Eleven teams. Twenty-five drivers. Seventeen races filled with drama. Some teams, like McLaren, won eight times. Others, like Spyker, earned but a single point.
Every team has a story to tell. Here's a team-by-team analysis in the order in which they finished for the 2007 F1 world constructors' championship.
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
Drivers -- Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen
Position in 2007 constructors' world championship -- 1
Total points -- 204
This was truly a new era for Ferrari, because, for the first time since
1995, Michael Schumacher wasn't driving for the Scuderia. Schumacher still attended a few races in his undefined advisor role, but he was no longer the center of attention.
Gone, too, was the brilliant technical and organizational mind of Ross Brawn, who had worked together with Schumacher to win seven drivers' world championships.
Another key team member of the Schumacher era would also depart the team.
Nigel Stepney, who made things run smoothly and reliably, was fired midseason for leaking (more like a gushing) Ferrari confidential technical data to McLaren's Mike Coughlan.
For the most part, Ferrari made the transition into the new era without a major hitch, but, unlike McLaren, it did suffer several mechanical failures in races with its F2007 car.
Although the team insisted otherwise, Schumacher always got priority treatment over his teammates. With Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, however, Ferrari vowed to give them total equality. And, with just three races to go, with Massa still in contention for the championship, team boss Jean Todt was still saying nobody would be favored.
Actually, the momentum had shifted toward Raikkonen in Round 11, in Hungary, when somehow the crew forgot to put fuel in Massa's car for a qualifying run. Massa won the next race, in Italy, and he was set to win the season finale in Brazil but let Raikkonen pass him so the Finn could clinch the championship by a single point.
Although Raikkonen won the first race of the season, it took him a while to get dialed into the car and the tires. By the end, however, he was very competitive indeed, with seven consecutive podium finishes to finish the season.
Massa proved to be a capable adversary to Raikkonen but through the course of the year could not match his consistency. In all, Raikkonen won six times and Massa three.
Besides winning the drivers' world championship for the first time with Raikkonen and for the 15th time in its history, Ferrari also won the constructors' world championship for the 15th time.
McLaren actually scored more points than Ferrari (218 to 204), but McLaren was kicked out of the constructors' championship for its involvement in the spy scandal. Even if that had not happened, Ferrari still reckons it would have been champion, as McLaren was stripped of the 15 points it earned in the Hungarian Grand Prix as punishment for the shenanigans of its drivers in qualifying.
While there will be some internal management restructuring during the off season, Ferrari carries a lot of momentum into 2008.
Drivers -- Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica, Sebastian Vettel
Position in constructors' world championship -- 2
Total points -- 101
The record books show that BMW Sauber finished second in the constructors'
championship, but as far as BMW motorsport director Dr. Mario Theissen is concerned, his team was third behind Ferrari and the disqualified McLaren.
"My view is that it is something for the statistics and not our own performance records," he told ESPN.com. "There are still four cars in front of us on the grid, and we want to beat them on the track. We are proud of being third on merit."
This was the second season for the former Sauber team now under BMW ownership, and it made a huge leap forward from fifth in the championship in 2006 with 36 points to scoring a total of 101 points in 2007.
The BMW Sauber F1.07 wasn't as fast as the McLaren or Ferrari, but it was comfortably quicker than the rest of the field. As a result, Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica normally finished around fourth to sixth if all went well.
Heidfeld twice punched his way through to a podium finish, something Kubica failed to do.
Kubica's season was punctuated by his violent accident in Canada. He suffered only a sprained ankle and a concussion and had to sit out the next race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sebastian Vettel substituted and finished eighth to become, at age 19, the youngest ever driver to score a
Unfortunately, the BMWs weren't good enough to sneak in a win or two, so all the victories in the season went to McLaren and Ferrari. It was a great season for BMW Sauber, but its position was somewhat flattered by Renault's downfall.
BMW Sauber wants to improve in 2008, of course, but it is now in very rarefied air and steps forward are going to be small and tough.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Heikki Kovalainen
Position in constructors' world championship -- 3
Total points -- 51
A team could be expected to drop down a bit the year after losing a double world champion, but Renault really plummeted. In 2006, it won both the drivers' and constructors' championships thanks to Fernando Alonso. In 2007, it earned a total of 51 points compared to 206 the year before. And, having won eight times in 2006, Renault made it on to the podium only once in 2007.
