F1- The Talk of the Town🏎️

by Yash Kaviya

Verstappen! Does that ring a bell? No?

Hamilton? Surely this does!

F1? Now you know what we are talking about!

This past week one topic was inescapable (along with Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif’s wedding) it was Formula 1. For a lot of people F1 is synonymous with car racing, for a select few it was a childhood emotion associated with the F1 video game, and for some who knew F1 was Formula One, it was the formula that was used to create Power Puff Girls.

To get all those innocent confusions out of the way, F1 or Formula 1 is an international auto-racing sport to put it in the shortest way possible. The world’s top 20 drivers compete in various races (grand prix) around the world and a champion is declared on the completion of the season. Interestingly F1 is one of those rare sports where along with the skill of the person, a lot depends on the technology of the car. However skilled a driver might be, if his racecar isn’t up to the mark, he won’t win. This unique blend of technology and human perseverance makes F1 an exhilarating and breathtaking sport. Figuratively and literally!

Global phenomenon

Races happen across the world, have drivers from across the world and are viewed all over. But there has been a recent boom in the viewership numbers, and using ‘boom’ is being modest about it. The viewership for the final race of 2021 was well over 50 million as people tuned in record numbers to watch Ham and Max fight it out. But why this sudden interest? Was this season that interesting?

Well, yes, it was one of the most interesting seasons of F1 in a long time with the winner being decided in the last race. No the last lap, no the last 10 seconds, yes it was that close. 

Netflix, chill and the Indian Connection?

Our binge buddy – Netflix, played a part too. Formula 1: Drive to Survive – is a series by Netflix that talks about the scenes and the money behind F1. And because it is Netflix, the spice, the attention to detail and storytelling, grabbed eyeballs which also made people watch the real thing- The F1.

In India, there was a record increase in viewership too, with Star Sports reporting figures that no one would have expected for a sport like F1. Indians are hooked on F1, some loyalists and some new fans. F1 has had an Indian connection in the past. Force India was a team that was an active participant in F1. It was owned by none other than, the King of Good times, Vijay Mallya. Things took a turn for the worse and debts kept mounting along with allegations of him using the bank and taxpayer’s money for his lavish interests. The team was eventually bought off Vijay and then became “Aston Martin ”.

There has been Indian representation on the driver side too, with Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok.

And to round it up, we even have one of our own Racing tracks near Delhi, in Noida- The Buddh International Circuit. Which saw 4 races on it, with Sebastian Vettel winning it all 4 times. Making him one of the most popular F1 drivers in India. Even after all this, why haven’t we seen a race in India for over 8 years? Taxes? Yes. The circuit was subject to local taxes as well as national customs duties. The sport was considered to be entertainment instead of a sport, ironical, right. This led to an increased taxation and subsequent negation of the sport. Caught in bureaucratic red tape and ‘Kafkaesque’ government nightmares, F1 in India came to an end.

There surely has been increasing popularity for F1 in India. We might see those mean machines come back to India and see cars racing at over 250 kmph. Just a blink and you might actually miss it.

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