February 27, 2006

F1: why?

Recently, I've been exchanging e-mails with a long-time friend of mine. While we've known each other since grade school, in recent years we've mutually fallen off each other's maps (hey, it happens to the best of friends!), and other than about six hours total of visiting the past two summers, it's probably fair to say that we're out of the loop on each other's hobbies and pasttimes (and other things, too... he had no idea about my October Cardiac Event, for example).

So anyway, He Who Shall Remain Nameless Until He Comments On The Pond and I were e-mailing, and he brought up Formula 1 (logical, since he glanced at The Pond), and how he knew little about it (other than he thought of them as "Indycars," and NASCAR as "muscle cars"... which isn't all that far from the truth, actually).

Which got me to wondering... why do I enjoy F1 so much? I think I figured it out while I was munching on some sweet & sour chicken (not so good, but it was better than a couple of granola bars for dinner).

It's different.

Which, I admit, sounds really weak. But consider: Grand Prix racing has been around for 100 years (LeMans, France... they're throwing a Centennial event this year during the French GP, which might actually make this year's race worth watching), but here in the US, it barely makes a ripple in the racing waters.

NASCAR gets the lion's share of attention over here, with Indycar/CART garnering the rest, and F1 barely getting noticed, even during the USGP (last year not withstanding). Those of us who are F1 fans are something of an elite (l337?) group, in other words... because there are so few of us around.

Lets face it, deep inside all of us, there's a little place that's proud to be fans of something nobody's ever heard of. Official First Reader Mallory and myself formed the unofficial Zsolt Baumgartner fan club, for heaven's sake... if that isn't "something nobody's ever heard of," I don't know what is!

Yes, F1 is the most technically advanced form of motorsport on the planet, with the cars being more closely akin to jet fighters than to my Camry. Yes, the drivers are probably the best on the planet (insert Jordan joke here). Yes, the tracks are often the most challenging around (note: lose Hungaroring, please). And, yes, the locales are exotic and far-flung (like... um... Indianapolis).

But, darn it, it's FUN to be unique, too. And F1 Fandom here in the US is certainly that... I'd be willing to bet that the most knowledgable US racefan, when asked to name as many F1 drivers as he can, would say "Schumacher... um... er...."

So, yeah, there's a bit of elitism involved. But, durn it, the sport is so cool, too.

I'm rambling, and I have no idea how to finish this entry. Nothing to see here, move along.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 05:59 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 491 words, total size 3 kb.

1 Bravo!

You explained it beautifully. It is fun being a fan of something that not everybody understands.

Proud member of the Zsolt Baumgarner Fan Club.

Posted by: Mallory at March 01, 2006 12:52 PM (y6n8O)

2 I'll be a devil's advocate: while the F1 cars are the fastest (maybe even "most technically advanced") - does it follow that the drivers are the most skilled? I discussed it at length with my friend Z during a soggy overland slog over the weekend - we both agreed that the Rally car drivers, the ones who do the ridiculous overland races like Paris-Dakar, might arguably be the "best" drivers, from a standpoint of skill and endurance. No real road, after all, lots of hazards.

Not to discount the real skill of F1 drivers - maybe they're more like jet pilots.

Posted by: vaucanson's duck at March 06, 2006 06:03 AM (oplPK)

3 Well, it's possible, but when there's no road, you get to choose your own path. They also generally don't have to deal with 19 other cars within a couple car-lengths of them going at 180mph.

Though, considering the exploits of Christijan Albers last year, there may be some merit to your argument, VaucDuck

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 06, 2006 06:45 AM (+rGmJ)

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