By Chelsy Ranard

The 2015 FIA Formula 1 season was filled with some big moments that had a lot of people talking. There were temper tantrums, crashes, unexpected weather, tragedy, and records broken. There were also some humorous moments, some impressive rookies, and a few rule changes to make the sport a little more interesting. Let’s take a look below at the moments in Formula 1 that had fans talking.

Capgate

Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg had their fair share of drama during this year’s racing season, but it all erupted with the infamous capgate scandal after Hamilton won the world championship. Everything was fine at first but when Hamilton grabbed his winner’s hat and tossed Rosberg his second place cap, Rosberg looked at it and threw it back at him. The incident seemed to show that Rosberg’s initial reaction to his teammate’s win was more for show than it was genuine. On the podium and at the press conference the situation wasn’t much better with Rosberg looking wounded and gossip flying over a scandalous maneuver during the race by Hamilton that may have caused Rosberg’s attitude. Either way, it was a highly talked about temper tantrum.

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Alonso’s Crash

Double world champion Fernando Alonso’s crash in Barcelona in February happened when he hit the inside wall of the track between turns three and four and had to be airlifted to the hospital. Alonso was conscious and responsive with doctors but had to undergo procedural precautionary checks because of the scary ordeal. The bigger deal for the driver and his fans was his inability to compete in round one for his first race since rejoining McLaren because of the testing crash. Granted Alonso and the McLaren team didn’t fare so well for the rest of the season either and he ended the Formula 1 year by sunbathing by the side of the track after his car broke down at the start of qualifying.

McLaren's Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain is evacuated in an helicopter after crashing his car during a test session at Catalunya's racetrack in Montmelo

Hurricane Patricia

Hurricane Patricia is one of the worst recorded storms in the Northern Hemisphere and nearly derailed the United States Grand Prix in October. This race was huge for front runners like Hamilton, Rosberg, and Sebastian Vettel, but heavy rain and dangerous conditions washed out qualifying. After a ton of delays, organizers gave up on trying to keep up with the weather and held qualifying at a new time on race day.  Through harsh wind and unrelenting rain, some race fans endured the conditions in order to keep a front-row seat.

Jules Bianchi Passes Away

French driver Jules Bianchi was just 25 when he passed away on July 17, 2015. Bianchi, a driver for Marussia, lost control of his car during the Japanese Grand Prix in October 2014 and collided with a recovery vehicle due to wet track conditions. He suffered from a diffuse axonal injury, which is the most devastating type of traumatic brain injury occurring in about half of all cases of severe head trauma. He underwent emergency surgery and placed into an induced coma where he remained that way until his death. He is the first Formula 1 driver to be killed as a result of an accident since Ayrton Senna in 1994.

After the accident and after his death many drivers held tributes to their fellow fallen driver. At the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix race, there was one minute of silence for Bianchi and his family, commemorative stickers were placed on helmets and cars, and the race winner, Vettel, dedicated his win to him. FIA president, Jean Todt, announced that Bianchi’s race number 17 would be retired.

Lewis Hamilton’s Third World Championship

It was all celebration, sprayed champagne, and tears on October 25th when British Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took the checkered flag in the American Circuit, the same race that Hurricane Patricia worked hard to derail. Hamilton beat his two closest rivals and finished 76 points clear of his closest rival and teammate Rosberg. Hamilton’s championship was accomplished with three races to spare. The race itself was filled with drama and action with Hamilton and his teammate at the core of it, hence the bad feelings mentioned earlier. Hamilton became the tenth driver in history to become a three-time world champion.

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Extras

There were a few other big moments in Formula 1 in 2015 that couldn’t be left out. This includes an incident at the Singapore Grand Prix where a fan climbed onto the track where he was, luckily, unharmed but still arrested. Lotus’ driver, Romain Grosjean, overshot his pit box a bit at the Spanish Grand Prix and accidently hit his front jackman. The jackman handled it quite well and completed the stop, but he probably had a few bruises from the incident. Max Verstappen,  a driver for Toro Rosso and the youngest driver to start a World Championship race, impressed spectators that are excited to see what will happen with this young driver in 2016.

There were a few tire concerns in the 2015 season with low tire pressure issues with Mercedes at Monza and Vettel’s right rear tire exploding at the Belgian Grand Prix. The manufacturer, Pirelli, responded by issuing stricter tire pressures for the rest of the races and they all passed without incident. Pirelli, which has been on the front lines of tire innovation off the track as well with their noise cancelling tires, will make three, rather than two, dry-weather compounds available at each event. This rule change increases tire freedom for each race, but there will be some drama involved with each team having to pick their tires far in advance without fully understanding track conditions or how the tires perform.

The 2015 season has obviously been one that had a lot of people talking and a lot of the big moments in the last year will carry over into the 2016 season. We will get to see more of the Hamilton/Rosberg drama unfold, unexpected issues, underdog wins, and teams working hard to come out on top.

Author bio: Chelsy is a writer from Montana who graduated with her journalism degree in 2012 from the University of Montana. She a former manager of an off-roading company in Alaska, loves motorcycles, and prefers to be covered in mud. Follow her on Twitter!