PRE SEASON BUILD UP – DAY 13
I cannot recall a time when Formula 1 was not in my life. It was the tales of Ayrton Senna, Sir Jackie Stewart and other greats that first got me watching the sport. Since then I have woken up at absurd hours, sat on the edge of my seat and eventually settled for frantic pacing of a room for twenty or so weekends of the year.
Somehow, each year, my love affair with the sport continues to increase. At school many years ago now, I once inadvertently drew the Circuit De Monte Carlo on my paper in history and managed to include a recent race as a case study example for nearly everything in an exam – honestly it was almost a gift!
Formula 1, and indeed Motorsport generally, doesn’t just control most of my thoughts, it also controls my sleep. My alarm is set for ridiculous hours that I dare not recall for fear of yawning and most weekends from March through to November I find myself in one of two states: as a nocturnal creature or as a sleep-deprived zombie. Then when the race season is over, I curl up into hibernation until the sound of engines roaring hits the tarmac of Jerez for the first time.
I am frequently asked why I love this sport because frankly, those outside of the fandom fail to grasp it. I use the term ‘sport’ reluctantly. It is more than that. Being a fan of Motorsport is not just a hobby or a phase, it is a way of life that alters each decision we make (whether we know it or not).
In fact the decision to start writing stemmed from my utter excitement each weekend. I would, unintentionally, slip motorsport into absolutely every conversation I had until a friend politely pulled me to the side and told me to stop. Since then I’ve joined all of you race fans, sharing my thoughts each week with people who understand. Though I am confident my friends will admit that, if anything, my obsession has got worse! I am not apologising though, they are the ones missing out.
The racing community is incomparable. It was Sir Jackie Stewart who, with the help of the late, great Sid Watkins, helped improve safety measures thus sparing drivers from a terrible fate and the fans from living a nightmare. Yet the excitement of the race remains; 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. Ayrton Senna himself told his adoring fans once that “fear excites me” – does that prove my point?
More recently, you may also recall the time that Sebastian Vettel applauded Kamui Kobayashi on his maiden podium in Japan last year, or when the drivers stood motionless and proud the day Michael Schumacher returned. Respect is incredibly prominent in Motorsport, to an extent I am yet to witness elsewhere. A driver may ultimately be responsible for their own destiny, but it is for that reason that they applaud those who achieve their dreams too. The support network is incredible, which other sport could provide a falling driver with over £1,000,000 funding for their race seat? Unbelievable. Hopefully it will be enough to see Kamui return.
You have also supported me and my ramblings loyally and unconditionally now a few months. Thank you really does not seem like enough but I am afraid it is all I can offer. On behalf of all writers everywhere, I can assure that the time a complete stranger takes to read each word, that has been carefully handpicked, is nothing short of humbling.
Without all of you, I wouldn’t be living the Motorsport dream myself. This year I am writing about Formula 1 and WSR with the help of drivers and journalists, and have revealed exclusives, conducted interviews and been able to share my own opinions on a sport I love with people I have never met. Thank you, I hope you are all enjoying it!
Indeed during a recent interview with Mind Performance Coach, Simon Fitchett, he too expressed his eternal gratitude to Formula 1 and “the opportunities it has created”.
After all, Motorsport has allowed all of us to join a community of fans, drivers and team personnel who all live as individuals but share one common attribute – an addiction to the adrenaline rush. Now ladies and gentleman, that feeling returns in full force as we prepare for Melbourne 2013, the start of one of the most hotly anticipated seasons in living memory.
Perhaps next time someone asks you why you love a sport that forces young men and women to drive round and round in circles, sit them down to watch a Grand Prix. I challenge anyone not to be converted instantly. Motorsport is a pilgrimage each weekend, one that I am more than happy to make.
Alain Prost once admitted “it would be a personal victory for me to convince Ayrton that there are more things in life than just racing”. Make that Formula 1 fans the world over, Alain.
So here we go, the 2013 racing season is finally here. Let’s all enjoy as we emerge from hibernation and celebrate being part of this great community with millions of other people, who we have not met but still feel an enormous connection to.
This is the thirteenth, and final, blog post in this year’s pre season build up. Thanks for coming on this journey with me.
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