Greatest race of 2009: Brazilian Grand Prix
Oh, so many. This year saw some excellent races, from the dramatic downpour in Malaysia to Mark Webber overcoming a drive-thru penalty to win in Germany - but Brazil was the ultimate stand-out.
Set up on the preceding day, when a storm hit qualifying, the enticing grid had Rubens Barrichello (the only driver who could catch Brawn team-mate Jenson Button for the title) on pole and Button down in 14th. Webber lined up second in the Red Bull with team-mate Sebastian Vettel 16th while Lewis Hamilton was only just off the back. The mixed-up field made for drama and, as Webber eased to a comfortable victory, Robert Kubica climbed from eighth to second, Hamilton fought through to third and Button won the title with a battling drive to fifth.
Greatest move of 2009: Button in Brazil
Formula One tried to improve overtaking this season with new rules, including the KERS power boost, but in Brazil all Button needed was the strength of commitment to make the pass of the season.
Sure, turn one at Interlagos is ready-made for overtaking and Button was competing against cars not as good as his, but the stakes were high and three moves showed he had the stomach for a fight when he needed it most. His passes on Romain Grosjean and Kazuki Nakajima impressed, but the dramatic lunge on Kamui Kobayashi's Toyota was the ultimate. He took several laps to close in and eventually set up the move from the all-important turn 14 right to the late, late braking commitment as the pair sped past the cameras into turn one. One race later in Abu Dhabi, though, Kobayashi took his revenge in a similarly impressive move.
Person of the year: Ross Brawn
When some would have spent the winter wondering how to lay off Honda's hundreds of staff, Brawn kept his head down and his team working away to complete a title winning car and secure the team a solid future.
The first outing of the BGP001 showed just why Brawn had tried so hard to save the team. The underpowered Honda engine made way for a Mercedes, and a well-designed chassis, complete with loophole double diffuser, was a force to be reckoned with. Sure, they had to hang on tight at the end, but six wins from the first seven races made it their title and, more importantly, secured major investment from Mercedes. Job done.
Surprise of the year: McLaren
This could have gone to Force India for their Spa performance, but as McLaren provided two surprises they take the title - first for the terrible start and second for the glorious comeback.
Just months after Hamilton had won the 2008 world title, he hit the track in a new car that was an immediate and absolute disaster. It was a shock for everyone that the team had dropped the ball so badly, and their new machine was so off the pace it was knocked out of the Q1 session several times. Six months later, though, some hard work and the maximum use of plentiful resources brought them to a second surprise, when Hamilton was quick enough to take victory in Hungary. Given the way they started the season, it was incredible to see the team return to the front in the second half of the year.
Villain of the year: Max Mosley
A dangerous choice, but ultimately FIA president Mosley (now replaced) played a major part in the continued political wrangling throughout the 2009 season and truly threatened to tear the sport apart.
Mosley, of course, was not entirely to blame - the manufacturers were in no mood to back down in any of the long-running arguments - but his efforts to introduce a budget cap when no teams other than the back-of-the-grid minnows wanted one did almost cause the sport to self destruct.
Mosley also played more than a walk-on part in the selection of Jean Todt as his successor in what was seen by some as a dirty and bitter campaign waged against ex World Rally star Ari Vatanen. After a tenure that saw both the sport and the motor industry take significant forward strides, it was a shame that Mosley's final battles left a sour taste in the mouth of most who witnessed them.
Person to watch for 2010: Fernando Alonso
So much depends on team performance in Formula One that it is tough to pick the stars without the cars - but whether things go right or wrong, Alonso's Ferrari journey is sure to be entertaining.
It is now three seasons since Alonso won his second world title with Renault and after a disastrous and damaging year at McLaren, and two more disappointing seasons back at Renault, he faces a career-defining year with the great Italian giants. It should be a marriage made in heaven - arguably the finest driver in the paddock with the most legendary team on the grid. But Ferrari are recovering from a tough and demoralising season and they have a returning hero in Felipe Massa, a product of the Ferrari 'academy', eager to get back in the groove. If Alonso can make the team fall in love with him and they give him a car to fight at the front, it could be amazing. If he again finds his piece doesn't fit the jigsaw, he could quickly go the way of Kimi Raikkonen.
Rule change for 2010: Refuelling ban
Claims that there will be minimal change to Formula One's regulations between 2009 and 2010 are far wide of the mark - there are several key changes that could combine to make a major difference.
The most significant of the new changes will be the refuelling ban, because of the wide-reaching effects it will have both on car design and race strategy. Currently, cars carry no more than half the amount of fuel required for full distance - so next year their tanks will have to double in capacity. That will mean wider tanks (a low centre of gravity is vital) so the entire sidepod area will be re-packaged, and designers will also have to consider how the massive change in weight of the car as fuel levels reduce during a race affects the performance, as well as the effect of the new narrower Bridgestone front tyres. The design that minimises the effects of this and creates a car driveable over the biggest weight range could just get a Brawn-like head-start.