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Is Formula One Boring?

By Rookie F1 | 23 Jan 2011 | 13 Comments | 16,769 views

This is a question that has an intermittent, albeit persistent, appearance throughout Formula One history. One could argue it’s necessary, if only to provide something to discuss during the off season, and what do you know…

In a perfect world we would have season after season filled with heart-stopping action, controversy at every turn and a different winner each year. But as we are all well aware, we do not live in a perfect world, far from it. Everything fluctuates, we have seasons that stun us and leave us speechless, but to balance it out we must also have the predictable ones.
 
Red Bull Racing/Mark Thompson/Getty Images
 
The 2010 season has been a treat for fans, but not every year can sustain such drama and tension, as teams would fold and drivers expire. Formula One in my house seems to have taken a backseat to the MotoGP (and other ‘exciting sports’) and I seem to be the only one flying the flag for my team. I’m fine with that, although it does cause a few problems when trying to schedule the time to watch the race…but no matter, F1 fans always find a way. I have had to defend my team from the perils of the occasional non-believer and ironically, from the most boring of statements.

Formula One is boring.
Just hearing those words muttered under the breath of a passerby is enough to get my hackles up. I detest that someone could just fling that statement out there so carelessly. Even in the most sedate of seasons there is something to get excited about, whether it’s the incessant gossip about who’s about to move, a huge leap in technical design or even a new track proposal. There is always something to talk about.

If we get past the tiresome statement, there are then the usual thoughtless arguments which often tumble from the mouths of the detractors. Stale and common as there are, these seem to be the sole basis of what makes F1 boring. In fact I’ve heard them so often my replies are becoming just as robotic and monotone, weeping from the lack of a valid point.

“It’s just a load of cars going around in a circle.”
No, I believe that’s NASCAR you’re talking about.

“They’re all overpaid.”
Sorry to embarrass you, but are you aware of football?

“No one overtakes anymore.”
I have one word for you…Kobayahsi.

Maybe it is just me. Maybe it is only the most dedicated of fans that care about KERS and the colour of the new tyres.
 
Maybe they’re right?
Hang on. This is not the time to get defensive. Do not for a moment become smug you disbelievers, I haven’t thrown in the towel, I’m not retiring with engine issues, my tyre pressures are fine. I’ll admit that I once thought Formula One had lost its charm. Momentarily. So cast your mind back to the beginning of the newest century and I can explain.

Some say he ruined the sport, some say he was the impossible teammate…some say he’s the Stig. Ah, yes, Michael Schumacher. He dominated the sport wholly and without compromise; seven World Driver’s Championships to his name and the inevitable reputation. Just ask Barrichello. His career was a defining moment in history for sure, but the cost to motor racing was almost too high. With Senna and Prost we had warfare, with Schumacher we had oppression.

Our prayers for freedom were answered by a shard of Spanish light tearing through the clouds; Fernando Alonso stopped the charge of the prancing horse in its tracks. But before he burned a similar path, the Ice Man cooled his advances and stole the glory for himself. Then, in our darkest hour, when we feared the Union Jack would never be raised in victory again, we earned our watershed moment. It came at the hands of a young British upstart. Moulded by a British team he had just won his first World Driver’s Championship, Lewis Hamilton was his name and suddenly everyone was taking notice. We had years of dominance from Germany and Italy; and then it looked like we were heading towards a similar ride with Alonso. But no, what was this? A British driver was number one. And we were in for a treat after years of drought.

Not one Champion, but two. This one however had risen through the ranks the hard way, bad teams and worse teams, playboy image and Monaco postcode (alright, it’s wasn’t all bad). Jenson Button held aloft his trophy and we rejoiced! Excuse me, Formula One then suddenly became the darling of the media world. I didn’t hear anyone complain about the state of the sport then.

Is it because we British were so accustomed to winning? Hardly, we’re enamoured with football, and the last time we were great at that it was shown in black and white. I mean, we didn’t even qualify for the European Cup, and we still consider it to be the national sport! Why can’t Formula One be given similar leniency? A couple of bad years and it’s cast aside, and it’s forgotten that the majority of teams are either based in Britain or are filled to the brim with British brainpower. It’s hardly something we can attribute to our national team, is it?

So is Formula One boring?
For this observer no, sometimes you have to work hard to reap the rewards as a fan, but the payoff can be unforgettable. Waking up in the middle of the night to watch qualifying for a flyaway just to watch it rained off, can drive you to the edge. But on the other hand watching your favourite driver cross that line first, then jump into a marina fully clothed is pretty awesome. So maybe we’re just a special breed, midnight viewings don’t faze us, we soak up new regulations with ease, and we can always find something to talk about. Let’s be honest, people who find it boring just don’t get it.

