2008 Formula One season

2008 Formula One season

Current sport

event = motor sporting event

The 2008 Formula One season is the 59th FIA Formula One World Championship season. It began on 16 March and will end on 2 November after eighteen Grands Prix. As it stands, there are a total of seven teams signed up to compete in the championship through an agreement with Formula One Management, with the other four major manufacturers in the Grand Prix Manufacturers’ Association (GPMA) having signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the 2006 Spanish Grand Prix. All teams in both groups have two spots each on the 2008 grid. One for each of their drivers determined through Qualifying on the Saturday of the race weekend (Sunday hosting the Grand Prix). The season sees the banning of traction control after it was re-introduced in 2001. 2008 also introduces two new street circuits. The Valencia Street Circuit and Marina Bay Street Circuit will host the European GP and the new Singapore GP respectively. The Singapore GP was also the first Formula One event held at night.

Pre-season testing

The first multi-team test session started in Jerez on January 14 2008. Ferrari, McLaren and Toyota all tested their 2008 cars. Williams tested a modified version of the FW29 whilst Renault and Red Bull tested their 2007 entries. Honda, Toro Rosso, Super Aguri and Force India also attended. BMW was not in attendance as they were launching the F1.08.cite news| url= http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2008/1/7254.html| title= 2008 testing gets underway in Spain| publisher= formula1.com| date= 2008-01-14| accessdate= 2008-02-09] Testing then moved to Valencia on January 22. Renault and Williams were the only teams on the track for the first day of testing. They were both testing their 2008 challengers.cite news| title= Valencia day one - Alonso leads Hulkenberg| url= http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2008/1/7285.html| publisher= formula1.com| date= 2008-01-22| accessdate= 2008-02-09] They were joined by every other team except Super Aguri for the next three days. February 1 saw testing move to Barcelona. Again, all teams but Super Aguri were in action. The first day of testing saw Kazuki Nakajima crash his FW30. cite news| title= Barcelona day one - Hamilton sets the standard| url=http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2008/2/7319.html| publisher= formula1.com| date= 2008-02-02| accessdate= 2008-02-10] It also saw racist abuse directed at Lewis Hamilton. Williams withdrew from testing on day three to try to fix the problem that caused Nakajima's crash. Meanwhile on February 4, Ferrari and Toyota moved to Bahrain to continue testing the F2008 and TF108.cite news| url =http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2008/2/7327.html | title =Bahrain day one - Ferrari one-two in testing | publisher =formula1.com |date=2008-02-04 | accessdate =2008-02-04]

On February 12 testing returned to Jerez. Red Bull and Williams were the only teams in action on the first day.cite news| url =http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2008/2/7350.html | title =Jerez day one - Red Bull lead Williams in Spain | publisher =formula1.com | date= 2008-02-12| accessdate =2008-02-12] The second day of testing saw all teams but Ferrari and Toyota (who were still in Bahrain) attending. After postponing their SA08 launch and cancelling testing at Valencia, Super Aguri turned up to test their SA07B interim car for the first time.cite news|title =Jerez day two - McLaren enjoy a flying start|url=http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2008/2/7353.html|publisher =formula1.com| date=2008-02-13|accessdate =2008-02-13]

Testing Moved to Barcelona on February 19. The first day of tests got underway in rain with Williams, Red Bull, Renault and Toyota present. Nico Rosberg topped the time sheets for Williams. BMW Sauber were instead testing on their own in Jerez.cite news|url =http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2008/2/7373.html | title = Barcelona day one - Rosberg sets wet benchmark | publisher =formula1.com | date= 2008-02-20| accessdate =2008-02-20] Super Aguri did not turn up despite promising a Q&A with the media. They blamed circumstances beyond their control. On the second day Ferrari turned up and topped the time sheets with Felipe Massa on another wet track. McLaren joined on the final day and Williams finished on top with Nakajima. The final multi-team test began on February 25 with every team but Super Aguri attending. Lewis Hamilton topped the time sheets faster than both Kimi Räikkönen and Michael Schumacher. McLaren continued to outpace Ferrari on day two with both drivers on top and Toyota were fastest with Jarno Trulli on the final day.


