices of countries to appear to be operating from. I don't know how much that answers the question.

80

Well, as i have mentioned before, I am quite poor with technology, but after searching on the Internet, i understand that those who subscribe to vpn products like IPVANISH and others are offered thousands of
IP address choices to operate with on the Internet.

You seem to have a very good understanding..

81

The truth has prevailed. The waters can no longer be muddied. All i see are the flapping hands of a drowning man.

82

Wow, I've been speechless a few times on this site but your recent efforts that haven't passed mods are a piece of work on they're own.
The paranoia you display is off the charts and its a shame those comments aren't able to be displayed so everyone can see how unstable you are.
[mod]

83

Have fun James, Nicko is all your's.

84

"hamilton stood with his head bowed low, looking into his phone with a miserable posture. "

Why? Were you stalking him on Facebook or something?

85

Aveli, how you feeling over this whole boy-in-a-dress instagram ordeal?

86

i am not sure of he did that on purpose or not. because he got in trouble for similar stunts in the past. this one looks staged. from the way he spoke to the kid. it sounded like he forgot to shout from the start of his sentence and shouted mid sentence.

87

Happy New Year kemosabes!

All in a all a decent year when compared to the past few. Although the Merc is still dominant, there has been some convergence at the top and results have been slightly less predictable.
Lewis' focus was a highlight and Max has clearly become the wildcard of the pack (as well as in the other driver's heads), which is a good thing. Ferrari showed they can build a car to complete, but just need 2 drivers with the temperament to do so on a regular basis.

As a fan i appreciate Danny's Ric's driving mostly, but i also enjoy his media performances and i'm glad you called them out JA...although i do think the rest of the drivers make it very easy for him to stand out...they are generally a very dreary mob! He is a true showman and i reckon he's a natural in some form of media after he's done driving, although i'm not sure he could spread his wings enough in the F1 media...what do you think?

88

The Ferrari was a good car when they had it working, but not so much when they couldn’t start races / start from the back of the grid etc.

89

i don't know what blinkers are and wouldn't know how to wear them.
are they part of your regular fashion accessories?

90

Being there for #MYF1nale at the last Malaysian F1 GP in Sepang.
I love watching F1 on the TV with all the commentaries, highlights and all but nothing beats F1 live!

91
Tornillo Amarillo

So what were the highlights for you of the F1 season 2017?

IMO:
- Hamilton criticized for not being at London Live in order to prepare himself for the race (as excuse...), and then winning on Sunday and shutting up their critics.
- Ferrari's excellent winning-first part of the season
- Teammates fight & clashes at Force India
- Max excellent two wins and his unexpected-extended-big contract at Red Bull
- Canadian criticised-rookie Stroll breaking a record on the Podium
- Negotiations McLaren-Renault-Toro Rosso-Honda-Sainz with happy end
- Tests and difficult decision to make the Halo mandatory in 2018
- Over-cheesy presentation boxing-like in Austin (please don't repeat in 2018).
- Kubica's intents with Renault and Williams to be on the greed this year.
- Vettel and Raikkonen clashing (with Max) and fading hope for the Championship.

92

All of that list except item one. Hamilton missing London to “prepare for the race and then winning” If everyone had prepared for the race than maybe he would not have won and lots of fans would not have had the London event. Personally I think he should have turned up for a lot of fans that can not afford Silverston and he would still have won.

93

Hamilton would have won Silverstone regardless of whatever activities he was doing prior. He didn’t win because he went to Greece to ‘prepare’.

94

he said he prepared for that race, the best he could. what he says matters most to f1..

95

TA, i reckon Lewis would have won the Brit GP whether he went sailing in Greece or not....so why not participate in London F1 for the fans?
#Lewiswontsharethespotlightwithanyone
That's why...

96

Happy New Year JA and the readers here.

There are a few highlights and quotes I recall from 2017 F1 season. Yes, Ricciardo is always entertaining. He also gives a lot of time to the fans whenever he is in Melbourne. I had the pleasure of shaking his hand couple of years ago. The funniest quote for me is what Vettel said to a journalist after the Baku incident,

“I don’t have your number to call you. I don’t want to either.”

As far as highlights are concerned, for me it was personally amazing because I got to take my 2 year old to the Aus GP this year. She had a lot of fun with everything off track. She loved the old cars, the shops, the music, the posters, the colors, the music, chicken nuggets etc. she even got to sit in a 60s Ferrari and a Lancier for a few minuets. Even though she doesn’t understand anything about F1 yet, it was a great day out for me with her and my wife. I felt like there was something for everyone, racing for me and offbtrack entertainment for the family. So, that’s what I like about the change Liberty brought into F1.

97

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!

98

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... 😣

99

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.

100

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

101

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.

102

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

103
@Damien_Marquez

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.

104

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.

105

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

106

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.

107

you forgot the extra $10 for HD

108

@ 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.....you won't be sorry. To lay this at the feet of Murdoch is simply wrong. The problem lies with with Liberty and their predecessors.

109

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.

110

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.

111

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.

112

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.

113

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.

114

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

MAIN
- 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.

SECONDARY
- 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.

115

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.

116

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

117

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

118

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.

119

everybody else above pointed out numerous highlights.

120

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

121

never thought you were, for a minute.

122

@ Aveli...so what's your point?

123

my point is, you're stating the obvious.

124

Dear oh Dear oh Dear......

125

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

126

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.

127

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.

128

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 ..

http://www.espn.com.au/f1/story/_/id/21686198/data-shows-number-overtakes-nearly-halved-2017

...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.

129

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzFDvZhntvQ

130

Sarsippious, you mean like in Spain and Belgium?

131

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.

132

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.

133

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.

134

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.

135

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.

136

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?

137

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).

138

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.

139

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

140

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.

141

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%.

142

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!

143

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!

144

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.

http://www.statsf1.com/en/1997/stats.aspx?t=D

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.

145

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...

146

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.

147

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.

148

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........

149

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.

150

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?

151

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.

152

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?

153

take blinkers off mate...

154

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.

155

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

156

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 !!

157

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...

158

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.

159

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!

160

"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.

161

@KRB

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?

162

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.

163

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

164

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.

165

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

166

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.

167

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.

168

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.

169

@ 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.

170

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

171

@ 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....

172

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.

173

@Kenneth

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.

174

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

175

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

I want to cry...

176

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 🙂

177

No it won't have been anything like that.

178

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.

179

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.

180

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

181

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

182

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

183

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.

184

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,)

185

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..

186

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.

187

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.

188

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.

189

"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. 😀

190

Hahaha good one KRB.

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

191

I believe JAonF1 started in 2009.

192

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

193

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

194

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.

195

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!

196

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.

197

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

198

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

199

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.

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