Formula One -derland: My 5 Favorite Things About F1 Racing

by Jamie Sanford on March 13, 2012

At this time last year, my husband told me that he wanted to watch Formula One Racing with me (he had previously watched it while growing up). I begrudgingly agreed, figuring that I would hang out on the couch and either read or spend time with my laptop. Little did I know that I would become OBSESSED with the sport.

Hello, my name is Jamie, and I am addicted to Formula One. (HI JAMIE!) I think about chicanes and slipstreams when I’m driving my late 90s sedan.

So, in celebration of the beginning of the 2012 F1 Season (the Australian Grand Prix takes place this coming Sunday), I will list my top 5 favorite things about Formula One.

1. Location, location, location.

(Image from BBC Sport Website)

Formula One races take place all over the world, and some of the locations are super swanky. The most obvious of this is The Grand Prix of Monaco, which takes place in Monte Carlo. (Side note: Many F1 drivers make their home in Monaco as it is a known tax haven.)  Bernie Ecclestone apparently LOVES a race with a view, which explains why 2013’s Grand Prix of America will take place with NYC as the background. (More on that later.)

2. Aesthetics & Impressive Design.

In a sport where sponsors are KING, the branding could be a hot mess. While I do sometimes wish there were fewer logos, I think that for the most part, the cars look pretty amazing. I do think that teams Red Bull and Toro Rosso need to figure out a way to differentiate their cars, though, because a blur of red and blue is hard to distinguish on a car taking a corner at 140 mph.

Similar, right? Image from F1Technical.com.

In addition to just the aesthetics, the actual design that goes into a Formula One car is ASTOUNDING. The slightest changes in design can mean fractions of seconds shaved off of a lap time, and it means everything when pole position is often determined in those fractions. I cannot recommend enough this amazing episode of Megafactories from National Geographic, in which we are taken on a tour of the Williams factory.

It is amazing, and you get a taste of the development of new car components.

3. Drivers.

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, drivers for McClaren. Photo via BBC News.

Yes, there are a lot of hot Formula One drivers, and no one minds that. However, for the most part, the drivers are classy and accessible, which is not something I’m used to as a fan of things like pop stars. It’s not like there’s a news crew backstage right before Britney goes onstage to ask how she’s feeling about the show, and that is EXACTLY what happens on the grid before each F1 race. Reporters running around all over the place talking to drivers, and while not ALL drivers are into this (Lewis Hamilton will not talk to the press on the grid, and other drivers only do scheduled interviews on the grid), Jenson Button seems to be assaulted by someone on his way to the grid for every race, but is always graceful and accommodating.

Sebastian Vettel was the 2010 and 2011 World Champion and is Red Bull’s number 1 driver, as you can tell by his gesture. Mark Webber is the number 2 driver, and doesn’t seem too thrilled about it. Image via the Telegraph.co.uk.

Regardless of said classiness – there is no lack of drama. Shady moves on the track happen during every race! It gets more interesting once you see that the same drivers keep coming together. In addition, each team has 2 drivers, and the drivers are billed as number 1 and number 2. While the ultimate goal should be to move the team forward, it seems obvious that the drivers all want to be number 1.

PS – A lot of the drivers are on Twitter. You should find and follow them. Especially Paul Di Resta, because I am a big fan.

4. The Grand Prix of America.

(Image via Sports Illustrated)

Early into the 2011 season, I decided that my husband and I would travel to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix in June 2012. Then, in October, I obviously proved the power of the Law of Attraction, because it was announced that starting in June 2013, a Grand Prix will be held in Weekhawken and West New York, NJ, with NYC as the backdrop. This is about 10 minutes from where I live now, so I am skipping the Canadian Grand Prix and saving my pennies for the inevitably hella expensive grandstand tickets.

In addition, if anyone working on the Grand Prix of America needs someone to manage marketing and social media for the race, I am definitely available. My email address is in the right column.

5. The racing!

(Image via F1 Fanatic)

Obviously, my favorite thing about Formula One has to be the actual racing!

They are crazy fast of course, and the competition between the teams, as well as insane driver skill, make for lots of gasp-inducing moments.  Add to this the technological shenanigans (such as the Kinetic Energy Recovery System or KERS, and the Drag Reduction System or DRS) and it makes for a really interesting and exciting event.

Here’s a video explaining what DRS and KERS are and how they work.

During the off-season, I’ve taken the opportunity to go back and watch the races from 2010. I am so glad that I did, because the 2011 season was less interesting than 2010, as Sebastian Vettel was incredibly dominant throughout the season. However, 2010 was full of crazy passing at the front of the pack! I have high hopes that changes to the cars for the 2012 season will mean more variety in the podiums, especially because I wasn’t able to pick only top teams in my F1 fantasy league (yes, I just copped to fantasy F1).

So, there you have it. I have never really cared about sports, but I am so excited that I was introduced to Formula One because I really get so much enjoyment out of it.

Does anyone else like F1? Let me know what your favorite thing about F1 is in the comments.

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