Hi my name’s Katie and I’m a racing fanatic. I first noticed the symptoms when I was sat marvelling at Kimi Räikkönen’s impressive and somewhat surprising championship victory in 2007 – I think I may have seen a smile on the Ice Man’s face. Soon the symptoms persisted and grew to bizarre proportions. I began to hear the noise of engines in my sleep and I can also recall a time when I, inadvertently, drew the Circuit De Monte Carlo on my paper in History.
It was the tales of Aryton Senna, Sir Jackie Stewart and other greats that first got me watching Formula 1. Originally I was one of those people who, much to the dismay of my sport’s mad family, declared that “once you’ve seen one lap in motor racing, you’ve seen them all”.
I apologise to the racing community for what can only be described as treason. I was proven wrong the following year when Lewis Hamilton won his Championship on the final lap due to an incorrect tyre choice by one of his rivals. After all, the variables involved in a Grand Prix are seemingly never ending, keeping us addicts on our toes and at the mercy of a higher power. In fact legendary racing commentator Murray Walker put it best when he explained: “IF is a very long word in Formula One; in fact, IF is F1 spelled backwards.”
Formula 1 doesn’t just control most of my thoughts, it also controls my sleep. Work permitting, my alarm is set for ridiculous hours that I dare not recall for fear of yawning. Most weekends from March through to November I find myself in two states: as a nocturnal creature or as a sleep-deprived zombie. Either way, myself and my equally fanatic peers, find ourselves sat at the edge of our seats to see how quickly four tyres can be changed as a flurry of highly trained staff complete the task in seconds.
It is due to the pressures of correct decision making and meticulous calculations, that Formula 1 is such an elitist sport. In a previous post I compared the sport to a lottery, a game of luck out of the control of the participants. Wins and losses occur on a knife’s edge, hovering tentatively until a team decision is made which will swing the result to one side. As such those involved in motor racing can earn a fortune. For example, both Fernando Alonso and Moto GP star Valentino Rossi have banked $30 million a year.
Whilst their Monaco fuelled lifestyles may ultimately be unattainable to little me, I love the sport anyway. Most young people like me will probably put partying, drinking and nights out as top of their list for most enjoyable weekend activities. For me, nothing beats engines, drivers prancing and iconic racing that (unlike the drunken filled nights of my peers) will never be forgotten.
Even those drivers who lose their lives during unfinished yet still glittering careers are remembered fondly as heroes. Whilst the dark and dangerous side of Formula 1 exists, that is what makes racing. The danger and the thrill is gripping – therefore it is a great fear of mine that the sport will become too safety concious. The late great Ayrton Senna told his adoring fans once that “fear excites me” – does that prove my point?
And it seems as if any F1 withdrawal symptoms will only get worse as up and comers such as Susie Wolff, Mitch Evans, Jules Bianchi Albert Costa and Max Chilton continue to appear at the forefront of GP2, the World Series by Renault and DTM.
After 17 years, countless racing daydreams and even more incorrect predictions, I can conclude that drivers are incredibly underrated. Those outside this epic ‘fandom’ do not understand the fitness, concentration and dedication required to be a champ; most of the preparation goes on away from the paddock before the baton is passed to the drivers for their moment of sporting glory.
I am a racing fanatic and proud. In the past I have felt judged for my love of all this motor sport but now I just couldn’t care less. From now on, I will sit in my house, racing magazine in hand, ready to share motor racing’s greatest moments with millions of strangers around the world – people I don’t know but still feel a an enormous connection to.
Have you got any sporting confessions you’d like to share? Comment below (you do not need a WordPress account to do so).
Alternatively you can contact me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Katieonapodium
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