Written by Emily Allen, Edited by Sean McKean
The exhilarating speeds around hairpin corners that generate goosebumps, the tight neck-and-neck races that create incomparable adrenaline, and heated rivalries that have fans shouting at the TV “GO, GO, GO” while flinging their hands in the air. To me, this is what the sport is about, this makes Formula One exciting to watch, which ultimately keeps me coming back at 4AM on Monday mornings because, unfortunately, I am an Australian fan.
But I’m here to drop a controversial opinion. You don't have to agree with me; however, I am a sensitive person, so leave me alone!
My opinion: Dominance is BORING!
There, I said it! Don't get me wrong; a dominating period creates history, legends, and the greatest of all time! But look, ask a fan what their favourite season is, I can bet you every dollar in a leprechaun's sack that most will likely say the 2021 season. Why? Because it was the season of heated competition, on the edge of your seat, anticipation every week. Who will win this race? Who will come out on top? Questions that sparked a great many heated debates. 2021 was THE season. The season that brought us Mercedes-AMG Petronas CEO and Team Principal Toto Wolff yelling “No, Michael NO! That was so not right!” The season where, ultimately, Lewis Hamilton passed the baton of dominance to Max Verstappen.
But now, where’s the competition these days?
Nowadays, no one really questions Verstappen’s ability to win races or Red Bull’s engineering skills, and now second and third places are becoming more and more predictable. We now look to the midfield for the entertainment we all yearn for, itch for. Surely at some point, World Champions get bored of having no competition.
However, not only is this kind of dominance boring to the average fan, but it’s also boring to the dominant driver themselves. When current World Championship leader Max Verstappen was asked, “Who is the biggest threat to your dominance?” he gave a brutally honest reply back: “I don't know,” he shrugged.
So the dominant driver is bored (I think), and the fans are bored. Is this just my not-so-silent plea, that the other teams step up their game? Yes, yes it is. I think we’re all just waiting for Verstappen to DNF so we can all itch that anticipation scratch and finally have that heart-pounding addictive adrenaline again. Deep down, quite deep down maybe, I think Verstappen may also want this. He’s driving away with the championship anyways, so let's have a bit of fun. No? Is it just me who thinks this?
Were we all not excited at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix when Charles Leclerc stole pole position when Lewis Hamilton slipped by Verstappen to gain his pole in Hungary? Did you hear the passionate roars of the crowds that could’ve shook stadiums, when McLaren driver Lando Norris led the Silverstone Grand Prix? And what about that qualifying session where Leclerc and Verstappen matched the same exact times? Didn’t you feel like you were buzzing with electricity? I know I was.
Yes, it seems all the greats were hated for their season of dominance, and now the same is happening for Max Verstappen. However, I am not speaking against Verstappen. He is an incredible driver with immaculate skills and deserves what he's reaping, but it’s just more thrilling to watch when there’s actual competition.
A reporter once said, “It was a fun race behind Verstappen.” I always think about this, especially at the Austrian Grand Prix, yes, yes it was a fun race behind Verstappen.
But I indeed can acknowledge that if it was my team who was so ruthlessly dominating, I definitely wouldn't be complaining. All we can do is hope that this reign of dominance ends relatively soon and laugh at related memes posted on the internet.