On February 14 2006 the FIA President Max Mosley announced that all teams interested in competing in the 2008 World Championship would have a seven-day window during which they would have to submit an application to compete. [cite news | first = | last = | author = | coauthors =| url =http://www.manipef1.com/news/index.php?id=123 | title =Mosley gives GPMA deadline to sign up | work = | publisher =Manipe F1 | pages = | page = |date=2006-02-14 | accessdate = 2006-02-14| language = ] All eleven current teams applied, as well as several others. On April 28, 2006 the FIA announced that all of the current teams' applications for the 2008 season were granted, along with a new team Prodrive, fronted by the ex-BAR and Benetton principal David Richards. There were 21 applications (including the current teams and Prodrive), of which the following were notable: European Minardi F1 Team Ltd, Jordan Grand Prix, Direxiv and Carlin Motorsport. However despite the Prodrive application being accepted Richards has since announced that the team will not race in 2008 due to a dispute over the legality of customer cars.cite news | url = http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2007/11/7129.html | title = Prodrive rule out 2008 Formula One entry | publisher = formula1.com | date=2007-11-23 | accessdate = 2007-11-24]

Teams Signed with FOM
* Ferrari
* Red Bull
* Force India
* Super Aguri
* Toro Rosso
* Toyota
* Williams

GPMA manufacturers (MoU with FOM)

Bernie Ecclestone has signed an agreement with the GPMA to end their threat of a breakaway series in 2008. [cite news | first = | last = | author = | coauthors =| url =http://www.f1racing.net/en/news.php?newsID=118757 | title =Ecclestone signature ends breakaway threat | work = | publisher =F1racing.net | pages = | page = |date=2006-05-20 | accessdate = | language = ]
* BMW Sauber
* Honda
* McLaren-Mercedes
* Renault (Renault have since left the GPMA [cite news | url =http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/56792 | title =Renault Decide to leave the GPMA | publisher =Autosport.com|date=2006-02-16 |] )

On 29 July 2008, the Formula One Teams Association FOTA was formed at a meeting of the teams competing in the 2008 championship cite web|url=http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns20610.html |title= Formation of FOTA |work= grandprix.com |accessdate= 2008-07-31 ] .This new organisation gives a united voice in ongoing discussions regarding the future of Formula One with the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Group. Headed by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo cite web|url=http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns20613.html |title= Montezemolo heads FOTA |work= grandprix.com |accessdate= 2008-07-31 ] , the first task of FOTA will be to negotiate the terms of the new Concorde Agreement, the commercial contract which governs the championship, with the FiA and Bernie Ecclestone.

New car launches

† New Circuits


Rule changes


* A standard Electronic Control Unit (ECU) supplied by Microsoft MES, a joint venture between Microsoft and McLaren Electronic Systems. [cite news|title=McLaren, Microsoft confirm ECU supply|url=http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/55980|pubisher=autosport.com|date=2006-12-11|accessdate=2006-12-11]
* Traction control and launch control banned along with several other electronic aids including engine braking. [cite news|title=Traction control axed from 2008|url=http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2007/3/5857.html|publisher=formula1.com|date=2007-03-30|accessdate=2007-03-30]