The 2007 Renault R27 was an evolution of the 2006 championship-winning R26, but it failed to translate the success. It turned out that that R27 had a fundamental aerodynamic problem centered around the front wing and front end, but it took the team half the season to cure it.
"It is much more consistent now," rookie Heikki Kovalainen said of the car after the new front wing had been created, "and lap after lap it is much easier to predict. I find it much easier to attack with this front wing.
With the older spec it was a little bit inconsistent and sometimes difficult to turn in, and for no reason the next lap was better. So we got rid of that problem."
With all his experience, Giancarlo Fisichella was better able to cope with the unpredictable car in the first half of the season, and he was able to help solve the problems. But Fisichella failed to step into the team leader role in place of Alonso.
Once he gained confidence in the car, Kovalainen outshone Fisichella in the second half of the season, and the rookie topped it all off with a great second place in the rain-soaked Japanese Grand Prix.
With Alonso back in the Renault saddle for 2008 (along with new rookie teammate Nelson Piquet Jr.), things can only get better for the team in 2008.
AT&T Williams Toyota
Drivers -- Nico Rosberg, Alex Wurz, Kazuki Nakajima
Position in constructors' world championship -- 4
Total points -- 33
"I have to say that Frank [Williams] and I are quite ashamed of it,"
Patrick Head said of the dismal season their team had in 2006. "But ultimately when you do that sort of thing, you pick yourself up, sort yourself out internally, and come out fighting."
Head was speaking at the launch of the 2007 Williams FW29. In 2006, the team had one of its worst seasons in 30 years and scored a mere 11 points.
The chief problem was reliability, and that is something the team worked hard to improve in 2007. Last season, Williams cars retired 11 times with mechanical woes in races. This season, that only happened three times, and Williams tripled its points haul.
Having traded Cosworth for Toyota, Williams quickly formed a great alliance with its new engine supplier. They worked together to ensure a harmonious engine installation in the Williams, and in turn Williams provided Toyota with its advanced seamless-shift gearbox technology.
The final standings show that Williams handily beat the factory Toyota team.
In his second season of F1, Nico Rosberg was impressive. He finished in the top eight five times in the last seven races and closed out the year with a career-best fourth in Brazil.
Alex Wurz competed in F1 from 1997 through 2000, and then raced only once in the next six years as he worked as a tester for McLaren and Williams. Back racing again in 2007, his experience was a boon for Williams, and, when conditions were challenging, such as they were in Canada where he finished third, he performed well.
But Wurz had difficulties in qualifying, and he retired from racing just before the end of the season. Rookie Kazuki Nakajima took over for Wurz in the last Grand Prix and will race full time in 2008. Rosberg will be back, too, having inked a contract to stay at Williams until the end of 2009.
Williams will improve next year, but it still is a privateer team up against the manufacturers.
Red Bull Renault
Drivers -- David Coulthard, Mark Webber
Position in constructors' world championship -- 5
Total points -- 24
This was the first Red Bull chassis created by design guru Adrian Newey.
The RB3 proved to be fast but unreliable. Most of the problems were in the gearbox/transmission area (which was very tightly packaged) along with their assorted hydraulics.
The whole design of the car was behind schedule because the team's new wind tunnel was late being commissioned. Then the gearbox breakdowns hampered preseason development. In addition, the team still had problems with one of its wind tunnels.
Ironically, one of the reasons Mark Webber left Williams at the end of 2006 was because the car was so unreliable, and now he faced the same dilemmas at Red Bull.
While this all sounds depressing, there were a lot of positives. Newey has been behind many a championship-winning car at Williams and McLaren, and the RB3 showed plenty of speed and potential when it was on song.
Newey had pushed hard for the team to switch from Ferrari to Renault engines, and Red Bull enjoyed a much more fruitful relationship with its new partner.
Webber finished a strong third in the European Grand Prix. Coulthard's best finish was fourth in Japan.
Having started 2007 way on the back foot, Red Bull is much better organized as it heads into the 2008 season. The addition of Geoff Willis as technical director, who joined midseason, has been a boon to the team as reliability has improved. Plus Willis' methodical methods mesh well with Newey's brilliant ideas that sometimes need a touch of conservatism to work really well.
