F1 Delivers Dramatic Year of Rivalry and Tragedy
London: Formula One delivered a dramatic year of riveting rivalry, political controversy, human tragedy and financial uncertainty in 2014 as Lewis Hamilton joined the sport's hall of fame as a double world champion.
A season of memorable, tense and furious racing was overshadowed by one ferocious intra-team rivalry, a tragic rain-lashed reminder of its dangers and a prolonged financial furore that may threaten its stability.
As Hamilton ended his year as champion, Jules Bianchi remained in a serious condition in hospital after suffering severe head injuries when he crashed in Japan and the sport's finances, and future were the subject of much speculation.
The sale in December of a nose section from a Marussia car, driven by Max Chilton, for £15,000 (pounds sterling) in an online auction sale that followed the team's collapse was followed by reports that the sport's commercial owners were struggling to find a leader to succeed 84-year-old ring-master Bernie Ecclestone.
At the same time, after a winless season, Ferrari confirmed more staff departures - including the exits of engineering director Pat Fry and chief designer Nikolas Tombazis -- following a year of unprecedented upheaval that saw two-time champion Fernando Alonso, tempted by a massive salary, departing for McLaren.
Rarely before had the gulf between F1's 'haves' and 'have-nots' been exposed so starkly as it was in 2014 when the grid was reduced, in Texas, to 18 cars amid claims that a further three teams were in revolt.