You might have seen that I went a bit viral this week, with my commentary of the England v Tunisia World Cup match. However, despite its players’ fine coiffures and fancy footwork, football is not my sport of choice. I much prefer motor racing. I’ve been a big fan of Formula 1 and other motorsport since I was a young child watching battles between Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen. So, what’s the appeal? After all, there’s no diving in F1 (apart from Piquet Jr that one time, perhaps); the largely sub-par haircuts are hidden under helmets (although Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen are putting in valiant footballer-esque efforts); and, sometimes, the races are undeniably boring (recent visits to Canada and Monaco don’t so much spring, but limp, to mind).
However, some races have more than their fair share of craziness. Two out of three visits thus far to Baku have resulted in bizarre crashes, last-minute drama and surprise podium appearances (Well Done Baku, indeed). Meanwhile, even in less exciting races there’s usually some drama to discuss, whether it’s a first lap clash or a teammate rivalry. Just like football then, not every race is exciting, but there’s usually still something to talk about.
In place of the referee and VAR we have the all-powerful stewards and their sometimes questionable decisions, and there’s just as much fruitless protesting – only we get to hear it. This has given us gems such as “When did I do dangerous driving?” from an aggrieved Sebastian Vettel, who surely must have known that driving alongside, and then into, Lewis Hamilton under a safety car just might be considered dangerous.
Instead of aerial duels we have, well, aerial duels, with more than a few cars being launched into the air over the years. Even when cars don’t make it off the ground there’s plenty of dramatic crashes and clashes. From Grosjean’s repeated trips into the wall this season to the numerous clashes between Force India teammates Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon last season, there’s always material for a heated discussion about who was at fault or how an incident could have been avoided.
From a personal standpoint, this season hasn’t been the most enjoyable for me, mainly because I’m a Williams fan, and, unfortunately, they’ve produced a car so terrible it’s often slower than last year’s model. My second-favourite team, Force India, are going through some testing times as well, with poor results on track and financial problems away from it. They have, however, enjoyed a podium this season, with Perez standing atop the third step at Baku, so that has buoyed my spirits somewhat. However, it’s another reminder that, just as in football, you have to take the lows and the highs with your team of choice, and supporting a team or driver adds another level of emotion and intrigue into the sport.
So, what else might we be missing in Formula 1? Football has their transfer season, and we have ours. Will Fernando Alonso stay or will he go? Will Daniel Ricciardo accept a cool 20 million to drive for McLaren? Will Robert Kubica ever return to an F1 race seat? These questions and more keep discussions interesting even when the racing is not.
So, while my forays into football commentary have seen my tweets go viral, and years of tweeting about motorsport have done nothing of the sort, Formula 1 remains the sport closest to my heart. And while I might watch a few more football matches than I used to, nothing will hold my attention like Formula 1 has done for so many years of my life.
Featured image courtesy of Sven Mandel