The best stories, debates and pictures: F1 Fanatic?s must-read highlights of 2015 | 2015 F1 season review

Posted on Dec 30, 2015

As 2015 draws to a close here?s a look back on the articles which got you talking the most during the last 12 months.

Your favourites

New superlicence rules would have barred ten drivers in last five years

The FIA introduced a complicated new regime to prevent drivers like Max Verstappen from getting into F1 in future. But the original version of its superlicence plan would have prevented many others from reaching F1 when they did.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Alonso and McLaren differed over his testing crashAlonso?s crash not caused by car fault ? McLaren

Alonso to miss first race of 2015 on medical grounds

Steering problem, not wind, caused crash ? Alonso

One of the most surprising stories of the build-up to the season was Fernando Alonso?s absence from the first race of the year following a crash during testing. He and McLaren gave differing explanations for its likely cause.

Cruising Mercedes still 0.5s quicker than anyone

Mercedes dominated the first race of the year, setting the tone for the rest of the season.

Hamilton first to fall foul of new FIA helmet rule

Showing little regard for F1?s many more serious problems, the FIA decided to clamp down on drivers changing the design of their helmets.

Red Bull to blame for F1?s cost crisis ? Fernley

Force India?s deputy team principal Bob Fernley gave a frank assessment of how F1 has found itself in its current state.

Could Ferrari have won without the Safety Car?

Sebastian Vettel took a surprise victory in Malaysia which raised questions whether Ferrari had unlocked their true potential or merely seized an opportunistic victory.

Could a new rule stop another Monaco qualifying row?

F1 returned to the scene of one of its biggest controversies of 2014.

Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Monte-Carlo, 2015Hamilton was stung by his Monaco defeatMercedes answers fans on Hamilton?s Monaco strategy error and rubbishes conspiracy claims

?Are you sure it?s best to stay out?? Radio call which cost Hamilton victory revealed

Mercedes urged Hamilton not to skip Monaco podium after losing race

In the aftermath of Lewis Hamilton?s surprise defeat in Monaco it wasn?t immediately clear how he had lost the race. Subsequent team radio messages revealed the role he had played in the strategic error ? and how Mercedes had to cajole him into taking part in the podium ceremony.

Hulkenberg wins on Le Mans debut

One of the season?s best feel-good stories: widely overlooked talent Nico Hulkenberg won on his debut at Le Mans with Porsche alongside Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber. Sadly next year?s running of the endurance classic is on the same date as the European Grand Prix, so there won?t be any current F1 drivers in action.

Maldonado, Hamilton and others get penalty points

An action-packed Hungarian Grand Prix led to several drivers picking up penalties.

F1 2015 by Codemasters reviewed

The official Formula One game arrived for next-generation machines.

Team radio ?should be private? says Alonso after ?GP2? remarks

Alonso complained after his rants about Honda?s ?GP2 engine? during the Japanese Grand Prix were broadcast on the worldwide television feed.

Alonso close to fastest lap with ?full deployment?

Some consolation for McLaren at the end of a difficult season?

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Biggest discussions

Porsche, World Endurance Championship, Silverstone, 2015No more grid girls for WECWhy F1 should adopt the WEC?s ban on grid girls

The World Endurance Championship took a stand against one of motor racing?s most enduring anachronisms. Encouragingly, some F1 race organisers have begun employing male as well as female brolly-wielders.

Sauber loses appeal against van der Garde judgement

Three into two didn?t go at Sauber.

Should engine performance in F1 be equalised?

Preserve the sport or improve the show? This debate cut right to the heart of what F1 is supposed to be.

Strategy Group plans return of refuelling, free tyre choice and cars ?five seconds quicker?

The wide-ranging plans announced by the Strategy Group in May were gradually diluted as the year went on.

Vettel matches Senna?s win tally with nine fewer starts

First Vettel, then Hamilton drew level with Ayrton Senna?s tally of 41 race victories.

Forget surveys, here?s what F1 can learn from Monaco

Two major surveys of F1 fans were conducted during the year, but did they tell us anything we don?t already know?

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015Vettel and Rosberg suffered tyre blow-outs at SpaVettel furious over ?unacceptable? tyre blow-out

Don?t try to silence drivers on tyre safety

Pirelli tyre failures during the Belgian Grand Prix incensed Vettel and provoked one of the biggest debates of the year.

Hamilton confirmed winner after tyre investigation

Hamilton?s Italian Grand Prix victory was briefly in doubt.

Did FOM give Mercedes its ?invisible treatment? in Japan?

Little was seen of the race-leading Mercedes pair during the Japanese Grand Prix.

Why Hamilton deserves to be a three-times champion

Hamilton dominated the 2015 championship.

