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Why Do You Love It?

June 21, 2012

Is it the rumble of the engines as they sit on the starting grid?  Is it the fierce rivalry that exists between the men who sit in the cockpits?  Maybe it is the rich history of Grand Prix racing, going back over 60 years?  It could be the memories of the iconic circuits that have held Formula 1 races and the breathtaking layouts of the modern era?  20 Sundays of the year millions of people around the world settle down in front of their televisions or radios to watch, or listen to, 24 of the most sophisticated vehicles in the world wind their way around a strip of tarmac for 2 hours.  We follow the development of our favourite teams and drivers as they strive for the championship.  We proudly don our Ferrari jackets or Mclaren  peak caps to display our allegiance.  Why do we do it?  Why do we shake our fists when our chosen driver gets cut off by another and cheer when he sticks an overtake?  Why do we love Formula 1?

It is hard to pinpoint when I became so passionate about F1 and why.  I can remember, as a young boy, when the sound of V12 engines would fill the house as my dad watched the race after a Sunday braai (barbecue for the non-South Africans among you).  I would watch for a while, sitting next to my dad on the couch, enjoying the sounds and marvelling at the speed of the cars.  However, I would soon lose interest and rush off to complete my latest Lego creation or jump into the swimming pool.  The names of Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell meant as much to me as the political situation in Switzerland.

As I grew so did my interest in Formula 1.  I now found myself joining my dad in front of the tv, listening to the “Go, go, go, go!” of Murray Walker as the cars set off and watching the glory years of Michael Schumacher’s reign as champion.  It was at this time that I became a Ferrari supporter.  The allure of the red paint and Prancing Horse symbol, driven by the greatest driver of his era was enough to capture the heart of any 11-year-old and I have considered myself a “Tifosi” ever since.  Even with this new-found interest and allegiance to a team I would still not have considered myself a true, passionate F1 fan.  I was only watching races when they happened to be on tv and couldn’t name half of the drivers on the grid.  It would be a few more years before the bug truly bit.

It was in my latter years of high school that my enthusiasm and interest for Formula 1 escalated.  I now found myself making an effort to watch as many races as I could.  I was keeping track of the driver’s standings and paying attention to the designs of the cars and strategies of the teams on race weekend.  As Kimi Raikkonen clinched the title from the exciting young Brit, Lewis Hamilton my enthusiasm turned into full-blown passion. My devotion to the sport and interest in the inner workings of the incredible machines led me to the decision to study mechanical engineering at university.

Now, as I approach the end of my undergraduate career, I border on obsessive and am proud to say so.  I love Formula 1 and all that it entails.  I love the precision engineering of the engine and the cacophonous sound that it produces at 18 000 revolutions per minute.  The unquestionable skill of the drivers as they hurtle past advertising boards and come within millimetres of slamming into the wall.  I love the devotion of the fans, the millions of people all across the world who wave their flags in the stands and scream their throats raw in the belief that their cry is going to get their driver that extra split second.  I love the sense of anticipation and excitement that I feel as  the lights go out on yet another race weekend.  It is for these and countless other reasons that I love Formula 1…why do you?

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