Written by Sam Serag, Edited by Sasha Macmillen
Since the 13th of May 1950, people have loved to see the pinnacle of automobile engineering, design, and driving come together for two hours of intense racing. Filled with screaming engines, screaming fans, and screaming tires. There is just something about watching cars masterfully made and driven that ignites something indescribable yet so recognisable. However, despite this overwhelming passion one feels for F1, as well as motorsport and cars in general, we seem to be in the minority. Many scoff at motorsport saying it’s just cars driving in circles and there’s nothing interesting about it. As the title of my article may have given this away, I think I have a reason as to why this is. Us. A controversial thing to say, but I truly believe that the F1 fanbase is a massive reason as to why people just don’t take interest in the sport.
The F1 fan base has a toxicity problem. Now maybe this is not as serious as in other sports, but it is a fact. After the incredibly controversial Abu Dhabi finale of 2021, Nicholas Latifi revealed that he had received death threats from F1 fans online. This is the type of abuse fans give to their “heroes''. Imagine what would happen if, godforbid, a new F1 fan had a different opinion. This leaves no wonder as to why people just aren’t interested in F1
F1 also has an image problem, although this obviously has less - if anything - to do with the F1 fan base, yet it remains undeniable. Despite efforts by F1, the question of whether or not the sport is diverse both on the track and off is still up for debate. For example, there is yet to be a female driver signed as a main driver. As well as currently there only being one black driver. Outside the track, F1 fans still tend to be associated with the Jeremy Clarkson-type, pompous, white, European folk, with both time and money to burn.
Both the issues above will annoy even the most flimsy of F1 fans, however if we are to look outside the paddock for one second, I believe my views and reality align. It is a hard pill to swallow, no doubt. But I think the simple solution is to be more open. More open to different opinions, more open to different people, and more open to mistakes. With this in mind, my hope is to watch F1 continue to grow.