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2008 FIA Formula 1 Season

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2008 FIA Formula 1 Season
Photo Credit: Mohd Nor Azmil Abdul Rahman.
Champion Constructor: Scuderia Ferrari (IT,16,29)
Putative Constructor: Scuderia Ferrari (IT)
Champion Driver: Lewis Hamilton (GB,1,0)
Putative Driver: Felipe Massa (BR,0,1)
Putative Constructor Entry Specification: Model F2008, 2.39-liter, eight-cylinder vee, aluminum alloy engine, DOHC, Magnetti-Marelli fuel injection, seven-speed semi-automatic paddled, carbon fibre gearbox, Brembo ventilated carbon ceramic disc brakes, carbon fibre/carbon composite honeycomb monocoque, double wishbone-pushrod-zero keel independent suspension, power-assist steering, 755 horsepower (Aldo Costa, Gilles Simon, Nicholas Tombazis).

The FIA in 2008 mandates a standard engine management system (SECU) for all entries and along the way formally disables traction and launch control as well as engine braking. The sanctioning body also imposes a freeze upon all power unit development for the pending campaign while removing the grid penalty for race weekend engine changeouts, and requires a four-race duration for all gearboxes. Scuderia Ferrari earns its second consecutive constructors' title in 2008, yet the more compelling story surrounds the drivers' battle between its own Felipe Massa and McLaren pilot Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton requires a fifth-place finish in the season finale at São Paulo in November to capture his maiden drivers' crown and only attains the same in the final corners on the final circuit, crushing the title hopes of race winner and the very popular Massa, who takes the putative laurels by a slim margin. The 23-year old Hamilton ascends as the youngest drivers' champion in series history. Sauber driver Robert Kubica becomes the first Pole to win an F1 contest while piloting BMW Sauber to its own maiden series victory at Montréal in June. FIA president Max Mosley becomes embroiled in a sordid tabloid sex scandal in June. F1 makes its final visit to Magny Cours in June. F1 makes its inaugural visit to Valencia in August. Future F1 champion and 21-year old Sebastian Vettel collects his maiden series victory at Monza in September and becomes the youngest winner in series history. F1 launches its first night race in series history upon its inaugural visit to Marina Bay, Singapore in September. Brows lift in the F1 paddock at Singapore in September after Renault driver Fernando Alonso seemingly receives a tremendous break after his teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. crashes out just after Alonso takes his service, allowing the latter to control the remaining distance from the front and take the victory. New Racing Makes: Indian Force India.

HeM applies the Putative Model to all racing seasons for two primary purposes: First, to effectively normalize all racing seasons for empirical comparison across the decades, and second, to step clear of series organizers which score season championships primarily out of commercial interest or to attract manufacturer participation. The Putative Model simply scores all seasons in the same fashion as a standard track and field meeting, with the only purpose of tracking what takes place at the finishing stripe If the Putative Champion differs from the nominal Series Champion, please note the (SC) notation below.

Scuderia Ferrari170     Massa107
McLaren Mercedes136     Hamilton L (SC)104
BMW Sauber107     Raikkonen71
Renault61     Kubica62
Toyota29     Alonso49
Scud. Toro Rosso Ferrari23     Heidfeld46

Noteworthy 2008 Races

2008 LXVI Grand Prix de Monaco Monte Carlo2008 2008 LXVI Grand Prix de Monaco At Monaco for the Grand Prix (260.5 kilometers) in May, the race comes to a British McLaren MP4-23 Mercedes under Lewis Hamilton (GB) in rainy conditions in 2:00:42.7 (average 80.46 mph), under four seconds ahead of a BMW Sauber driven by Robert Kubica. Hamilton moves out front with a pass of Felipe Massa in his Ferrari on Lap 33 of 76 and never looks back, yet the imposed race time limit saves his win after the driver suffers a tire puncture on the final circuit. Hamilton collects his maiden victory in the principality, the first for a Briton since the 1969 campaign, and a cross for McLaren for the second consecutive season. Photo Credit: Attribution Unascertained.
2008 Formula 1 Magyar Nagydíj 2008 Mogyoród, Hungary2008 2008 Formula 1 Magyar Nagydíj 2008 At the Hungaroring for the Grand Prix (307 kilometers) in August, a British McLaren MP4-23 Mercedes under Heikki Kovalainen (FI) takes race honors in 1:37:27.1 (average 117.40 mph), under twelve seconds ahead of a Toyota entry. Kovalainen moves out front after race leader Felipe Massa in his Ferrari loses drive with only three laps remaining. Kovalainen snares his maiden F1 career victory. Photo Credit: Attribution Unascertained.
2008 ING Belgian Grand Prix Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium2008 2008 ING Belgian Grand Prix At Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix (308.5 kilometers) in September, an Italian Scuderia Ferrari F2008 under Felipe Massa (BR) takes the flag in rainy conditions in 1:22:59.4 (average 138.44 mph), under ten seconds ahead of a BMW Sauber driven by Nick Heidfeld. Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren, after passing race leader Kimi Räikkönen in his Ferrari with only two laps remaining, beats all across the line, yet the stewards penalize the Briton for cutting a chicane during his pass. Although Hamilton allows Räikkönen to resume the lead before completing a second pass at La Source, the stewards in controversial fashion still deem Hamilton as gaining a racing advantage with his move. Hamilton’s 25-second penalty, plus an off Räikkönen’s in the heavy rain on the final circuit, gifts the contest to a jubilant Massa. Photo Credit: Sutton Images.
2008 XXXIV Japanese Grand Prix Shizuoka, Japan2008 2008 XXXIV Japanese Grand Prix At Fuji for the Japanese Grand Prix (305.7 kilometers) in October, a French Renault R28 under Fernando Alonso (ES) notches a victory in 1:30:21.9 (average 126.13 mph), under six seconds ahead of a BMW Sauber driven by Robert Kubica. Alonso moves out front after passing race leader and teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. in his Renault with only five laps remaining. Photo Credit: Morio.
2008 XXXVII Grande Prêmio do Brasil São Paulo, Brazil2008 2008 XXXVII Grande Prêmio do Brasil At São Paulo for the Brazilian Grand Prix (306 kilometers) in November, an Italian Scuderia Ferrari F2008 under Felipe Massa (BR) bests the field in rainy conditions in 1:34:11.4 (average 121.08 mph), under fourteen seconds ahead of a Renault entry. Entering the final contest, Massa trails F1 title leader Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren by seven points, and a Massa victory plus a sixth or lower placing for Hamilton would grant the Brazilian his coveted F1 drivers’ title. Massa performs his duties and wins the contest from the pole, yet Hamilton passes Timo Glock in the final corners of the final circuit to secure fifth position and win the drivers’ championship by a single point. The 23-year old Hamilton ascends as the youngest driver to win the drivers’ title, as well as the first driver of African descent to do the same. Massa afterwards stands devastated with the final result. Photo Credit: Glenn Dunbar.