I wish someone had told me about Formula 1

“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by a special guest contributor Karla Prinsloo. We hope you enjoy the read as much as we did.

I can’t be the only one who picked up a few new habits during the nationwide lockdown, surely most have. As we could not spend our Sundays as we used to by going to markets, out for lunch or even just to visit family or friends, mine was watching the Formula 1 race on a Sunday afternoon.

I grew up in a household that were seriously into ball sports and over weekends the only channels we would watch were Supersport channels. The channel hopping was constant between European football, rugby, cricket, golf and even on occasion some tennis, but rarely any racing. So after a serious drought of sports events (much to my family’s dismay) during the lockdown, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the first sports events that returned to our screens – and maybe for some a return to a small form of normalcy – was Formula 1 and one Sunday afternoon, desperate for some form of live sports coverage, we switched the channel to the Austrian Grand Prix and from that moment I was hooked.

It was odd, my friends and family thought it was odd and it got me wondering, what is the appeal of F1?

The official Formula 1 site claims that their total global TV cumulative audience was 1.922 billion, its highest since 2012, so it seems like F1 does have a major following (definitely more than I would have guessed). While speaking to one of my friends (a big F1 fan) he just said the following –
“Formula 1 is quite a unique sport.” With this, I could completely agree. Although there seems to be a lot of criticism surrounding the past few seasons it still does not take away from the impressiveness of this sport (for me, at least).

The history of Formula 1 is iconic, the cars are masterpieces, the engineering excellence and the talent is exceptional. Along with that, it is fast and unpredictable, the tracks change weekly, the pressure is immense and if you are like me, you almost get a slight adrenaline rush from the comfort of your couch while watching these races.

2020 would have been quite a big year for Formula 1 with 22 races planned at the start of the year, however, as with many of our plans for 2020, COVID 19 disrupted all these plans. Only in July had Formula 1 been able to make a comeback and it’s been quite a journey from there with some familiar and unfamiliar tracks and some exciting moments, with Lewis Hamilton breaking Michael Schumacher’s 91 race winning records, rookie podiums for Lando Norris and Alex Albon and let’s not forget that action-packed race in Monza with a podium comprised of Pierre Gasly, Carlos Sainz Jnr and Lance Stroll placing first, second and third respectively (not the usual podium we see every week). Still quite an eventful season, in my opinion, it will be exciting to see what the final few races will hold.

As luck would have it, I stumbled across the Netflix documentary series, Formula 1: Drive to Survive, ah, something to feed my F1 craze even more! It was this that pushed me over the edge and into a
fully-fledged Formula 1 fan.

The series gave me a behind the scenes look, into everything that goes on in F1, I got acquainted with all the teams, the various team principals, and all the drivers. It truly showed how cut-throat this sport is, so elite and if you put one foot wrong, crash into one too many walls or cars, it can cost you everything. Along with the politics and the drama, there were also some fun moments and getting to know all (or at least most) of the drivers with their silly banter but yet “fighter-pilot mentality” I found it quite enjoyable (and it doesn’t hurt that the drivers are all quite attractive). So, if you are ever bored or looking for a new show to binge on Netflix over the weekend, I would recommend that you give Drive to Survive a try.

Now, although I have tried to catch up on as much as the 2020 races and the docuseries Drive to Survive could allow me to, I still have a long way to go before I fully grasp the entire concept of this sport, but at the moment it is a great escape for me from this uncertain, upside-down time we find ourselves in today. So with the lockdown days and weeks all seemingly blurred into one, could you blame me for seeking out something new and exciting to pass the time?

Because, when you actually come to think about it, didn’t we all find a new, maybe even strange habit or interest to make the days of national lockdown seem less tedious?