Picture perfect

Pierluigi Martini, Minardi M189, Goodwood Festival of Speed, 2015Pierluigi Martini was reunited with his race-leading Minardi M189

First pictures: Red Bull RB11 appears in camouflage

Red Bull surprised by using a camouflage livery in testing.

Minardi M189: Heroic minnows? only race-leading car

Mercedes designer Aldo Costa cut his teeth on this landmark Minardi which reappeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Lotus 43: F1?s only 16-cylinder race-winner

The raucous 16-cylinder BRM engine in this Lotus couldn?t be further away from today?s refined six-cylinder hybrid turbos.

50 years of Honda F1 cars in pictures

Honda?s history of F1 success was a heavy burden for it to shoulder during its conspicuously unsuccessful return.

McLaren MP4-XThe future of F1? McLaren?s MP4-X conceptFerrari unveils its vision of future F1 car design

McLaren is latest team to reveal an ?F1 car of the future? design

Has Formula One lost its way? Two of its top teams appear to think so.

F1?s dwindling grid: Ten years of drivers? class photos

A look back over the years shows how F1?s field has shrunk.

Prost, Lauda, Piquet and more join F1 Legends Parade

A joyous celebration of retro F1 turbo machinery and other classic cars during the Austrian Grand Prix.

Let?s get quizzical

How good is your F1 knowledge? Try these six F1 quizzes from 2015:

Every race

Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Hamilton was shuffled back at the start in Spain

Take a look back on the 19 rounds of the 2015 season with F1 Fanatic?s in-depth reviews.

Statistics

Super Formula, Suzuka, 2015Super Formula: the fastest cars outside F1?How fast is F1? Top championships compared

The data on how close series like Super Formula and GP2 are to F1 performance levels.

Jerez data: Ferrari impress, Honda have much to do

It was clear from the first test Ferrari had made credible gains.

Ferrari?s 900 F1 races in stats

After 900 races Ferrari had won 223 times ? almost one-third of which came thanks to Michael Schumacher.

Silver-wash: Visualising Mercedes? F1 dominance

A graphic indication of Mercedes? stranglehold on Formula One (the data has since been updated to the end of 2015).

Why Alonso was right about Ferrari?s modest gains in 2015

Did Ferrari make progress in 2015 or did Mercedes? closest rivals of last year lose their way? It seems it was more the latter.

Ten of the best

Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet, Estoril, 1986If only more championships could be as close as 1986 wasTop ten: Worst world championship title defences

Vettel had failed to defend his title for the first time in 2014, but Hamilton successfully retained his for the first time this year.

Top ten: Longest Formula One grand prix circuits

F1?s monster tracks ? including one that was even bigger than the famous Nurburgring Nordschleife.

Top ten: Ridiculous rules F1 doesn?t have (yet)

F1 got rid of its crazy double points rule ? but there are many more oddball regulations out there.

Top ten: Most competitive F1 championships

Down-to-the-wire championship contests between more than two drivers. We all like to see them, but that isn?t what we got in 2015.

Watch the top ten races of 2015 outside F1

Watch more of the racing highlights of the last 12 months.

Flashback favourites

Start, Monte-Carlo, Monaco Grand Prix, 1995The last sighting of a full F1 grid: Monaco 199520 years ago: The last F1 race with a full grid

Formula One last had a full grid of 26 cars at the Monaco Grand Prix, now over two decades ago.

1985 German Grand Prix: Alboreto wins ? but Ferrari decline begins

There was no German Grand Prix this year but 30 years ago the revised Nurburgring held the race for the first time.

1990 Mexican Grand Prix: Prost wins from 13th, Mansell stuns Berger and Senna hits 100

With the Mexican Grand Prix returning in 2015, a look back at one of its greatest races.

Here today, back tomorrow? Renault?s F1 dalliances

Renault took a long time to confirm their latest full factory return to F1.

Ayrton Senna, McLarenThat famous Senna quote isn?t quite what it seems?If you no longer go for a gap which exists you are no longer a racing driver?

Why Ayrton Senna?s most famous quote is widely misunderstood.

Top Sauber drivers name their favourite races ahead of team?s 400th appearance

Sauber reached a milestone 400th race participation.

Glock answers fans on Hamilton and Brazil 2008

Timo Glock shot down those silly Brazil 2008 conspiracy theories.

Formula 3000 series

A five-part look back on the highlights of Formula 3000, F1?s former feeder series which began 30 years ago.

Have your say

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2015Ferrari used its veto to halt a cut-price engine dealThe following polls from 2015 won?t be open much longer so add your votes here now:

Over to you

What were your favourite features on F1 Fanatic during 2015? What would you like to see more of next year? Have your say in the comments.

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