On this day in 2007, Formula 1’s 61st season began. With a thrilling title fight and controversy aplenty, it’s considered one of the best.
13 years may not be that long in the grand scheme of things, but in the often short-lived careers of F1 drivers, it seems a lifetime.
Given this, it’s no surprise that most of that year’s grid has moved on to other things. Some of them have stuck around though.
Let’s take this trip down memory lane with the one and only…
Winkelhock drove just 15 laps in Formula 1 and even led the race for a few of them before retiring with a hydraulics issue. Quite the career in the sport.
Since that glorious day, he has become an established name in touring car and endurance championships, winning the 2017 Nurburgring 24 hours sportscar race.
Before being dropped by Spyker halfway through 2007, Albers drove 46 races in F1, scoring four points. After losing his seat, he drove in DTM for less than a year before ending his racing career driving sportscars around Le Mans for three years.
The Dutchman briefly returned to the F1 paddock in 2014, becoming Team Principal of Caterham from July to September. These days he is, in his own words, a ‘serial entrepreneur’. Get him on The Apprentice.
2007 was Yamamoto’s second season in the sport as he filled the vacant Spyker seat from the Italian Grand Prix onwards. He then became Renault’s test driver for 2008 and also filled that role for HRT in 2010, even driving seven of the last 10 races of the season.
The only other racing of note he has does since is Formula E. In the 2014/15 season, he replaced Antonio Felix da Costa for two races, failing to score a point or even finish a race.
After six years stuck as a test driver, rarely getting the chance to race, Davidson finally secured a seat at Super Aguri for the 2007 season. However, he failed to score a point and lost his race seat four races into the following season due to the team’s withdrawal.
He returned to his test driver role until 2013, for Honda, Brawn and Mercedes, and has raced in the World Endurance Championship every year since, winning it in 2014. Today, he’s best known for his work on Sky Sports as an F1 analyst, also commentating for the video games.
He raced the final race of the 2007 season, so Nakajima just about makes the list. After impressing in it, Williams signed him up and he raced for the British team for two seasons, scoring nine points.
Since then, he’s become a legend in the World Endurance Championship, driving for Toyota. He’s won 13 races, including two victories at Le Mans, and has one World Championship to his name. At the age of 35, he will be hoping to add to that total.
VICTORY FOR @Toyota_Hybrid 🏁🏆
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) June 16, 2019
Best remembered for having the most apt name in motorsport, Speed ironically struggled to find just that in his F1 career, failing to score a point over the course of 28 races for Toro Rosso.
He then spent five years driving in NASCAR before switching to Rallycross, a class he still races in today. He’s also completed four Formula E races, finishing P2 in one of them.
2007 proved to be the worst of Barrichello’s 19 seasons on the grid and the only one in which he failed to score a point. Happily, his fortunes soon increased considerably as he found himself in the best car on the grid in 2009 and finished the season in P3, winning two races.
After retiring in 2011, the Brazilian spent a year in IndyCar. These days he’s driving in the Stock Bar Brasil series, where he’s been for eight seasons.
You also see him in the Formula 1 paddock now and again, which is lovely.
Sutil competed in 128 races in Formula 1, scoring 124 points. Only one of these points came in 2007 as he finished the season in P19. He remained on the grid until 2014, scoring the vast majority in this period.
What’s he up to these days? Honestly, we have no idea. He’s basically disappeared. If you know, feel free to give us a shout.
Another fella whose life in 2020 is a bit of a mystery to us. The Italian enjoyed a six-year career in F1, scoring 26 points in that time before trying his hand at various classes including Formula E.
Much to the dismay of fans everywhere, 2007, in which he scored four points, turned out to be Sato’s final season in F1. In the previous five, he racked up 44 and even a podium, becoming the most successful Japanese driver in the sport.
He’s gone on to enjoy an excellent career in IndyCar since leaving the paddock though. About to start his 11th season in the series, Sato has claimed 12 podiums and five wins, one of which was at the Indy500.
"This is awesome, awesome!"
— BT Sport (@btsport) May 28, 2017
2007 also turned out to be a swan-song for the younger of the Schumacher brothers. He may not have matched the success of Michael, but 27 podiums and six wins in 10 years is respectable nonetheless.
After F1, Ralf raced in DTM for five seasons before bringing an end to his professional racing career altogether. His son and nephew are both continuing the family legacy, however.
Back then, Button was stuck in a poor car, struggling to score points and encountering Honda-related issues he’d become all too familiar with towards the end of his career.
After one title-winning season at Brawn and seven of mixed fortunes at McLaren, the Brit swapped F1 for Super GT in 2017 before completing a season of the World Endurance Championship. Today, he can often be seen as a pundit on Sky Sports.
Vettel made it clear just how talented he was in the first few races of his career, with a P4 finish in China being the highlight. His performances earned him a seat for 2008 and he’s been on the grid ever since, winning four titles in the process.
It’s unclear how much longer he’ll be around though. With Charles Leclerc gaining the upper hand on him and his contract at Ferrari coming to an end, his days at the Scuderia at least may well be numbered.
