My introduction to F1

I have done it. I followed the complete F1 2017 season. This may not sound like an achievement, but for a 22-year-old who hasn’t ever followed any sport in his entire lifetime, it is a special achievement.

Until March of this year, I didn’t use to follow any sport. Of course, as an Indian, I have watched many of India’s cricket world cup matches and as a roommate of a football fan, I have also watched a few El Clasico matches. But I was never compelled to “follow” the league, championship or world cup.

That all changed when I accidentally clicked on an interview of Mercedes AMG’s team principal after the first race of F1 2017 season. That interview had just enough engineering jargon that it convinced me to watch the next race. And the 2017 Chinese GP was interesting enough to convince me to watch the entire season.

Now, the season is over. Lewis Hamilton is the World champion, Sebastian Vettel is as frustrated now as he was at the start of the season, and Alonso has become worlds no. one hater of Honda.

When I reviewed reaction after few races I found something intriguing. My emotional state was almost same at the end of each race. I was equally excited when Hamilton won the Chinese GP as I was when he came fifth at Azerbaijan. I was saddened when Vettel, Kimi, and Max crashed and I was also Saddened every time Alonso got a DNF.

I don’t know which team and which driver I want to support. I am not sure if that is a good thing or bad.

Here are a few contender who I could support.

  • Lewis Hamilton: The de facto champion of this season. An incredibly talented and equally honest guy.
  • Sebastian Vettel: The challenger to the Mercedes dominance in F1. The angry German of F1.
  • Max Verstappen: The young prodigy.
  • Daniel Ricciardo: The guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously.
  • Force India guys: Team owned by a (now infamous) Indian. Also, the underdogs who are surprisingly reliable this season.
  • Kimi and Bottas: The pseudo underdogs, talented drivers who are overshadowed by Vettel and Hamilton respectively.

People usually support players and teams they consider belong to their “Clan” and the easiest way to classify a “Clan” is geography. This is the reason most people support their national teams in world cups. A similar effect is seen in IPL and European football.

This geography classifier works really well for games like football, and cricket which works on a Team VS Team game format. But what happens when there are no Geographical classifiers. Thankfully I have an army of Indians following European football who can answer this question. Here are the most common explanations that they have for their support for a particular Team.

  • That team was doing particularly well when they started following the game.
  • Their favorite player is playing for that particular team.
  • The team is really good at marketing.

Honestly, I think the last reason is the most important as well as most underappreciated one. A lot of intelligent people spend a shit ton of time and energy into designing branding that makes you the fan of the team.

But I haven’t still decided yet who I will support in the next season of F1. And I think that is probably a good thing. Maybe I enjoy the game more because I am not a fan of any particular team. That way I am hardly disappointed after any match.

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