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For the love of racing

6 years old. Curled up on my sofa. The same old familiar sound of F1 engines is blaring from the TV. I’m bored already and it’s 5 laps in.

I don’t understand it. It’s too long, ‘the red man always wins’ and I want to go swimming.

‘Hush Josie and put your Ferrari cap on’.

That is my first memory of watching Formula 1. Schumacher on the podium, the blaring sound of the engines as I drift in and out of sleep and my Ferrari cap which was always meant for one of my brothers.

My dad was unlucky in that respect; 2 sons and  a daughter but only your daughter likes F1.

It’s strange how vivid that memory is. That first moment I actually paid any real interest. Little did I know that 16 years later, I would transfixed by this sport.

Motorsports, like many other sports, is a difficult sport to be a fan of when you’re female. The accusations of following it because you think the drivers are hot. 6 year old me definitely didn’t look at Schumacher and think ‘Damn! That German man can twiddle my gears any day’. Even writing that made me feel a touch ill as he is my all time hero. I referred to him as the ‘red man’ for the majority of my childhood even after I became a fan.

Motorsports is a combination of science and engineering. Two things I have always loved and grown up with. My dad is a professor of communication sciences (physics and engineering) so I grew up being told the ins and outs of how a formula 1 car works.

I love the geekery, my science brain is very into that. I love hearing how things work, trying to get my head around how it could work.

The older I got, the more I appreciated that it wasn’t just driving. The physical strain on the body *forever asking myself how they drink so much and drive for so long then regretting the decision*, separation from your family/friends, the near misses and the mental damage constant criticism can do. They put their minds, bodies and loved ones through hell for the entertainment of millions.

It’s not just the drivers though. It’s the entire team. All are working ungodly hours, making last minute adjustments to make everything perfect or keep everyone functioning *I’m looking at you, catering staff*. We watch in awe as they change their tyres, blink and you miss it fast, but how much practice must that take? Countless practice, frustration, blood and sweat. I’ve heard of the injuries, the agonising disappointment when something goes wrong, something tiny and the entire stop goes to hell. It’s gruelling, physically and mentally.

But it’s magic. To watch the battles, the rivalries (leave it out with your fan base criticism), the storming from the back to clinch a podium, the development over the years from rookie to world champion.

It’s a sport that I will never tire of. I will, or hope I won’t, ever fall out of love with. It’s brought unbelievable amounts of joy and sorrow in the passing of Jules.

Every season brings new excitement *unless they decide to mix it up and make a silly season part 2* and it never gets old especially now with Verstappen in the mix.

Only 83 days till the new season, my sweets. I hope you’re all ready!

For now,

Toodles!

X

P.S. Everyone has their favourite. Everyone is different. Personal opinion and each to their own. Keep your criticisms to yourself and your nasty words off the internet just because someone else doesn’t support your driver is no need for threats of violence.

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