The 2008 season is over. Here is the first of the series of posts looking back at the past 7 Formula 1 action filled months.
The 2008 season started with 11 teams and 22 drivers on the grid. Unfortunately Super Aguri team folded after only four races and Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson found themselves out of job. These two were however the only driver job casualties of the entire season. We did not have a single driver change in 2008 season, no driver missed even one race. All the teams raced all the races with the same drivers.
It may look quite normal in the normal life that people keep their jobs for a year but it definitely is not a common occurence in Formula 1 racing. I checked the records all the way back to 1995. (I did not venture further back to the era of pre-qualifying and 30 – 40 plus drivers per season.) There was not a single season from 1995 to 2007 without some drivers loosing their jobs or at least missing a race. All we had were few “close calls” in recent years:
In 1998 there was only one driver loosing his job (Jos Verstappen for Jan Magnussen in Stewart). We came very close in 2000 when the only change was Luciano Burti replacing injured Eddie Irvine for one race in Jaguar and then again in 2002 when only poor Alex Yoong lost his Minardi drive for 2 races to Anthony Davidson. Can anyone recall any Formula 1 season when not a single driver was replaced during the season ?
Most 2008 drivers were already confirmed for the next season too. So far the only change made official is the retirement of David Coulthard and his replacement by Sebastian Vettel. So was the Formula 1 class of 2008 so good that all the drivers were untouchable or was it about no hot rookies waiting in the line ? Or is it more down to the fact that there were no pay drivers on the grid this year ?