I Got Hooked on this Foreign Sport: Formula One


“I Got Hooked on this Foreign Sport: Formula One”

We’ve all been through phases in life where we were into something that our peers would laugh at. An interest or hobby we hid from our friends to avoid the shaming.

I’ve recently run into a deep interest into one of those things. I just don’t know if it’s a phase or a new beginning in my sports watching journey.

I’ve caught the Formula 1 bug and I can’t shake it. It’s bad too, we’re nearing DEFCON 2 of this phase. I have this week’s practice session on in the background right now. I’m thinking of joining a fantasy league on their site.

I can’t figure out what the biggest intrigue of the sport is for me. I’m not some gearhead. I watched NASCAR as a kid but like WWE I kind of grew out of it.

The sport is in a mode where it’s currently dominated by one team and I hate teams like that. I’m certainly not one of those Lakers-Yankees-Patriots fans. We all know that guy.

I’m not even going to one of the races either. Formula One now has three races here in America – Austin, Miami, and Las Vegas. The cheapest ticket for any of those races was around $600, a little outside my budget.

But damn it I’m all in on the sport. I’m having fun learning the nuances and rules of the sport. I feel like I pick up on a new one each week. Learning about tire strategy and what overtake is. It’s been a blast.

Netflix and Race?

This all started with the Netflix show ‘Drive to Survive’ as soon as I watched the fourth season when it came out last year I was hooked. We were still feeling the effects of COVID so watching Netflix was still a big time waster for everyone.

I started hearing more and more people talk about this Formula One show on Netflix and how it got them watching the sport. Soon enough I fell through the trap door and I’ve been lost ever since.

It is a pretty good series and if you are even remotely interested in watching Formula One I would recommend giving that show a try first to ease your way into it.

It’s a great way to get introduced to the teams and drivers. Learn a little bit about the sport and some of the intricacies. It also doesn’t feel overly produced either.

What Americans Would Like About It

There are certainly a few things that intrigue me about Formula One that I think potential fans here would find beneficial.

First thing is since most of the races are overseas, the start time here is usually in the morning. I like this because I can get up and watch the race as most start around 9:00 or 10:00 and it doesn’t interfere with the majority of my Sunday.

The race is over before golf or football starts in the afternoon. I have time to go run some errands after before the day gets away from me. Watching Formula One doesn’t feel like it takes up your whole Sunday.

Which leads me to my next point and that is the races are under two hours. Each race can not go over two hours. No seriously, it’s a rule. I would say most races don’t go much passed an hour and a half.

That’s another win for most of us who don’t have a lot of time on our hands. You’re in and out of these races in such little time you don’t really have to plan around them. And you don’t have to worry about overtime or the race going longer than expected like with most other sports.

One great thing I learned two weeks ago about being a Formula One fan is it’s easy to stay “in the bubble.” The new season kicked off a couple weeks back and I missed the race because I was at the golf show. But since I don’t have any friends that watch it nor follow any beat writers for the sport I never found out what happened and was able to watch the race later on ESPN+.

They Allow Open Tampering

The last thing that is really fascinating to me is they allow tampering in the middle of the season. Formula One takes a lengthy summer break about halfway through the season. Not really sure what for. But during that time is when teams will talk with drivers about their contracts.

Last year, Fernando Alonso was driving for Alpine but his contract was expiring. Aston Martin and he agreed to a contract over break for the following year. That means Alonso would finish out the season with Alpine while everyone knew he was out the door at the end of the season.

Could you imagine Tracy Walker signing with a different NFL team halfway through the year but still had to finish the season out with the Lions? Anytime he missed a tackle or dropped an interception we all know what the response would be.

So after losing Alonso, Alpine said they would have their reserve driver, Oscar Piastri, replace him full-time the following year. But straight out the Vince McMahon playbook, Piastri tweeted out that no such agreement was made and that he was not going to be driving for Alpine next year. He is now one of the drivers for McLaren.

I mean what a freaking world that would be if that happened in our pro sports leagues here in the States. Like if the Angels lost Shohei Ohtani and then said that’s ok Mike Trout is our star player anyways. Then Trout tweets out that he doesn’t want to play for the Angles anymore.

I know the sport is not for everyone. I didn’t even think it was for me. But it’s got me hooked good and I’m not sure when this phase will fade away. I might need some help.

Photo Credit: © Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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