Engine and gearbox

* Max Mosley proposed an engine freeze for ten years. Later, all teams agreed to shorten the engine freeze to five years. [cite news | first = | last = | author = | coauthors =| url =http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/64660 | title =Engine freeze shortened to five years
work = | publisher =autosport.com | pages = | page = |date=2008-01-13 | accessdate = | language =
* The first unscheduled engine change of the season for each car will not lead to the usual 10 place grid penalty. [cite news|url=http://www.itv-f1.com/News_Article.aspx?PO_ID=41633 |title=Teams agree engine penalty rule tweak |publisher=ITV-F1.com |date=2008-01-18]
* Fuel of the cars must be made up of at least 5.75% biological materials [cite news|url=http://www.formula1.com/inside_f1/rules_and_regulations/sporting_regulations/6844/fia.html|title=F1 Rule Changes for 2008|publisher=Formula1.com |date=2008-01-18] .
* Gearboxes to last four races, 5 place grid penalty for a gear box change. If a driver does not finish a race, he is allowed to change the gearbox for the next race without receiving a penalty.cite news|title=Understanding F1 2008: New regulations


* Improved cockpit protection. [cite news |last= |first= |url=http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/62721 |title=Cockpit safety to improve in 2008 |publisher=autosport.com |date=2007-09-26]
* The use of a spare car has been restricted. Each competing team will not be allowed to have more than two cars available for use at any time. In this context, a car is considered as such if it is a partially assembled survival cell, fitted with an engine, any front suspension, bodywork, radiators, oil tanks or heat exchangers.


* Bridgestone will be the official tyre supplier for the 2008-2010 seasons. [cite news|title=Bridgestone to be sole tyre supplier|url=http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2006/7/4601.html|publisher=formula1.com|date=2006-07-06|accessdate=2006-07-06]


* The first part of qualifying lengthened to 20 minutes, and final part of qualifying shortened to 10 minutes. Teams taking part in Q3 will no longer be allowed to add fuel back to the car after qualifying to eliminate 'fuel-burn' phase.
* A minimum lap time for each qualifying session has been implemented from Round 3 in Bahrain to stop cars coasting back to the pits at dangerously low speeds as seen in Round 2 in Malaysia. Both Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen were demoted five grid places after the stewards decided that they had impeded Nick Heidfeld and Fernando Alonso. The minimum lap time will be different for each race. For example, it was 1:39 in Bahrain.
* From the 8th May 2008, the FIA announced that, following Super Aguri's departure from Formula One, the qualifying procedures will change. Rather than six drivers being eliminated at the end of Q1, only the five lowest-qualified drivers will be eliminated. This increases the likelihood that one of the midfield contenders will drop out, as only the top 15 drivers will go through to Q2. The Q2-Q3 transition remains unchanged. [cite news|title=Qualifying adjusted after Aguri exit|url=http://www.itv-f1.com/news_article.aspx?id=42551|publisher=ITV-F1.com|date=08/05/2008]


* No competing team is allowed to carry out more than 30,000km (18,641mi) of testing during the 2008 calendar year.

Driver changes

Changed teams
* Fernando Alonso: McLarenRenault F1
* Heikki Kovalainen: Renault F1McLaren
* Giancarlo Fisichella: Renault F1Force India
* Nelson Piquet Jr.: Renault F1 (test driver) → Renault F1 (race seat)
* Timo Glock: GP2 Series/BMW Sauber F1 (test driver) → Toyota F1 (race seat)
* Vitantonio Liuzzi: Scuderia Toro RossoForce India (test driver)
* Kazuki Nakajima: GP2 Series/WilliamsF1 (test driver) → WilliamsF1 (race seat)
* Alexander Wurz: WilliamsF1Honda Racing F1 (test driver)
* Christian Klien: Honda Racing F1 (test driver) → BMW Sauber (test driver)
* Sakon Yamamoto: Spyker F1Renault F1 (test development driver)

Entered F1
* Sébastien Bourdais: Champ Car World SeriesScuderia Toro Rosso
* Marko Asmer: British Formula Three ChampionshipBMW Sauber (test driver)

Exited F1
* Ralf Schumacher: Toyota F1DTM Touring Cars series

Marko Asmer also drove in the GP2 Series with the FMS International team in 2008.

