It also makes me realize why I love Formula One, why I’ve woken up at 2 a.m. on Sunday to watch the cars zig zag during the formation lap, waiting for the red lights to go off.
I’ve always watched Formula One because it’s what I grew up with.
Sports fans here grow up with football, baseball, basketball or even hockey. Maybe they remember flipping between football games every Sunday or attending baseball games with the family.
For me it was Formula One. Yes, football was a staple in my household every week, but every other week my dad and brother always had the television tuned into the race, and the roaring engines echoed around my house, reaching my ears regardless of where I was.
When I was younger I would traverse in and out of the family room while they were watching, sometimes staying sometimes going. The most I came in contact with F1 came from the video games I played with my brother.
My dad’s company used to sponsor McLaren-Mercedes so, even when I wasn’t so much into F1, I always rooted for them. And I still remember watching the drivers they had back then, especially Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya.
My somewhat uninterested visits continued until 2004, when I finally followed the path set down by my dad and brother. At that time Michael Schumacher was king, and Montoya and Raikkonen both raced for McLaren-Mercedes silver.
Since then I’ve kept a close eye on F1, even though the major pieces have faded away. A few of the drivers I watched race as a child are still there, but I’ve never found it more interesting. I know it’s because I grew up watching Formula One.
There’s history there, history I’ve been watching for as long as I can remember. Even now, even though I’ve long since cut fan ties with McLaren, that shiny silver still reminds me of legend Mika Hakkinen and his one-time teammate David Coulthard.
Seeing Schumacher on the grid, no matter in what car, brings memories of Ferrari’s dominance to the picture, a team I was raised to dislike due to its rivalry with McLaren-Mercedes.
Whether it be Belgium’s historical circuit at Spa or Monaco’s famed dangerous street track there’s history hiding in many pockets in F1. It just depends on where you look.
I flip on the TV to see relative newcomers like Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton battle each other with new tires and new rules, but it’s not hard to imagine legendary drivers like Ayrton Senna pushing the McLaren-Mercedes forward.
This isn’t an explanation I can give most people to convince them to follow the sport, but it’s the reason why I can still watch.
It’s been eight years since Schumacher, the greatest driver of my childhood, last won. Since then Kimi Raikkonen, my favorite driver, won a world title with Ferrari, left the sport and started rallying before returning with Lotus for this season’s start.
Yet through of all it I kept watching. I’m still watching, even with the engines becoming less powerful yearly, threatening the signature noise of Formula One.
Note: This picture was taken by my brother at the 2006 Canadian Grand Prix