Anyone who says Formula 1 is boring doesn’t watch it!

I know I know. It’s boring, it doesn’t sound, the 1.6-liter four-cylinder is useless, the drivers are prima donnas, the tracks are too wide and too narrow, there are no known names, they only exceed not at all and Moto GP is clearly better. Do you have anything else there?

I agree that the long-term dominance of Mercedes has not helped the drama of Formula 1. On the contrary. Lewis Hamilton, no doubt a great rider, didn’t benefit him either, but what we’re talking about is that the world wants riders with killer instincts and not someone in pink pajamas on a scooter. Mercedes have won the championship in a row since 2014, and when Hamilton did not win in 2016, but his colleague Nico Rosberg, it caused a bit of a stir, but then gray and boredom again. At least from the outside, it looked like that.

But then, in 2017, the whole F1 circus was bought by huge media company Liberty Media and everything started to change. Of course, at first it was a bit like walking an elephant in China, the former owner of the fastest empire, Bernie Eccleston, could not forgive himself for kicking: “I I’ve never seen a step from them that makes sense. Maybe they’re doing it all wrong.” their income goes down.

But then it turned out that it wouldn’t be so bad… Formula 1 races started to be broadcast not only on pay-TV channels, but also on the Internet on the F1 TV Pro platform, which is a service of Formula 1 itself. phone, tablet, computer or television, you can follow training, qualifying and the race, you can replay everything, you not only have insider comments, but also radio communications, data or on-board images of all cars, you can be a director yourself.

Most importantly, Liberty Media negotiated with Netflix and allowed it to shoot behind the scenes. The Drive to Survive show was created, which showed much more than an hour and a half of racing. Riders in overalls and helmets suddenly have names, faces and emotions, you see what happens behind the scenes, you witness team battles, political and economic decisions, you perceive bosses, the development of new cars and you start to suspect that tactic is more than just the right time to change tires.

Shortly after premiering in 2019, the Drive to Survive series became one of Netflix’s most popular shows within weeks, and you’ll be breathing in all ten episodes like a raspberry. It’s not so much a documentary as a reality show, but when the car stops during the race and the driver cuts the engine, you perceive that as death. And if there is really a serious accident or when you see the emotion then the determination in the face of a rider who has definitely come to understand that the sponsor’s money is more than his talent. Netflix succeeded in making Formula 1 a real drama, and thanks to that, fans returned to television. And beware, Liberty Media is getting paid by Netflix…

Most likely you are one of those who returned to F1 precisely because of the series. In 2020, we saw a season truncated by the coronavirus, but quite exciting, spiced up by Romain Grosjean’s horrific accident in Bahrain. And then last year became unforgettable. Not only was there a fight in the middle of the pack, but there was also a fight for the title, it was Red Bull vs. Mercedes, Verstappen Hamilton. Fights on the track, behind the scenes despite the media, crashes, tactics and then the decision on the title on the last lap of the last race. Even those who don’t follow the queen of motorsport knew something was up.

So this year? Sin ! We only have two races behind us, but it’s already clear that everything is different. New cars, new rules. Fans as well as drivers and teams (and no doubt Liberty Media and the FIA ​​itself) were waiting to see if overtaking really got easier, if there would be more fights and if the big players would lose their dominance. . And the result? Mercedes is worried and lacks speed, at Red Bull the first race did not finish a single single seat due to technical problems, Ferrari climbed incredibly, but also surprised Haas and Alfa Romeo.

But above all, it is no longer just about tactics, but about overtaking on the open track. From the opening race in Bahrain, after the first tire change, the spectators experienced four rounds of a long duel, in which Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Max Verstappen (Red Bull) shared first place. “Fantastic battle. When Max first passed Charles it was relatively aggressive. But Charles immediately returned it with another aggressive pass. We certainly wouldn’t see that with Lewis Hamilton. It was obvious how they “put on their blood, but fairly. An incredible moment that he lifted from his seats,” commented Tomáš Enge, the only Czech driver in F1. And spectators experienced similar moments in the following race, where the two drivers fought lap by lap, but also with their heads.

Photo: Liberty Media

Verstappen and Leclerc have been fighting together since the karting, but they both speak to each other with respect and dignity. Will it be the same at the end of the season?

To anyone now yearning to say that it’s nice but formula can still be driven by a trained monkey and it’s not just about driver skill anymore, I would like to remind you that F1 racing lasts an hour and a half, that the monopostos travel at speeds well above 300 km/h, in bends they reach an overload of 5 G and that in Jeddah, on the urban circuits between the barriers, the average speed per bicycle was over 250 km/h. If you want to imagine it, I’ll use the words of team engineer Mirek Budík, who I myself raced with for several years. “Imagine being locked in a juicer for an hour and a half, and you’re counting complicated math examples. Are you short? So there’s twenty of you in that juicer and you still have to talk to the guy on the radio, who tells you asks for current results and water temperature.”

In other words, driving Formula 1 is an extremely difficult thing, I only did five laps there and I couldn’t believe how difficult it was not only mentally but also physically. The tracks have hills, turns, bullies and barriers. Once it’s dry, the second time it rains, there’s racing on city streets, like in Monaco, there’s racing on technical tracks like Silverstone, there’s racing in night, but there are also races on desert tracks. Crashes aren’t as frequent as they could have been and luckily they don’t die as much, but when they do they run at high speeds and look scary.

Thanks to Netflix, F1 TV Pro and TV commentators, viewers are also beginning to perceive tactical battles behind the scenes, deciding when and what to change tyres, realizing the race itself is just the tip of the iceberg. … And suddenly the whole circus happens for them much more exciting than ever.

I’m not forcing you to become a Formula 1 fan, I don’t like football either, I just wanted to expand on the words of the title: “Whoever says Formula 1 is boring doesn’t watch it!”

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