More information

* Sebastian Vettel replaced Scott Speed from the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix onwards at Scuderia Toro Rosso and was confirmed as driver for 2008. Team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi was replaced by four time Champ Car champion Sébastien Bourdais for 2008.
* On October 1, Ralf Schumacher announced that he would leave Toyota at the end of the 2007 season. He has since joined the German DTM Touring Cars series.
* On October 7, it was reported that Alexander Wurz had decided to retire from racing.cite web|title= Wurz to retire from racing at end of season |url=http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/63104| publisher=autosport.com|date=2007-10-07 ]
* On November 2, Fernando Alonso and McLaren announced that both parties agreed to a ‘mutual parting of ways’.cite web|title=Fernando Alonso and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes agree to move on |url=http://www.mclaren.co.uk/mediaroom/information/pressreleases/alonso_release.php |publisher=mclaren.co.uk|date=2007-11-02]
* On November 7 2007, Williams announced that Kazuki Nakajima would partner Nico Rosberg for the 2008 season.
* On November 19 2007, Timo Glock was confirmed as the replacement driver for Ralf Schumacher by Toyota. [cite news | url=http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2007/11/7106.html| title= Glock to race for Toyota in 2008 | publisher=formula1.com|date=2007-11-19|accessdate=2007-11-19]
* On December 7 2007, after testing for Force India, Ralf Schumacher said it was unlikely he would return to Formula One. [cite news | url=http://formula-1.updatesport.com/news/article/1197022055/formula_one/F1gossip/Ralf-F1-career-could-be-over/view.html| title= Schumacher believes his career could be over | publisher=formula-1.updatesport.com|date-2007-12-07|accessdate=2008-01-04]
* On December 10 2007, Renault confirmed that Fernando Alonso will drive for them this season. He is partnered by rookie Nelson Piquet Jr. [cite news | url=http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/64336| title=Renault confirm Alonso, Piquet for 2008 | publisher=autosport.com|date=2007-12-10|accessdate=2007-12-10]
* On December 14 2007, McLaren confirmed that Heikki Kovalainen would partner Lewis Hamilton.
* On January 10 2008, Force India confirmed Giancarlo Fisichella as first driver and Vitantonio Liuzzi as a test driver. Adrian Sutil had already been confirmed as the team's second driver.
* On January 10 2008, Alexander Wurz was announced as the reserve driver for Honda after leaving Williams just before the Brazil GP.
* On February 2 2008, BMW announced that Christian Klien had been contracted as their test and reserve driver for the 2008 season. He will work alongside Marko Asmer who will become the team’s junior tester.
* On February 4 2008, Renault signed Japanese driver Sakon Yamamoto as a test development driver for the 2008 season.

