How it’s played out in the past

We look at how seasons have ended in the Red Bull Air Race

Who's going to win?

The 2017 season has kept everyone on the edge of their seats, with three pilots taking race wins and 10 collecting at least one podium. It's all come down to the final race in Indianapolis. Four pilots still have the chance to lift the World Championship trophy come the end of Race Day.

With that in mind we thought we would look back at how the seasons have finished in the final round...

Year: 2005
World Champion: Mike Mangold
His was the first year the Red Bull Air Race was a ratified World Championship. Ten pilots took part over seven races. There was only ever going to be one winner in that year. American Mike Mangold took five of the wins and only had one race where he wasn't on the podium – a fifth place finish at the Rock of Cashel in Ireland. Second place went to Peter Besenyei and third to Kirby Chambliss.

Mike Mangold (centre) took the first World Championship in 2005

Year: 2006
World Champion: Kirby Chambliss
It was another American who took the win in '06. Chambliss won four of the eight races, but it was a close affair. Peter Besenyei chased Chambliss all the way and even took the win at the final race in Perth, Australia. Chambliss took the title by just three points. Besenyei lost out because he was Disqualified at his home race in Budapest – if he had collected points there it could've been a different story.

Chambliss won four races in 2006 - including his home race in San Francisco

Year: 2007
World Champion: Mike Mangold
Mangold became the sport's first two-time champion. When he took the title in 2007 it went down to the wire with Paul Bonhomme. By the end of the season both pilots were on 47 points with three race wins each. There was a championship tiebreaker which Mangold edged and pushed Bonhomme into second place.

Mangold won in London along his way to claiming his second title.

Year: 2008
World Champion: Hannes Arch
Bonhomme had to once again settle for second place in the championship when he lost out to Hannes Arch – who was only in his second season. Arch stood on the podium in six of the eight races and had a convincing lead by the end of the season, to be crowned the first European World Champion.

Arch (r) took advice from the masters in his champion winning season

Year: 2009
World Champion: Paul Bonhomme
2009 was to be the biggest season in terms of pilots. 15 took to the skies for this season, which included four pilots that are now contending for wins, podiums and World Championships themselves. It was the introduction of Matt Hall, Matthias Dolderer, Yoshihide Muroya and Pete McLeod, but it was ultimately Paul Bonhomme's year. He finished every race in first or second and took the title by seven points with Hannes Arch finishing second.

After being runner up two years on the trot, 2009 was Bonhomme's year

Year: 2010
World Champion: Paul Bonhomme
Bonhomme became the first man in the sport's history to take back-to-back world championships and equal Mike Mangold's record. Again it was a tight finish. Bonhomme won by just four points and Arch was chasing him all the way. It was Arch's disappointing result at the season opener in Abu Dhabi that saw him lose out.

2010 Bonhomme repeated his achievement by claiming his second title

Year: 2014
World Champion: Nigel Lamb
Paul Bonhomme, Hannes Arch and Nigel Lamb were all in contention to be the 2014 champion. At the final race of the season it was still a three-way split of who could win the championship. Lamb had moved to the top of the standings and was on 53 points, five points behind was Hannes Arch and one point further behind was Bonhomme. So every point counted. Ivanoff flew perfectly at that last round, taking the win and leaving the three leaders to scrap it out for the remaining points. Lamb finished second (which was his fifth second place in a row), with Arch finishing fourth in the race, and Bonhomme fifth. The championship title went to Lamb with Arch finishing second and Bonhomme third.

2014 was Nigel Lamb's turn - five second place finishes proved that consistency was key

Year: 2015
World Champion: Paul Bonhomme
It was clear from the beginning of the 2015 season that it was going to be a two-horse race between Bonhomme and Matt Hall. The final race of the season was coming down to the wire and every point mattered. At the final race of the season Bonhomme had one hand on the trophy going into the race in Las Vegas. For Matt Hall to prise the British pilot's hand off he needed to win and hope Bonhomme finished out of the top four. Hall won, but there was no stopping Bonhomme. He finished second and took his third title. He then retired, bowing out as the most successful pilot ever.

Bonhomme took his third title in 2015, only finishing lower than second in one race

Year: 2016
World Champion: Matthias Dolderer
There was no stopping Dolderer in the 2016 season. His dominance was evident from the start of the season. He finished in the top two of every race, but one. Matt Hall was the closest to challenging Dolderer, but when the German won in Indianapolis (race seven) he took the title with the final round to spare – something that had never been done before.

Dolderer won his title with a race to spare. 

So that leads us to 2017, where Pete McLeod, Yoshihide Muroya, Kirby Chambliss and championship leader Martin Sonka will be looking to become the 2017 Red Bull Air Race World Champion. Tickets are still available for the race taking place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on 14-15 October, get yours HERE.