Drivers -- Ralf Schumacher, Jarno Trulli
Position in constructors' world championship -- 6
Total points -- 13
Toyota has a reputation of eventually winning in any racing series it competes in but so far it has yet to see any solid, continuing success in F1. Since it entered in 2002, Toyota's best season was 2005 when the drivers finished on the podium and earned enough points (88) to put the team fourth in the constructors' championship.
"It is difficult to point out who has done mistakes and who has not done mistakes," Trulli told ESPN.com. "We all have done mistakes and we all could have done better. We are all looking for a better season next year.
All I can say is this: It has been hard for everyone."
Critics of Toyota say its method, called "The Toyota Way," that works so well in the auto industry just doesn't work in F1. Toyota's F1 team has a flat management structure without a superstar designer like Adrian Newey.
The Toyota TF107 was a mediocre car and thus the drivers had mediocre results. The best result for both drivers was sixth, and they each only achieved that once.
Kept in limbo about his 2008 contract, Schumacher finally said he would not be back. Trulli has two more years in his deal. His teammate next year is
2005 Champ Car rookie of the year and 2007 GP2 champion Timo Glock.
Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
Drivers -- Tonio Liuzzi, Scott Speed, Sebastian Vettel
Position in 2007 constructors' world championship -- 7
Total points -- 8
As a sister team to Red Bull, Scuderia Toro Rosso got to run a version of Red Bull's RB3 chassis in 2007. A major difference was that the former ran Renault engines and the latter Ferraris.
It was a complicated car, and it took the Toro Rosso a while to figure out how to get the best performance out of it. There was a trickle down of development parts from Red Bull to Toro Rosso, but late in the season Toro Rosso went off in its own direction on the aerodynamic front.
Toro Rosso had a fraction of the budget and only about half the number of team members that Red Bull enjoyed, and that put a clear delineation between the two teams. On the positive side, Toro Rosso's transmission was less sophisticated and more reliable.
On the driver front, American Scott Speed and Italian Tonio Liuzzi struggled to get the best out of the car. The situation wasn't helped by team co-owner Gerhard Berger and team principal Franz Tost publicly questioning the commitment of their drivers.
Speed finally left the team after a shouting match with Tost (Speed said Tost grabbed him by the neck) at the European Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel took over his ride. Now, with new aerodynamic parts, the car started to show potential.
But it was too late for Speed, and it was too late for Liuzzi as well because Tost and Berger wanted Vettel and Champ Car champ Sebastien Bourdais as their drivers for 2008.
Drivers -- Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello
Position in constructors' world championship -- 8
Total points -- 6
Just how bad was the 2007 Honda RA107?
For the first time in his 15-year Grand Prix career, former race winner and championship runner-up Rubens Barrichello failed to score a single point.
And, after racking up 40 points and a win in the last seven races of 2006, Jenson Button managed to claim only six points in 17 races in 2007.
Like many teams, Honda took a while to figure out the differences between the Michelin and Bridgestone tires. The two brands had very different aerodynamic characteristics.
Honda had the same drivers and engines as the previous year, so the problem was aerodynamics, and it was something that could only be cured with a completely new design.
"Maybe the center of pressure changing, destabilizing the car under braking," Otmar Szafnauer, the vice president of Honda Racing Development, said midway through the season. "All you need is a little bit of braking instability and then the driver's confidence goes and one tenth of a second on 14 corners, one tenth per corner times 14 is 1.4 seconds a lap."
Button and Barrichello are back with Honda in 2008, and things can only get better for the team.
Super Aguri Honda
Drivers -- Takuma Sato
, Anthony Davidson
Position in 2007 constructors' world championship -- 8
Total points -- 4
When someone pointed out to Jenson Button how well the tiny Super Aguri team was doing in 2007, he sputtered something along the lines of: "Of course they are -- I won in that car last year!"
Super Aguri used an updated version of the 2006 Honda in 2007, which gave the little team a good base to actually be quicker than the factory team at times. But, inevitably, the lack of development budget hindered Super Aguri.
Still, there were some magic moments for the team. The best came in Canada where Takuma Sato, on a different tire compound, passed Ralf Schumacher
(Toyota) and Fernando Alonso (McLaren) on the final lap to snatch sixth place. Sato also finished eighth in Spain.
