1) Bernie Ecclestone
Let’s face it, when aren’t we talking about Bernie? The man’s a walking news feed. But this year he faced ruin in a German court, answering a bribery charge that could have put him in jail for 10 years and ended his control of F1. End of the road? Nah. He just paid the court £60m and strolled away, conviction-free. Teflon!
2) Michael Schumacher
Critically injured in a skiing accident, the most successful F1 driver of all time cast a bigger shadow over 2014 even than the one he cast when dominating his sport. ‘Danger is what Michael does best,’ wrote our Tom Clarkson. ‘A love of danger kept him competitive in F1. He never lost his nerve.’ We’re still all rooting for him.
3) Carlos Tavares
Turning round cash-haemorrhaging Peugeot-Citroën (PSA) has got to be one of the industry’s least possible challenges, but analysts reckon new CEO Tavares is well on the way to achieving it. Talking to CAR in November, he said he wanted PSA to ‘convey the French touch’ while growing globally with buy-in from the French government and Chinese firm Dongfeng. ‘We’re fed up with being in a crisis!’ he said.
Click here to read excerpts from CAR’s interview with Tavares in autumn
4) Sergio Marchionne
‘We’ve got to kick some ass and we’ve got to do it quickly. It takes what it takes. We might screw up, but we’ve got nothing to lose, right? Let’s risk something.’ That was what Fiat Group chairman Marchionne told the press at the Paris show as he unceremoniously booted out the man who acceded to Enzo Ferrari’s presidency of the Prancing Horse 23 years ago: Luca di Montezemolo. Sergio’s other hobbies include raising Chrysler from the ashes, bulletproofing Fiat and resurrecting Alfa Romeo…
5) Jules Bianchi
Motorsport is dangerous, but terrible luck is more dangerous still. Bianchi’s crash at Suzuka, Japan, could have been minor had his Marussia car not hit a tractor clearing a previous accident. The crash freakishly exposed the modern F1 car’s Achilles’ heel, setting the sport – which has had no fatalities since Senna – into a frenzy of rethinking. Whatever changes come, we pray Jules is here to see them.
6) Luca di Montezemolo
Even being the suavest man in Europe can’t save you if your F1 team is a bit rubbish, especially if you’ve set the bar high with many triumphs. But you can’t expect a man in an M&S pullover (that’s you, Mr Marchionne) to understand suavity. And anyway, we believe Luca fell out with Sergio because he didn’t want Ferrari to go for greater volume. And for that, as for many things, we salute him.
Click here for 10 great Ferraris to remember LDM by
Click below for the rest of CAR’s top 100 moments of 2014:
The nine best sports cars of the year
Four seismic Nurburgring laptimes
Eight cars that changed our minds about electric power
Six wishes for 2015
Six back-from-the-dead stories
Six things we said goodbye to
Top 10 motorsport moments
Seven things we never thought we’d see
Six biggest disappointments
Top five tech trends of 2014
Top 10 quotes of 2014
10 great CAR magazine features from 2014