For the first time, the European Grand Prix was held in Baku, Azerbaijan. Known as the ‘Land of Fire’, I was excited for the world to be introduced to a city that’s steeped in history and culture. A city where the East and West fuse together seamlessly.
With a new circuit to contend with, which pushed drivers, the European GP sure tested my patience as I’m sure it did with the drivers. A lot of work has gone into this particular circuit with Ricciardo telling Sky Sports F1 ahead of the race that “The track feels as tight as it looks.”
“It’s cool to have some of these high-speed corners that are on the edge and of course you then have a long straight so you get a bit of a chance to breathe but pretty much all the corners keep you busy and keep you occupied.”
Though he didn’t have a good race, Lewis Hamilton had praised the new challenges the new track offered to drivers saying: “It is really bumpy down the straight and you can’t really see Turn One that well and it’s really hard, but that’s a part of racing.
“I had my heart in my mouth. It is a real challenge to be on the limit.”
I’ve loved cars for a long time and this adoration naturally transcends into Formula 1 so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to give a little more insight into what gets my adrenaline going when those lights go out.
It’s a sport like no other
A very common criticism Formula 1 gets is it’s not an actual sport. Most people see guys driving cars around a circuit and nothing more. I have news for you. You’re wrong. Let’s look at the definition of the word ‘sport’ first of all:
An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.
This definition alone applies to the whole concept of Formula 1. But in addition to the competition element, Formula 1 drivers are some of the most conditioned athletes you’ll find. Drivers need the stamina and endurance to withstand the challenges that Formula 1 cars produce. This means extreme heat found in the cockpit of the car and coping with speeds of more than 200mph as well as forces of more than 5G.
In order to be race ready, drivers need to ensure they have a combination of power, aerobic fitness and mental strength. This means cardiovascular training, building muscle in the right areas and training their brain to remain alert in those high pressured situations.
It has international appeal
Formula 1 is one of the most glamourous sports around – and one of the most expensive. But you have to appreciate the gateway it gives us to the world. The international nature of F1 means it’s inclusive of countries across a number of continents. From Brazil to Australia, it’s incredible to see how many people revel in the entertainment F1 provides. The inclusion of a new destination is enough to spark interest and get us talking. There are economic benefits to hosting a race too. A good example of this was the addition of the US GP back into the racing calendar in 2012. According to Smith Travel Research, hotels in Austin raked in $32mn over a five day period which ended on 18 November – the day the race took place.
Anything can happen
A lot of people feel that the most exciting part of a Formula 1 race is at the very start where collisions are likely and the race order is defined. This isn’t necessarily true as we’ve all seen drivers climb their way back up the leader board during a race. Challenging circuits can sometimes catch drivers out when you least expect it and delays in the pits can take us all by surprise – think Red Bull with Ricciardo in Monaco. Watching drivers lap for lap may not appeal to many but you never know what you might miss if you walk away, which is why popcorn is always by my side in abundance.
The interactive and accessible nature
Technology plays a big part in every race. You’re given access like no other such as riding on board with drivers, listening to them communicate with their team, an aerial view of the pits – I could go on. Even before a race starts, you’re given the walk through by commentators who show us all the final prep and build up the anticipation and excitement as the drivers line up on the grid. I can imagine the adrenaline you experience being at an actual race, but at the same time, there’s something about the way Formula 1 is broadcasted that makes me think that viewers at home get a slightly better deal with their unparalleled access before, during and after a race. Of course I’d never turn down the chance for an all access granted trip!
My kind of men…
I know a lot of you would have been waiting for me to mention my undying love for Lewis Hamilton but yes, I have no shame in admitting that I am besotted by the guy! There is something that is indescribably attractive about him and Formula 1 drivers in general. Maybe it’s knowing what it takes to be a competing driver or the fact that they know how to handle a fast car that gets me excited and giddy. Either way if I’m not Mrs Hamilton in the future, then my eventual hubby has a lot to live up to 😛