…Formula One. The new season kicked off in Australia over the weekend, and even though I have been a devotee of the sport for as long as I can remember, the feeling I get at this time every year never loses its magic. In the off-season, between November and March, there is still lots to keep the fans entertained as preparations for the next 19, 20 or 21 races get underway, but nothing beats the eve of Round 1. For me, it’s another Christmas Eve and an exciting step into the unknown. Until the cars hit the track in anger, from the first practice session onwards, there’s no true indication of who will reign supreme at the front or how any new teams or rookies will fare as they hit the ground running. This sense of anticipation is shared by enthusiasts the world over. On a more personal level, however, the thought of having a qualifying session and race to watch every other weekend is very meaningful to me – it always has been and it always will be.
I know more about Formula One than I do about anything else, and I’d turn down dinner at Buckingham Palace without a second thought if it meant I risked missing a Grand Prix. My level of familiarity with it – and with many other forms of motorsport – means that it acts as a comfort blanket of sorts, and whenever I watch a race I feel like I don’t have a care in the world. For at least two hours each time, anything pressing on my mind is totally forgotten. Even though I follow its progress every day, it is my biggest indulgence and I would be lost without it. It stimulates me, engages me and brings out my enthusiasm in a way that not many other things can.
This may partially be because Formula One is unlike so many other sports in the world. In football, for example, the rules stay fundamentally the same across every season and with so many players on a club’s payroll, you have a great deal more heads on which to depend on the pitch. When it comes to Grand Prix teams, however, there are only two drivers who simply must cut the mustard, as should the many departments of staff who ensure that the entire multi-million pound operation runs like a well-oiled machine. If this is the case, every new car stands the best chance of gaining success and the many benefits – financial and otherwise – that allow the team to return to the track for another year. If it is not the case, as it so often isn’t in such a demanding sport as this, there need to be immediate changes, and these happen with the circuits and rules as well as the teams and drivers. Every part of the show is constantly evolving, making it fast-paced and exciting off the track as well as on. Aside from this, it is also more “rock and roll” than any other sport on the planet, with an image unmatched in terms of coolness. There is so much to love about motorsport, and for me that passion will only grow for as long as I live. I spent two days writing this post because I wanted to convey my feelings about it in such a way that nobody would be left in any doubt about their strength. In reality, though, I think this is impossible to do succinctly – I really could go on about it for evermore.