Team changes

* Rumours about the possible sale of the Jordan/Spyker team had been abundant in the paddock throughout the last few months of the 2007 season. Only a year after Spyker bought the team from Midland, Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya bought the team for 88 million, several million more than Spyker paid. [cite news|title=Mallya and Mol are new Spyker owners|url=http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2007/10/6928.html|publisher=formula1.com|date=2007-05-10|accessdate=2008-01-14] On October 24 2007, Mallya was granted permission to change the team's name to Force India. He also said he would like to keep German driver Adrian Sutil for 2008. [cite news|title=FIA approve Spyker's Force India name change|url=http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2007/10/7036.html|publisher=formula1.com|date=2007-10-24|accessdate=2007-10-24] Force India had a driver announcement ceremony in January 2008 where it was revealed that Sutil would be second driver partnered by first driver Giancarlo Fisichella and test driver Vitantonio Liuzzi.
* On 28 April 2006, rallying and motorsports technology firm Prodrive were officially granted entry to Formula One when the FIA announced the list of entrants to the 2008 Formula One World Championship. While a total of 21 teams applied for entry, the FIA had always maintained that only 12 teams would be granted entry, meaning only one new team would line up on the grid in 2008. FIA president Max Mosley revealed that Prodrive had found the finances to support their bid. Also, Prodrive's chief executive, David Richards, has experience as a Formula One team principal". [cite news|title=And the 12th team for 2008 is...|url=http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2006/4/4285.html|publisher=formula1.com|date=2006-04-28|accessdate=2007-06-22] Richards has previously acted as team principal of the Benetton and British American Racing teams. However on 23 November 2007, after lengthy negotiations between FIA president Max Mosley regarding customer cars, Richards announced that Prodrive F1 would not compete in the 2008 Formula One World Championship, as the legal situation left no time for the team to be set up. [cite news|title=Prodrive rule out 2008 Formula One entry|url=http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2007/11/7129.html|publisher=formula1.com|date=2007-11-23|accessdate=2007-11-23]
* On December 31 2007, Toyota announced that they would end their sponsorship deal with Kingfisher Airlines due to the fact that Kingfisher Airliners' owner Dr. Vijay Mallya wants to focus on the new F1 team Force India which was formed after Dr. Mallya's 2007 acquisition of Spyker F1 team. Although the team had a two year deal with the Indian airline company, both parties agreed to terminate the deal by 'mutual consent'. [cite news|title=Toyota and Kingfisher Airlines part ways|url=http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2008/1/7208.html|publisher=formula1.com|date=2008-01-02|accessdate=2008-01-19]
* During the 2008 season on May 6, the Super Aguri team folded and withdrew from Formula One. The team was in dire financial straits at the end of F1|2007 as the team did not receive a payment on a sponsorship deal. [cite news| title =Super Aguri set to cut 30 jobs | publisher =Autosport.com | url =http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/64111| date =2007-11-20| accessdate =2008-02-02] This has led to them becoming the poorest team in Formula One. Super Aguri rejected a buyout offer in January 2008 from an Indian consortium led by the CEO of the Spice Group on the condition Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan drove in the line-up, because it meant demoting or cutting one of the team's 2007 drivers. [cite news| title =Indian group considering Aguri investment| publisher =Autosport.com | url =http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/64908| date =2008-01-31| accessdate =2008-02-02] Despite this Super Aguri have been unable to sign any contracts until agreements have been reached with their sponsors. [cite news| title =Sato and Davidson not yet Confirmed| publisher =Autosport.com | url =http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/64526| date =2008-01-04| accessdate =2008-01-04] Sato and Davidson were confirmed on 10 March.
GP2 series driver Luca Filippi was linked to race for the team in 2008, however he instead stayed with the GP2 series for 2008. Super Aguri announced that a major deal had been made with Magma Group to solve the team's financial problems, however this fell through, supposedly because of Magma Group's unwillingness to invest money in a team with poor results. On 6 May 2008, Super Aguri withdrew from the Formula 1 World Championship. [cite news| title =Super Aguri withdraw from Formula One | publisher =Autosport.com | url =http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/67170| date =2008-05-06| accessdate =2008-05-06] It affirmed a prediction at the start of the season by Max Mosley saying the team would not make it to the final race in Brazil. [cite news| title =Mosley concerned about Aguri's survival | publisher =f1.gpupdate.net | url =http://f1.gpupdate.net/en/news/2008/01/30/mosley-concerned-about-aguri-s-survival/| date =2007-01-30| accessdate =2008-02-02]

