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So much more than just a Race

By Mavis Rodrigues

There is a sense of nervousness, excitement, joy and thrill in the air. It never gets old. You watch a Formula 1 race and know it’s much more than a race. It’s an adventure that takes place across continents. It’s a competition that involves the highest levels of technology and humans with their intellect, focus, mental strength and physical fitness. The finish line, the trophies and the world championship; that’s what all the drivers aim for. It’s the prize that they want, that makes this insane sport so exciting. Twenty two drivers from different parts of the world, chase victories, learn from their mistakes and emerge stronger. 

These drivers are incredible and worthy of praise and respect. There isn’t anything like the F 1 race. It involves madness yet teaches you perfection.

Here’s a short list of things I love about the F 1 and the little things I learnt from it.

Racing: It’s exhilarating to watch Formula 1, to see overtaking that is bold and risky, to see cars moving through the chicanes and apexes. Formula 1 racing is the pinnacle of single-seat racing. There’s nothing like it. When a driver starts from the pitlane and finishes 3rd in the race, that’s when you’re blown away by the sheer audacity and courage of these drivers. They don’t give up and never stop believing because if there’s the slightest possibility of making it to the top, they’ll take it. Sebastian Vettel said, “Never lift. Never stop believing. Obstacles may be in your way, you’re too far behind from where you want to be but you just got to have a little faith and determination and you’ll make it.”

Drivers: “The closer you are to death, the more alive you feel, the more alive you are.” said James Hunt’s character in the movie Rush and he’s right, you have to be a little bit crazy to be in the sport. It’s a lot safer now than it was when the last Formula 1 driver died in a race-related incident (rest in peace, Ayrton Senna).

Formula 1 drivers are rebels, dreamers and they are inspirations too. I love every single one of them to varying degrees. I do have my own personal favourites who I love more than the rest, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Räikkönen and Daniil Kvyat. They are boys who were brave enough to dream big and who strived and worked hard to reach here. Let’s not forget Susie Wolff, a female test driver, who hopefully will someday have a Formula 1 seat. This is a male dominated sport and has been for a long time, save the few women who dared to drive. Formula 1 drivers are some of the most highly conditioned athletes on earth, their bodies specifically adapted to the very demanding requirements of top-flight single-seater motor racing. Physical endurance is very important and Formula 1 drivers need to be enormously strong to last for a full race distance. Drivers can sweat off anything up to 3kg of their body weight during the course of a race. It demands that you be superbly fit, highly focused and persistent.

People: When I say people, I mean the people who work in this sport who are not drivers. No, they are the team principals, team managers, technical officers, designers, race engineers, strategists, press officers, pit crew members, mechanics, engineers dealing with aerodynamics and all the other intricacies related to F1, marshalls, the safety car driver and everybody else who works behind the scenes. They all play important roles. It wouldn’t be Formula 1 without them. They work hard to ensure that drivers are fit, cars function at optimal levels, run calculations and come up with strategies. They all work together. 

Drivers do get most of the attention but at the heart of it, it is a team sport even during the race itself. The precisely timed, millimetre perfect choreography of a modern pit stop is vital to help teams to turn their race strategy into success – changing a car’s tyres, replacing damaged parts and adjusting front wings in a matter of seconds. 

Technology, Science and Aesthetics: Let’s a take a minute to appreciate the sheer technological and scientific genius of Formula 1. A modern Formula 1 car is a technical masterpiece. It is a symphony of aerodynamics, energy, machinery, design and so much more. It’s an evolving sport that changes and develops. It is the design that transforms the car into a roaring beast. Science plays an important role in Formula 1. Tyres, gearboxes, suspensions, steering wheels, fuel, energy recovery systems, drag reduction system and brakes; they all involve science which is really awesome. This wonderful blend of the highest technology is astounding and that’s what makes Formula 1 so very special.

The cars are lovely to look at too .

Fans: It is expected that a global sport will have a global audience and Formula 1 has fans across countries, age groups, genders and so on. The fans make the sport what it is. They support the drivers, love the sport and unite as one big family. We are very different and yet, all Formula 1 fans. The thing is we are invested in this sport. It’s just like any other sport; we scream when we see our favourite driver isn’t performing well, we shout with joy when our team wins. We live the sport. I believe that you got to have something you feel passionately feel about, it’s worth it. Finally, it’s great being a Formula 1 fan, because this is so much more than just a race.

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