Marbles ~ Laura Marieee: 1-06-2010

Is it just me, or has this week been slow for F1 news? Apart from Jenson Button’s contract with McLaren beginning, Robert Kubica being confirmed as a dead cert for Renault, and Flavio Briatore having his lifetime ban from motorsport lifted, there hasn’t been much to write home about. I mentioned this to a member of my family earlier today, who, quite the opposite of me, knows nothing about F1 (in fact she thought Jenson was actually called Jason Button!), and she quite rightly said, “It’s the new year, it’s not the F1 season, that’s why there’s not much news…” Strictly speaking, this is not really the case, the F1 news machine in recent weeks has been lively with all sorts of stories, but it does seem a bit quiet. So this week for Marbles I thought I would think outside the box a bit, as it were, and instead of talking about something news related, give a run down of the things I think we as F1 fans take for granted when the season is in full swing, that makes us end up missing it during the off-season… Last week I spoke about what’s to come between now and Bahrain, this week I’ll look at it slightly differently, how actually there is nothing better than the racing, no matter how much news F1 throws at us during the winter months, and how sometimes we can take the racing for granted…

Marbles

One thing about F1 is that, although between November and March there is no racing, when it’s on, the season seems to be on for quite a while. When you think about it, seven months is a long time to follow a sport, particularly when you follow a specific driver who you just want to see wrap up the title with rounds to go, and towards the end of the season it is easy enough to wish the last few races away in the hope that at the end of it all, your man will be the champion. I certainly wanted this in both 2007 and 2008 when Hamilton was a contender for the title, and many of the people I follow on Twitter were wishing away the last few races of last season to see Jenson crowned champion sooner rather than later. Wishing away the tail end of a season is something that when it eventually does finish, you end up wishing you didn’t.

The first two weeks of the off-season pass like normal, but by the end of the second weekend when there hasn’t been a race you start to feel a bit lost. It’s bad enough when F1 takes its summer break and you have two F1-free weekends and haven’t a clue what to do. The fact that it is on, and the fact that you have got sucked in and are keen to see your driver take the title sooner rather than later, can often mean you forget about how you feel when it is no longer on. Let’s face it, with the internet these days, even during the off-season you can still be connected to the sport, but it isn’t the same as watching it. Although the politics of F1 can often resemble a soap opera, it is just a sport and it is all about the racing, so even though we get to hear about the goings on between seasons- who’s fastest in testing, who’s been confirmed at this team or that- nothing beats actual racing.

Another way that we sometimes take F1 for granted is during some of the ‘duller’ races. During last year’s European Grand Prix in Valencia, many fans on Twitter were tweeting that they were a bit bored of the racing. The simple answer to this all boiled down to the lack of overtaking. If you were a Barrichello fan, or indeed a Hamilton fan, you probably, like me, rather enjoyed the race, (Hamilton fans up until the final round of pitstops at least). But when there is no on-track passing and the driver you are supporting is further down the field than you had hoped, you often comment on how boring it is. But at the end of the season, you often look back and wish you’d savoured it a bit longer.

After seven months and nearing twenty different races, you can often feel that time has slipped by without you even really realising it. The remaining five months of the year often seem slower, and even though you can stay connected to the sport, even the anticipation of news isn’t the same as holding your breath at the start of the race. The best F1 news is on the track, and in the five months without racing, it is easy to feel lost without it. All I can say is that now the new year is out of the way, the excitement is certainly building up to what could be one of the most thrilling year’s racing F1 has seen in a long time… 2008 world champion vs. 2009 world champion at McLaren. Them vs. Schumacher… I doubt anyone will be taking that for granted this year…

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