Race changes

* It has been confirmed that Singapore will host a Grand Prix from 2008 for the next five years. It will be a street circuit, with the route designed by KBR. It has been confirmed that the Grand Prix will be a night race, [cite news |url =http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2007/5/6063.html| title =Singapore confirms 2008 night race| work = | publisher =formula1.com |date=2007-05-11] with a start time of 20:00 local time (12:00 GMT) and run in an anti-clockwise direction to enhance safety by avoiding a bottle neck at the end of the start finish straight. [cite news | first = Ian| last = De Cotta| author = Ian De Cotta| coauthors =| url =http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/291134/1/.html| title =Singapore gets the thumbs up for a night race - anti-clockwise around the course| work = | publisher =Today| pages = | page = |date=2007-07-30 | accessdate =2007-07-30 | language = English] It has also been revealed that practice sessions and qualifying will take place at night.cite news | url =http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2008/1/7310.html| title =Night-time practice and qualifying for Singapore| publisher =Formula1.com|date=2008-01-31 | accessdate =2008-02-03]
* The European Grand Prix will take place at the Valencia Street Circuit in 2008, changing from the Nürburgring which hosted the event up until 2007. Because both German circuits share the right to host an F1 race, the German Grand Prix will take place at Hockenheimring in 2008. It will continue to alternate between these two circuits yearly.
* It has been confirmed that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will not hold a Grand Prix in 2008; however, a possible return to Indianapolis in the future has not been completely ruled out. [cite news| title =Indianapolis won't host US GP in 2008| publisher =Autosport.com | url =http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/60736| date =2007-07-12|]
* In the run up to the 2007 French GP it was reported that it would be the last Grand Prix to be held at Magny-Cours. [cite web |title=French Grand Prix in Jeopardy| url=http://www.itv-f1.com/News_Article.aspx?PO_ID=38802 |publisher = ITV-F1.com| date = 2007-03-27|] Some alternatives suggested for the French Grand Prix included Paul Ricard or a new circuit near Disneyland Paris or Charles de Gaulle airport. However on 24 July 2007 it was reported that Bernie Ecclestone had "agreed in principle to maintain the race at Magny-Cours in 2008, and even 2009, if there were no other alternatives." [ [http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/61121 Ecclestone agrees to keep French GP] ]
* The 2008 season also sees changes to the race start times for China, moved to 15:00 and Australia, moved from its traditional 14:00 slot to 15:30. [cite news |title= FIA confirms night GP schedule |url=http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/64922 |publisher=Autosport.com |date=2008-01-30 |accessdate=2008-01-30 ]

Other Changes

* On March 7, the official Formula One tyre supplier Bridgestone announced that they will mark their extreme wet weather tyres with a white line in the central groove to differentiate it from the softer wet weather tyre compound. This is so spectators can differentiate between the tyres in the same way they can with the dry compounds. [cite news|title=Bridgestone to mark extreme wet tyres in 2008|url=http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2008/3/7444.html|publisher=formula1.com|date=2008-07-03|accessdate=2008-07-03]

TV Coverage

* In the United States, all races are broadcast live on Speed except for four races broadcast by Fox: the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix, 2008 French Grand Prix, 2008 British Grand Prix and the 2008 German Grand Prix. However, only the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix will be televised live, and others will be using tape delay broadcast.
* In the UK, ITV will provide the coverage for the last time before the BBC takes over in 2009
* In Sweden, the qualification are broadcasted in both TV 6 and Viasat Sport simultaneously, although Viasat Sport does not have commercials. The races are re-aired without commercials in Viasat Sport later on the race day.
* In France, both qualifications and races are broadcasted by TF1.
* In Brazil, all races and qualifications are broadcasted by Rede Globo.
* In Australia, qualification is aired early in the morning on the race day. The race is usually delayed, with few exceptions, and aired by Channel Ten. Races shown on Ten HD (Ten High Definition) are shown closer to race time, multiple times live.
* In the Arabe world, practice, qualifications and races are broadcasted exclusively by Al Jazeera Sports.

Results and Standings

Grands Prix

† Drivers did not finish the Grand Prix, but were classified as they completed over 90% of the race distance.


† Driver did not finish the Grand Prix, but was classified as they completed over 90% of the race distance.

‡ Super Aguri withdrew from the Formula One world championship on May 6, 2008, with immediate effect. [cite news|title=Super Aguri pulls out of F1|url=http://www.itv-f1.com/news_article.aspx?id=42514|publisher=ITV-F1.com|date=06/05/2008] The company went into administration a day later. [cite news|title=Super Aguri put into administration|url=http://www.itv-f1.com/news_article.aspx?id=42538|publisher=ITV-F1.com|date=07/05/2008]





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