Formula one. A treat for connoisseurs and the epitome of boredom for the philistine. I started watching F1 when I was in middle school. It was a compulsive vent to relieve the frustration after being grounded for one month for coming ‘almost’ last in class.
The circuits those days were tamed by the likes of Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard and the mercurial Michael Schumacher. Many a times and oft, I have been pestered by those deprived of the taste, about why I found the sport so exciting. The same cars, the same repetitious circuits, the same drivers and, in those days, the same people in the podium. Why don’t you watch some cross-country races on the Discovery Channel? I had no answer for them.
It was as if the darkest of secrets. It was hardly about the speed, for speed is a personal sensation, can such an abstraction be captured on celluloid? Or if you say aerodynamics; well I can appreciate it after two sophomore courses on fluid dynamics. In school it hardly made any difference. Endurance? The philistines might say watching a complete F1 race is itself a test of endurance!
What left me breathless was the guile, the temerity to outbreak a faster car, the seamless negotiations of the hair pin chicanes: all so life like. The tussle at the first corner, where if the pole is not careful he can find himself in the back of the queue at the turn of a millisecond: all so much like life. F1 to me symbolises style, panache for the art of living in the fast lane. Of taking deathly risks and at the same time having the spirit to reach the chequered flag even if you are just a back marker. It is so close to the ground (pun unintended), if you get the drift!
F1, to me, is not about who reaches the chequered flag first. Its about who sets the asphalt on fire. As much about the means as about the end.
And yes. Ayrton Senna lives!