As New Year dawned twelve months ago, Formula One faced the 2007 season with justified trepidation.
The retirement of the sport's most recognised global icon, Michael Schumacher, had left a power vacuum at the head of the drivers' field. With only one F1 champion driver in the 2007 field (McLaren's Fernando Alonso), the lack of established stars threatened to hinder the sport's growth and international viability.
Lewis Hamilton © LAT
One remarkable Lewis Hamilton rookie season and a maiden Kimi Raikkonen championship title later, those fears have been comprehensively quelled. And, if that had been the sole focus of the year, the 2007 F1 season would have been remembered as one of the brightest and closest ever.
Alas, Formula One also made the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2007. The series of industrial espionage scandals involving McLaren, Ferrari, Toyota and Renault first tested, then belied the old marketing truism that 'there is no such thing as bad publicity'.