After a childhood of following and supporting Formula One, and inevitably seeing my original favourite drivers such as Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert retire from the sport, what is it that keeps F1 fresh for me? I’ve never had much of a scientific brain, so when it comes to innovation and new technology in the sport, I’d often pass comment on it and leave that to the experts.
What I get excited about is new talent. I love to hear who the next up and coming racer is, then tracking their progress through the junior and feeder categories in the hope that they will get their change in a Formula One car. One of the first features I search for in any latest issue of F1 Racing Magazine is ‘This Boy Can Drive’, to see who the editors and columnists rate so highly for the future. An even bigger spotlight is put on these young hopefuls with the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, although to see these drivers for yourselves there is never any substitute for going to your local circuit to watch some British F3 or BRDC Formula 4. Going to watch these events live help keep championships like these going, so we can ensure that young prospects are able to get the opportunities they deserve to showcase their talents to a wider audience and progress to the next step in the ladder.
Because after our current favourites either leave or retire from Formula One, what else is there? New drivers are the lifeblood of the sport, and it saddens me when I hear of the financial troubles that some of the smaller F1 teams continue to face, forcing them to accept ‘pay drivers’ that essentially have a leg up on the rest of the competition, or teams going out of business altogether like HRT in 2012.