USGP – A Home Race and Time to Celebrate
Blogging as far as I can tell is a very time sensitive activity, and by that I mean, to blog is to report, comment, or bring attention to something — in the quickest and most un-encumbered way. Just you and your computer, laptop or phone for the blogger on the go. You don’t need a large publishing empire, a pressroom, hell you don’t even need an editor (well, actually I do, ha ha). Just the desire to be (instantly) part of a conversation.
The immediacy with which one can post a blog, add a couple of photos, and sound off, fits quite nicely into the current, faster-than-fast mentality of the 21st century. Something happens, someone blogs about it, post is done and time to move on, simple as that. This also means that for the most part there would be no good reason for me to look back to the middle of November and blog anything about the Grand Prix that took place in Austin, TX especially taking into consideration both of the championships had already been decided and no team or driver was about to challenge Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel.
Two weeks on I still felt there was something to talk about (not about race specifics mind you) so let’s put time sensitivity aside and see what could possibly be of interest.
As of late I have made quite a bit of fuss over America, American drivers and my pledge to start converting as many Americans as I can to die-hard F1 fans. What better place to start then with a race on American soil? And what better way to make converts than by cloaking my shameless propaganda, my hidden agenda about how great F1 is (and Fernando Alonso) in the form of a party. So I set about doing what all psycho, occult, misguided leaders and third world dictators and despots do when suckering in the masses. I promised something in return for showing up to my residence (quite early) on Sunday morning. Booze and food. It never fails! In this case my secret weapon was champagne and caviar – how better to celebrate European culture?
By the way I also cleverly mentioned that we were celebrating my birthday (throwing a little guilt into the mix never hurts either). I don’t feel bad about the subterfuge because unlike many dictators, I have a worthy and sane manifesto. It’s very simple, everyone on the planet, especially Americans, should be watching F1 all of the time, no excuses. If you have a problem with that please step into my dungeon. Luckily that step was not necessary two weeks ago.
I aways forget how much of F1 I take for granted until I watch F1 with people who are seeing it for the first time. Some of the questions which I answer are just so funny. “Why does a team have more than one driver?” “How fast do they go?” “Why do they have to change tires?” “Who has the purple car?” “What do those numbers mean?” “Why are you screaming right now?” And so on.
One of my favorite moments is when someone discovers that Mercedes-Benz races a works car (which by the way I have to always explain what “works” means) and inevitably I get, “You mean the same Mercedes-Benz that my dad drives?” to which I say “Yes,” and I like to remind them that “By the way, other people drive Mercedes Benzs as well, Gang Members, Drug Dealers, Record Producers, Ballers. Benzs are not just for old folks anymore.” At which point they usually say “Oh.”
I also forget how much I love this sport and enjoy talking, sometimes a bit too long, about all the intricacies of the cars (don’t say chassis to this crowd, it is just not worth it), design, how the sport works, the people behind the cars, team principals, and designers, and of course who I feel are the best drivers, and why. Surprisingly almost everyone is genuinely interested in what I have to say.
When I explain what all the graphics mean that are displayed during the telecast, what KERS is, why the sport has enlisted the use of DRS, and why there are two separate tire compounds that must be used per the regulations everyone becomes much more interested in what is gong on.
At some point I get to the fact that these drivers (most of them anyways) are considered the best in the world driving the most technologically advanced cars in the world. That the top drivers commonly make 30 million dollars a year to go racing on Sunday afternoon and the sport globally generates 1.6 billion dollars a year. That is a quite a bit of caviar I tell everyone and in terms of the champagne, well we could buy a couple of the great wine-producing chateaus with that kind of coin. And then some.
However the real test of interest has to come from the racing itself and although the race in Austin was pretty straightforward with Sebastian Vettel taking the win, Mark Webber second and Roman Grosjean finishing third, with no real drama, the USGP still delivered F1 excitement. All of my friends were impressed with F1, the racing and all of its complexities, from the pit stops to the team strategies.
I would not go so far as to say I have convinced my friends to sell all of their belongings and to join my F1 ashram, or that I will be able to file for a non-taxable church status ala L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology any time soon, but Formula 1 and I did make a meaningfully impression and hopefully a few new converts to this great sport. If not then there is always the caviar and champagne to make sure they show up next time. 😉
-jp- (and a little brain washing never hurt anyone)