Formula One entered the 2005 season in a position of growing unease and instability. With the threat of the manufacturers' breakaway series looming, and the sense of keen competition eroded by five years of Michael Schumacher and Ferrari domination, it looked likely that the sport would shed fans to other racing series. As brilliant as Schumacher is, the sport needed more winners, more thrilling wheel to wheel racing, and greater competition.
On the positive side, the calendar was fuller than ever before, with a new high of 19 Grands Prix. And on track, there was no shortage of younger talents queueing up to claim Michael Schumacher's crown if Ferrari faltered. F1, in its current guise, still hasn't managed to secure a unified and certain future, but the crowning of a new champion driver and team in 2005 has been a refreshing change from the established order.
As is so often the case in F1, eventual WDC Fernando Alonso built his Championship-winning advantage by the end of April, securing three wins and a podium finish before his home GP in Spain. Without the head start from those first four races, Alonso and main title challenger Kimi Raikkonen would have waged one of the closest WDC battles ever, swapping the Championship lead four times. For the first thirteen races, the gap between them would never have been more than eight points.
Alas, those first four races did count, affording Alonso the luxury of driving conservatively thereafter to win the title on attrition rather than outright speed. That was a pity because, as Renault showed in China, they did have the speed potential to go toe-to-toe with McLaren, but chose the safe and steady option instead.