Finishing just above Vettel in 2007 was an Italian who was trulli a mainstay of the grid…get it? We’ll see ourselves out.
He spent 17 years in F1, winning one race and retiring in 2011. Since then, he’s set up his own Formula E team and driven for it, but sadly it folded after a season. That’s all we’ve seen from him in terms of top-level racing.
Webber had no wins and just one podium to his name at the start of 2007. However, this, his first season with Red Bull, was the start of improved fortunes. In the next seven seasons before his retirement, he got 40 podiums and nine wins, but could never beat team-mate Vettel to the title.
He finally got his hands on a world championship in 2015 as he won the WEC with Porsche, also finishing second at Le Mans. Today, he often works as a pundit on Channel 4 and does a bloody good job at it, too.
Another man who enjoyed more success in WEC than Formula 1. Wurz raced for six seasons in total, scoring no wins and three podiums, with one of them coming at Montreal in 2007.
After that, his final season, he won Le Mans for a second time in 2009 before joining the WEC full time from 2012 to 2015, winning five races. More recently, he’s competed in the World Rallycross Championship.
By 2007, DC was coming to the end of a career that yielded multiple wins and podiums. Driving for Red Bull, he still enjoyed a good season, finishing in the top five on three occasions.
The Scot’s post-F1 life has consisted of little racing, as he’s instead embarked on a career in broadcasting, becoming one of the UK’s most renowned TV reporters and pundits.
He is also the advisory board chairman for the relatively new, but already very successful W Series.
The famous Youtuber did actually race in F1 once you know? He was alright too, scoring 20 points in this, his second season, and going on to become World Champion nine years later.
After swiftly retiring on the back of his success, he’s become fond of having controversial opinions and saying them on air, while his aforementioned Youtube channel has become a bit of a meme.
🗣"One little mistake… My childhood dream was gone."@Nico_Rosberg looks back at the race he sealed his championship title, the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and reflects on his long history with @LewisHamilton.#SkyF1 | #AbuDhabiGP🇦🇪 pic.twitter.com/MGeZVKs8EF
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) December 19, 2019
The years Fisi spent at Renault were undoubtedly his best in Formula 1, even if he never could match the exploits of Fernando Alonso. To be fair to him, not many could.
Like many on this list, he went straight from F1 to the WEC where he was considerably successful, winning the title and Le Mans in his class in the competition’s inaugural season.
The Finn was considered an exciting talent in 2007 thanks to his largely successful debut season. Such success earned him a move to McLaren the following year, where it became clear he wasn’t cut out for the top level.
Nevertheless, he managed to stick around on the grid for five more seasons at lowly teams before joining the Super GT series where he races today.
The biggest “what could have been” in F1? Perhaps. After setting the sport alight with his incredible ability, the Pole’s career looked to have been cut tragically short after an accident in 2011.
Remarkably, he made it back to the grid for the 2019 season, but hugely struggled, partly due to the car and partly the injuries. Nevertheless, the fact that he made it back is all that matters, and he’s even still in the sport today as Alfa Romeo’s reserve driver.
ICYMI: Daniel Ricciardo leads round of applause for the returning Robert Kubica ahead of #AustralianGP
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) March 14, 2019
Partnering and getting the edge over Kubica in 2007 was Nick Heidfeld. The German was remarkably consistent that year, finishing in the top six 13 times and scoring two podiums.
After four more seasons in the sport, he joined the club of those to hop aboard the WEC train, and it’s been an enjoyable ride, with the highlight being a Le Mans win in 2014. He’s also enjoyed success in Formula E, getting eight podiums.
Oh, how we miss Felipe baby. After helping his team-mate win the title this time around, he got his chance the following season but missed out by quite literally the tightest of margins.
Hindered by a serious head injury, he never made to the top step of the podium again after that but did manage to keep hold of a seat until 2017 when he left for Formula E. He’s yet to win a race there, but we can’t wait to see it if he does.
Alonso came close to adding a third title to his collection a few times, but this was the one he really should have won, and arguably would have if he didn’t fall out with McLaren and Hamilton.
He’d go on to miss out on the title on the final day twice more, in 2010 and 2012, and left the grid in 2018 after difficult years with McLaren-Honda to pursue the Triple Crown. With new regulations on the horizon though, he’s fancying a return.
Given the fact that he came into a top team as a rookie, matched Alonso and was one point and a gravel trap away from the title, it’s really no surprise that Hamilton has gone on to win six of them.
With the Mercedes man now 35, he’d be forgiven for thinking of retirement, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Instead, he’s determined to go down in history as, statistically, the best driver ever.
As an all-out war emerged at McLaren between its two drivers, the Iceman, uninterested in the dramatic narrative, snuck in to win his first and only title in the final race of the season.
13 years on, not much has changed. Kimi is still on the grid, still pretty handy, still has a way with words and still loves a drink. Never change.
"You first started a Formula 1 race at 21, what would you say to that 21 year old now?"
This and more coming up on Sky Sports F1 this Sunday ⏰ pic.twitter.com/Io5OQ8AwTT
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) October 12, 2019