Every once in a while sometimes you need to write about sports two days in a row. And sometimes day 2 is a sport that practically nobody gives a damn about except the writer. So, it goes. At any rate, Friday kicks of the 2006 Formula 1 Season. Something strange has happened. I am more excited about this than NCAA Basketball, than Baseball Spring Training. Possibly the only thing that comes close to my excitement about Formula 1, is the upcoming Columbus Crew season. The fine people at the FIA who put on these races even decided to kick it off on my birthday weekend. Thanks guys!
Two years ago, I was flipping through the channells and caught the USGP on Speed TV. I knew my buddy Otto was at the race, so I watched. Somehow I was hooked. I watched the remainder of the season, getting up at 5am or 6 am to watch the races. Taping qualifying. Taping Practices. Last season was the first year that I followed it from beginning to end. I chose that I would spport the Renault team and drivers. My scientific reason for choosing these guys was remembering their blistering starts at the end of the 2004 season. Renault cars could be 6-7 on the grid, and move up 3-5 slots before Turn 1. I remember being awestruck by that. I said Besides that I knew they had a fantastic young driver, Fernando Alonso, and another very experinced and highly regarded driver in Giancarlo Fisichella. Alonso wound up winning the Drivers Championship. Rennault scored the most points as a team and Fisi finished a slightly disapointing fifth. Not bad for a first full season as a fan. It was quite nice to see teams I root for win, and a welcome change for a lifetime Philadelphia sports fan. And let the record show, that my Renault fanship was not completely and entirely bandwagon jumping as Ferrari had dominated the sport for the previous decade or so.
So that brings us to 2006. Great previews of the weekend and season can be found here at Grandprix.com and here at Speedtv.com. The Official Formula 1 Website also has great coverage leading into the weekend.
At the end of the GrandPrix.com preview is this sentance, "The biggest question of all is whether or not F1 will be exciting in 2006. And for those who ask that question there is only one answer: F1 is always exciting. And those who think otherwise don't really get it." It sounds snobby, but thats how I feel coming into the season. F1 is the pinacle of motorsport technology. Add into that the international intrigue and passion, and a ton of politics and behind the scenes manuevering and there is always something exciting going on in the F1 season.
Last year, my friend Eric got hooked. He wound up flying out here for the USGP. The race that was a complete scam. We saw only 6 cars race out of twenty. He's coming back for the race this year. We are attempting to hook our friend Ray as well this season, and don't see it being that hard of a battle. More often than not those who give the sport a chance are hooked. It all starts 6am Friday with the first practice in Bahrain. I will be up with a full pot of coffee. I can't wait.