Today I watched the Formula One grand prix of Mexico, which was a bit of a formality as far as determining the drivers championship for the year since Mercedes Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton secured his place as the champion in last weeks race in Austin, Texas. Many in America aren't even hip to Formula One racing but probably know of Lewis Hamilton because he has transcended the sport in recent years. He's pretty much like a global rock star. The first black man to win a Formula One drivers championship (he now has three), he's known for his jet setting across the globe, high profile friends list which includes A list movie stars and pro athletes and can even be seen attending all the hottest, high profile fashion shows.
I got interested in the sport about eight years ago and I've been hooked every since. When you have a sport that allows you to drive a finely tuned machine nearly two hundred miles per hour, competing against about twenty other competitors to prove who is the most clever and has the best reflexes and nerves around a track, then how can you not be interested. Not only is it the racing that attracted me, but the fact that these drivers compete and travel across the globe. How would you like to race in Germany at the Nuhrburgring, race in Dubai at night the following weekend, then race in Monaco during another weekend? Mind you, while you're doing all this traveling from one end of the globe to the next, lets talk about the million dollar endorsements and racing contracts that you can potentially have. Trust me, I would have no complaints with such a life. And as I alluded to before, this isn't a sport where you just get out there and see who's the fastest, it takes alot of training and focus. It takes lightening fast reflexes and an ability to not be unnerved.
I think I read somewhere that there are on average over one hundred different gear shifts easily that go on per lap in a Formula One race. And the technical ability that it takes to make a sharp turn going about eighty to one hundred miles an hour while preparing for another turn less than two seconds away is not a skill set that is easily found amongst many in the world. Not only do you need that skill set, but you also have to be conditioned very well as driving with such speed and taking turns at those velocities is needed to be successful because you put an incredible amount of G force on your body. What this means is that you really have to be in shape and prepared or you physically will not be able to hold up to a few laps much less a seventy odd lap race. The money, the speed, the traveling.....the life! Why it hasn't caught on in America to a much larger audience I have no idea.
But I do know that everyone who isn't up to speed with the sport is missing out big time. One day I would love to get behind the wheel of one of these cars and test my nerve and skill. That's one thing you can say about me, I'm always looking for new experiences and to do things alot of others may not have thought of. If I could do such a thing, I would have one hell of a story to tell in my old age. With any luck, maybe I could add driving a Formula One car to the list of stories I can share eventually.