If you’ve ever visited Gearheads Anon before, you can probably see some changes here. After three years, I decided to revitalize and refresh the site. As part of this new endeavor, I am also starting a new category: Formula 1.
My interest in Formula 1 (and motorsports in general, really) fell off in recent years, and recently I found myself wondering why. I suspect work, school, family and social factors all played a role, but two primary culprits come to mind as I ponder: accessibility and emotional investment.
Let’s be honest, even with a great cable package, some of those races are downright difficult to find on TV in the U.S. If you miss the first airing? Good luck finding a time it’s repeated during waking hours. If I really wanted to, of course, I could find them and watch them at odd hours or on some digital service after the fact, but that would involve the second point.
Emotional investment is a big problem for me, and for American motorsports fans in general. F1, though a pinnacle of technical achievement, is often not as exciting to watch as other racing. It’s hard to invest in a sport where there are, at most, two or three truly competitive teams and nine or ten also-rans. Lovers of sport (any sport, not just racing) want parity, and F1 just doesn’t have it. As a result, even with 20 or more of the world’s best drivers there is very little passing on the open course. The races happen in mildly exciting 30-second bits interspersed with huge chunks of no change whatsoever. The majority of activity that could be described as “frantic” happens in the pits. There is also an inordinate amount of rich-guy politics that dominates the sport at every level.
But I do still love the look of the cars, the sound of the engines (even if they’re not the shrieking V10s I fell in love with), and the personalities of the drivers. I love the tech and the allure of speed. Though I acknowledge its shortcomings, I still love it, and I miss it.
So, I have decided to invest again this season, for the first time since Jenson Button won the title in ’09. Just to make sure I don’t lose interest part way through I also plan to write about it. At the very least, I would like to have thoughts and analysis after each race, but hopefully it will grow to much more than that. We will see how things go.
My first challenge is finding out how to watch the races themselves. Since I got fed up with Comcast and canceled my cable, my options are limited to streaming. I am open to suggestions. Anyone?