How The F1 Love Affair Started

I don’t know how it started. Just remember watching Michael Schumacher drive round a track tens of dozens of time. It sounds boring but I strangely enjoyed it. I don’t remember if he won that particular race. I just remember it was sunny outside, it was summer, it was warm but I preferred to watch these cars go round the same track over and over again.

I wasn’t hooked. I didn’t regularly watch these races until only a few years ago. But when I was hooked, it wasn’t just because of the drama on the track but… who am I kidding, I loved watching these astounding feats of engineering collide spectacularly (but safely).

Fernando Alonso going into a 46G roll after Romain Grosjean clipped him

Yeah the races are boring and I spend most if my time hoping for a (safe) crash or torrential downpours but I just can’t look away.

Sebastian Vettel trying to cut across Max Verstappen to maintain the lead but ending up taking out the Red Bull and his team mate Kimi Raikkonen

Only in recent years I’ve started appreciating just how skillful the drivers are. I didn’t really know how useful ABS was until I was driving a car without a working system (thank you Ryu).

Lewis Hamilton locking up his front right tyre after applying the brakes too hard. You can see the flat spot on the tyre this caused

Even traction control. Who knew the best cure for constipation would be to turn off traction control on a rainy day before hitting some country roads aggressively.

Car experiencing a snap of oversteer as the driver applies more throttle than is grip at the back

I do find it odd how the pinnacle of motorsport don’t use such mundane, yet important, driver aids like ABS and traction control. But I’m extremely grateful when I see lock ups going into corners and back ends sliding out on corner exit on tracks. Differentiates the good drivers from the great. But also shows who’s got the better car.

I’m all for closer racing but we can’t discount the fact it’s human nature to enjoy when things go wrong, unless someone is hurt or you’re involved in it. That’s possibly why reality TV shows are so popular.

Ultimately when you watch something, you’re asking yourself one question – “can I sit through it?”

If it involves carbon fibre splattered around the track, then my answer would be a reluctant yes because seeing a team’s multi-million pound worth of hardwork strewn across a track is gut-wrenching but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

Downforce, drag, vortices, diffusers, brake-by-wire, undercut. Words I never knew existed and now they’re in my almost everyday vocabulary.

Visible vortices forming above the rear wing of Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes caused by high pressure air being forced off the rear wing endplates. Fighter jets also create these vortices at the tip of their wings

Brundisms are funny too (Martin Brundle sayings) like hug the apex like your favourite granny, a day late and a dollar short, ran out of adhesion before ambition or ran out of grip then talent.

Then you’ve got the drivers. Their talent is almost second to their personalities. I sometimes wonder if it’s because this generation of drivers are more trained in the (dark) arts of social media and public relations but then Kimi exists.

Kimi Shit GIF - Kimi Shit F1 GIFs
Kimi letting Martin know he missed the trophy presentation by Pele because he needed to answer the call of nature

I don’t really have a favourite driver. I love Hamilton because of where he came from, for being quick with a nice side of snide and because he’s the only BAME driver on the grid. I can’t stand to hear a bad said against Vettel. Even when he’s doing his best beyblade impression on the track, he’s always gracious and classy off the track. Especially love his bromance with Hamilton too.

Hamilton Breakchecks Vettel / Vettel Runs Into Hamilton Azerbaijan Grand  Prix [1... | Gfycat
Vettel and Hamilton sharing some love. Hamilton apparently brake checks Vettel so an angry Vettel races alongside before “gently” returning a nudge

Tl;dr – I like big crashes and I cannot lie. But so do you all deep down.

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