Everyone loves a sporting showdown. Be it a Super Bowl heading into overtime or a bitterly contested match point at the end of a gruelling Grand Slam final. In motorsport, an epic race has the potential to be defined by the final lap – a scenario that is widely regarded a collectors’ item.
However, a blockbuster conclusion is not an uncommon occurrence in Formula 2. Hardly surprising in a series featuring spec-machinery and 20 aspirational racing drivers who all believe that they are destined to reach the pinnacle of motorsport that is Formula 1.
Last weekend’s F2 feature race at Monza was eventually won by Prema’s Antonio Fuoco, following a final lap clash between championship leader Charles Leclerc and Nyck de Vries that eliminated both drivers. Russian Time’s Luca Ghiotto initially claimed the top step of the podium but was handed a five second time penalty post-race for taking the scenic route through the first chicane on the frantic last tour.
Some series have seen similar final lap shenanigans that have defined rivalries, careers and even championships. Others have seen races written into motorsport folk-law. Here are some of the most dramatic final laps seen in modern motorsport.
In what has become an annual news event, Kimi Raikkonen has once again been retained by Ferrari for another season, as the Italian team announced on Tuesday that the 2007 world champion has earned another contract extension.
Not bad for a driver labeled a “laggard” by his boss and Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne earlier this year.
Regardless of this brutally blunt assessment, Raikkonen’s re-signing makes sense for a Ferrari team with plenty to ponder in their immediate future.
Given that the summer break has starved Formula 1 fans of concrete news stories over the past few weeks, silly season speculation has been rife. While much of the discussion can be filed under far-fetched fan fiction, the rumours surrounding Fernando Alonso seem somewhat substantiated.
In reality, speculation regarding Alonso’s future has been a news feature ever since the disappointing McLaren Honda MCL-32 rolled out of the garage – and was swiftly rolled back into the garage – on the opening day of 2017 pre-season testing.
It is entirely possible that Alonso is now considering the very real prospect of a tilt at IndyCar in 2018.
Who doesn’t love a spot of fan fiction? The internet has become a breeding ground for theories spawned from those ‘what if’ questions generated at the end of films, TV series and even sporting spectacles.
What if Anakin Skywalker had the ‘high ground’ on Mustafar at the climax of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith? Or, closer to home, what if Lewis Hamilton didn’t catch and pass Timo Glock on the final lap at a soggy Interlagos in 2008?
The 2017 Formula 1 season has featured several intriguing narratives thus far that could trigger many ‘what if’ scenarios. For instance, in a world without the elite three of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, what would the championship picture look like at this halfway stage?
With the numbers crunched, here are the facts and figures;
“It’s never boring” states MSA director Alan Gow when asked to describe the British Touring Car Championship for which he is ‘commander-in-chief’. Few could disagree with his statement.
The BTCC – and touring car racing as a motorsport subsection in general – is a thrill a minute, bumper-to-bumper, door-handle-to-door-handle spectacle. It is a championship that prioritises the racing over all else. The product is quite remarkable.
At present, Honda doesn’t necessarily have the most marketable product in Formula 1. Their current partners McLaren are continually pinning their lack of performance – and quite rightly so – on the Honda power unit’s deficiencies and the Japanese manufacturer has a history of overstating the value of engine upgrades.
Regardless, certain teams are willing to consider Honda power as an option for 2018 and beyond. Sauber had even signed a deal with Honda prior to the appointment of Frederic Vasseur as the team principal, who had other ideas and subsequently terminated the deal. Now, it would seem that Toro Rosso is considering Honda power for 2018.
While it may sound bizarre, such a tie-up would make a lot of sense.
Even since its introduction in 2011, the Drag Reduction System and its application has been a point of contention among Formula 1 fans. Deemed by many as a feature too artificial to have a place in F1, calls for a review into whether DRS should be scrapped have regularly been made.
It’s now 2017, however, and DRS is arguably now more entrenched in the sport than ever, given the added challenges that the increased effects of turbulent air and lower tyre degradation have made to ‘unaided’ overtaking.
The question is, should we now consider DRS an essential key to creating a racing spectacle or a crutch that F1 should have long tossed aside?