Following the Formula 1 championship for more than half of my life, during the last few years, I have gradually lost my interest. Once a great passion, F1 has given away to other interests. How come?Grand Prix of Japan 1994. Damon Hill wins the race ahead of Michael Schumacher. It was a wet race that took the drivers’ title to the, dramatic as it would prove, Australian Grand Prix. This was the first F1 race I watched in full. One of many.
The F1 “bug”
I really can’t fully explain the reasons of why I got so “hooked” to motorsports. It was the speed, the technology, the risk, the show. Since 1994, I have watched most of the qualification sessions and races live. I have spent time (and money) to research, read, learn and watch the history of the sport. I remember myself planning ahead my year against the Grand Prix calendar. When to go on holidays and how to watch each race live. Highlights or recordings were not enough.
At some point, in my late twenties, I ended up writing race reviews in a monthly car magazine. Later on, I would accept a job offering as a web developer because it was at a well-known online motorsports news portal. It was all amazing. It was all exciting.
The F1 “bug” followed me in my thirties really strong, and I kept close until about two years ago. Then, it started to wane. I missed races, consciously. I was watching highlights and that was enough. Why, though? What had changed?
What am I missing?
I was thinking hard about the reasons why the decline in my interest happened, and it’s not as straightforward as I initially thought. I could come up with the popular reasons of no more superstar drivers, the “Halo” or pay-per-view. None of them is a primary concern for me.
Believe that the main reason is that F1’s direction and my personal interests are going in different ways. If I could summarise this in bullet points, it would be:
Too much in offer
I grew up with a mystical, often secretive approach to what was happening behind the scenes. What’s underneath the chassis? How’s the car designed etc.? Now, all seem straightforward.
More penalties, less racing
45 starting grid place penalties. Enough said.
Less element of risk
Don’t get me wrong, I believe safety should be a fundamental of F1. But, I believe, the element of risk has been reduced significantly. Gone are the grass exits, the higher curbs, the lost time when a driver got it wrong. I am sure that there can be the same level of safety with an added element of risk, within reason.
So, that’s it. Or, perhaps, it is the trap of growing up and the things that once were magic, are no more.