This guest post was written by Rookie F1 as part of the 3rd Bloggers Swap Shop series. You can read more of her thoughts over at the excellent new blog Rookie F1

Credit: Red Bull Racing/Mark Thompson/Getty Images

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13 Comments »

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  • saltire

    This is actually a difficult post for me to comment on because as an F1 fans I have a vested interest in the sport. The problem is that some newbies only see the cars going round the track and they don’t get he finer detail and the technical aspect of F1… a bit like me and my attitude to football really.

    All we can do is try and pass on our knowledge and enthusiasm and hope they turn away from the dark side.

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  • Amanda

    Very nice post. Every F1 fan has to deal with “those who do not believe in F1″.
    Formula 1 is everything but boring. And they who think it is are just not willing of give this sport a try.

    Handball is boring. Poker is boring (It is a shame to call it a sport anyway). Boxing … gosh. Is THIS sport? Boring. And believe: I gave them all a try. I rather watch curling.

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  • Pionir

    Monaco should be held up as an example of how F1 is both exciting and dull at the same time.

    The last truly exciting Monaco race with enough racing to satiate a true F1 fan was 1996. Before that it was 1982.

    However year after year it produces spectacular action and a magnificent *illusion* of excitement. So good that it takes a few hours after the race to realise nothing much really happened.

    Maybe all tracks should be bumpy with barriers. Just a thought.

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  • Maverick

    Maybe all tracks should be bumpy with barriers. Just a thought.

    That is precisely what is wrong with Abu Dhabi and yet people are hung up on the lack of overtaking there. The circuit is fine – the acres of run-off are not.

    There is no finer view than on-board around Monaco.

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  • Marina

    Awesome post!

    I don’t find F1 boring at all, but I’m sure there are people who always will find it so. Strangely, a few of those sad souls whom I know personally are fans of NASCAR… The irony is staggering.

    I will always find twisty-turny tracks like Monaco less boring than that massive oval a few miles down the road.

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  • Weezix

    I think the problem lies when people just turn on the TV and watch it without getting into the race at all, they don’t know what is going on and lose interest.

    I found a similar thing when we went to one of the races at Silverstone, and naturally went to all the support races. With the exception of GP2, I knew very little about any of the other races, and subsequently found the first one we watched hard to enjoy.

    After that however we picked a couple of random names out the program to support, and it suddenly became interesting again, we got involved with cheering someone on every time they came past. This is the same with most sports, they all seem dull until you know what is going on and you are willing people to do well (and others less so)

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  • Maverick

    I think the problem lies when people just turn on the TV and watch it without getting into the race at all, they don’t know what is going on and lose interest.

    My concern is that from next year, BBC viewers will be having two former drivers as their commentators, therefore very technical – great for the fans but what about these new people who don’t know what is going on?

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  • tdex01

    For me it is impossibleto find it anything but interesting. Any aspect that people find as interesting can be found in motorsport which is what i feel makes it unique and F1 is the flagship of this. It has the political side, the technical side, the celebrity side, the controversy side, the ‘on-field’ excitement side and the lineage.

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  • Maverick

    Team Lotus has found time to comment on Group Lotus’ new merchandise range…
    “Originals. What comes to mind when you think of Originals… Duchy? Nah…. Werthers. For sure.”
    http://twitter.com/MyTeamLotus/status/29683262880219136

    F1 boring? Never!

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  • Karen Terry

    If it was boring why would there be so many blogs, forums and web sites devoted to it, not to mention dedicated magazines.

    More people talk, post, blog, etc about F1 in the off season than about all other forms of motor sport combined at the hight of their seasons.

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  • Caligula

    Yes it is boring for anyone who doesn’t get excited by mechanics. For a start it is the only ‘’sport” dominated by technology. This takes away much of the human element which makes other sports exciting. How something which relies 85% on technology can even be called a proper sport is beyond me (hence why it is not an Olympic event). Secondly there are fewer upsets than other sports. The excitement in sport comes from raw undiluted human competition, not whether some billionaire has spent more on making a car more aerodynamic.
    The writer of this column said there is always something to get excited about in Formula 1 like a ”new track proposal”. Enough said.

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  • Andrew Howes M.A.

    After 9 races, I see that six have been won by the polesitter and two by the man who started second. Yes, Formula 1 is boring. Two-thirds of all races won by the fastest in practice! Hopeless.

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