You know, I’ve been watching Formula One for a very long time. Since I can remember, really. I started watching F1 with my Dad when I was less than knee high to a brick. Schumacher!, Lauda!, Senna!, Prost!, Patrese!, Alesi!, Hunt!, and so many more iconic names were being exclaimed by good old Murray Walker. It was the best!
Nico Rosberg retired from Formula One immediately after winning his damn hard fought for then 2016 World Championship title. As a parent of a pretty young kid who was born under the hashtag #F1baby, I’ll tell you it’s been a learning curve. Your priorities change when you become a parent.
But Rosberg’s retirement is hitting a nerve with me. It’s hitting a nerve that says F1 is not what it used to be. You give me back the exclamations and sheer excitement of pure, unobliterated, uninhibited racing any frikken day or minute of the week! I miss that stuff. And I bet today’s F1 drivers – who are around my parental age by the way – feel a lot of the same. That excitement business is gone these days. This despite the valiant efforts of the misers to bring said excitement back while filling their pockets.
Rosberg’s retirement brings up so many different emotions for me. I am torn though between the understanding that when you have a family priorities change, and then the feeling that these guys, these greatly exclaimed names, are no longer being allowed to just do what they love doing most. Racing their frikken hearts out. Don’t pass unless this guy’s moved this way, and don’t overtake if you’re hitting the brakes that way, and don’t drive a couple centimeters over this white line or there’ll be trouble, and let’s not even get into team orders. Multi-21 and move over XYZ is faster than you. And all the pressure of the media spotlight, analysing every little encounter on the track as we’ve now all been trained to do.
Can we not just let the best racing drivers in the world … drive. Let them race their flippen hearts out! And why are we giving them anything but the best equipment anyway? These are the best damn drivers in the world. Or that’s what I grew up believing, anyway. They have the best technology at their fingertips but Bernie and his Formula One management continues to inhibit and restrict in order to increase the spectacle. Their goal is to increase viewership – i.e dollars/pounds in their bank accounts. But I feel as though miserly, greedy decisions are clouding the goal for fans, and drivers.
None of exclaimed names back in the day would have backed away after winning a world championship. None of them. There’s no way they would have backed down. Back then the goal was to be the best racing driver of all time and that’s that. Get out on the track and do that. And they all loved it. Now? Now the pressure is insurmountable. I’ll be honest, I’m not a Rosberg fan. I’d be first to voice my opinion about his Sulky Sue faces when he’s losing, but the guy is a damn good racing driver. We’re losing one of the best drivers on our current grid. But as a parent, I get it. The pressure in today’s F1 is too much. You can’t just go out and drive to win.
Rosberg’s news really concerns me. Why are we limiting the limitless? Formula One is such a spectacular sport and I will never stop watching. But if drivers aren’t passionate anymore because of all this incredible pressure, and our drivers stop wanting to drive … we’re going to have nothing left to watch eventually.