Anthony Davidson didn't score any points, but was usually faster than Sato in qualifying, including Australia and Turkey where Davidson qualified a superb 11th.
Super Aguri hasn't officially confirmed its drivers for 2008 but it wants Sato and Davidson back.
Drivers -- Adrian Sutil, Christijan Albers, Markus Winkelhock, Sakon Yamamoto
Position in constructors' world championship -- 10
Total points -- 1
The former Jordan/Midland team is in a difficult position. It has a very modest budget, but it is a full manufacturer team that designs, constructs and develops its own chassis. There's no customer car deals like Toro Rosso and Super Aguri, something that is and was a real bone of legal contention with Spyker.
Invariably, the Spykers qualified at the back of grid. Rookie Adrian Sutil showed a lot of potential, and the single point he earned with an eighth place in Japan was like a victory for the team.
Sutil's inexperience and frustration brought on too many spins and accidents, but he is a driver to watch.
When Christian Albers' sponsorship money started to dry up the team lost interest in him. Markus Winkelhock drove one race for the team and gloriously led for six laps at the European Grand Prix thanks to an inspired strategy choice to fit rain tires just before the start. Sakon Yamamoto took over the ride for the remaining races.
Next year, the team has new ownership and a new name -- Force India -- but the problems of being a small fish in a big pond remain.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
Drivers -- Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton
Position in constructors' world championship -- 11
Total points -- 0
When Vodafone McLaren Mercedes had its lavish multi-million dollar launch in Valencia, Spain in January, nobody could have envisioned the problems and dramas the team would face.
Amidst the fireworks and light shows and dancing girls, who would have thought that the team would have headed into a nuclear meltdown in which it lost both championships, which it so easily could have won, and had to pay a record $100 million fine on top of it all?
The fact that McLaren hadn't won a single race in 2006 was soon forgotten as the team racked up the victories in head-to-head battle with Ferrari.
These were the two dominant teams, and they won every race in 2007. They took turns being quick, with Ferrari faster on tracks where overall aerodynamic efficiency was at a premium, while the McLaren MP4-22 was a better car in qualifying and on tracks where quick changes of direction and curb hopping were needed.
Few people, and especially Alonso, expected Hamilton to be so quick so soon. Alonso thought that the team should give him the support due a champion, ignoring the fact that McLaren always treats its drivers equally.
They each won four races.
Hamilton turned into the best rookie in the history of F1. He is friendly and humble, but he wasn't about to move over for Alonso.
The Hamilton/Alonso relationship hit a boiling point in Hungary, where Lewis disobeyed team orders in qualifying and did not let Fernando go out on the track first. Alonso retorted by dawdling on his pit stop and thus holding up Hamilton and preventing him from making his final qualifying run.
A furious Hamilton had a war of words with Dennis over the radio.
Citing the rule that a driver is not allowed to impede another driver's qualifying run, plus the fact that McLaren was less than forthcoming on what happened, officials stripped Alonso of his pole position and said that McLaren could not score any constructors' points in the race.
An incensed Alonso told Dennis that he had confidential Ferrari data on his personal computer and then retracted the statement.
In reality, McLaren engineer Mike Coughlan and Ferrari's Nigel Stepney had been carrying on an information exchange for months, everything from 780 pages of Ferrari data to a string of e-mails and telephone calls. And Alonso and test driver Pedro de la Rosa were privy to much of the data.
When the truth of all this finally came out, F1's ruling body, the FIA, tossed McLaren out of the constructors' championship and fined the team a whopping $100 million.
McLaren still could salvage the drivers' championship, but the team threw that away as well.
Hamilton had a 17-point lead with two races to go, and Alonso was still in contention for the title along with Kimi Raikkonen.
In China, however, McLaren left Hamilton out on the track too long on worn-out rain tires. When he was finally told to pit, Hamilton gently slid off entering the pit lane.
In the season finale in Brazil, a mechanical glitch threw Hamilton's gearbox into neutral for 30 seconds. It was enough for Raikkonen to win the race and the championship.
By this time Alonso's relationship with McLaren boss Dennis was beyond repair, and shortly after the season they split.
So Hamilton heads into 2008 as the leader of McLaren with a teammate yet to be named. Alonso has rejoined Renault. And McLaren still has not won the championship since 1999.
Dan Knutson covers Formula One for National Speed Sport News and ESPN.com.