The Brazilian Grand Prix on October 21, 2007 was the all-time race to watch. It would officially announce the champion driver and team of 2007. All eyes were on Lewis Hamilton to take the title in his first year of Formula One.
However, things didn't go as planned for the 22 year old from Britain, as he was continuously passed by rival drivers resulting in his seventh position finish. Wide turns and gearbox malfunctions eventually sealed his fate, resulting in Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen taking the drivers' crown from under his feet.
Raikkonen ended up with 110 points, followed by Hamilton and Fernando Alonso at 109 points and in fourth Felipe Massa with 94 points. As a team, Ferrari ended up with 204 points and as for McLaren-Mercedes they were stripped of all their constructors' points and fined $100 million due to their highly publicized debacle of obtaining confidential Ferrari data.
As of November 8, 2007, it appeared that McLaren-Mercedes was not the only team to use confidential data from its rival teams. Renault has been placed under fire for coming into possession of classified McLaren data. As of recent, they have admitted to the allegation but denied using the information for their own benefit. An engineer they hired in September 2006 from the McLaren team was the one who brought and showed the data. In a statement from Renault they have said, "The information was completely cleansed from the team's computer systems and a formal investigation was started. We promptly informed McLaren of the situation and immediately after the FIA. Since then we have constantly and regularly kept McLaren and the FIA informed on all relevant findings. Mr. Mackereth was immediately suspended from his position. The original floppy discs were impounded and sent to our solicitors for return to McLaren." The FIA have summoned Renault and the hearing will take place on December 6, 2007.
So what's going to be in store for the future 2008 season?
Fernando Alonso has hung up his McLaren-Mercedes helmet in the hopes of producing another drivers' crown and becoming a World Champion for the third time with another team. After the constant struggles that plagued McLaren, a change might be the best thing for him. Obviously the team was not using Alonso to his full potential, which caused tension within the racing family.
Williams has confirmed that their test driver Kazuki Nakajima will race alongside Nico Rosberg next season.
Ralf Schumacher, brother of the famous Ferrari driver Michael, has bid a fond farewell to his Toyota team this season. No word yet on his plans for 2008.
You can look forward to Timo Glock, a reigning GP2 champion, to be behind the driver seat for team Toyota
My prediction for next season's constructor and champion driver? Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen. No doubt they can do it again. However, after the great push he put in his first year Hamilton might be extra hungry for the title. So at this point it could be anyone's game. Looks like we'll just have to wait and see what happens.