How the digital world brought me closer to my favorite sport

I guess we all, or at least most of the people living in the Netherlands, have heard of formula 1 driver Max Verstappen. However, this is not how my story following the sport started.

A couple years back, I believe it was freshman year of high school, I first heard about motorsport. More specifically I overheard a conversation about formula 1. Curious as eleven year-old me was I looked it up when I got home. I went online and looked up the basics. This is when I found websites that streamed live races. I started watching races and quickly realized I loved it.

Moving forward to the COVID pandemic, I was at home a lot. I can hear you think ‘what does the pandemic have to do with formula 1?’. The pandemic caused me to spend a lot of time on my phone. Scrolling through Instagram and TikTok.  

Obviously I spent a lot of time on the internet looking for ways to entertain myself. That is how I found old press conferences from formula 1 on YouTube. One I particularly liked was a press conference from the 2019 British Grand Prix. One of the drivers (Daniel Ricciardo) asks a young driver (Lando Norris) if he has got pubes yet. The young driver bursts out laughing. This exact video encouraged me to go online and look up more about who the drivers were. I installed Twitter and went on following the teams on social media. I found out that there is way more to the sport than just the Sundays. By getting more interested in the teams I started looking up more about the cars. I learned more and more rules and how the technique works. If it hadn’t been for the countless amounts of information that can be found on the internet, I would not have loved the sport as much as I do now.

Besides learning about techniques, strategies and what not, I also found that it was rather easy to be up-to-date on what happens in the sport. By reading articles that get posted online I know more about the newest items. I now check various sources at least twice a day to see if any news has been published.

Social media also played a big part in my experience. I have met a lot of awesome people through the internet with the same passion for the sport as I have. Even when we live in other countries, on race weekends we text each other about every single aspect of what is happening on the screen. It also brought me closer to one of my childhood friends, who fell in love with the sport in the same way. We now get together on weekends and watch together on her TV.

My love for the sport also caused me to actually buy tickets and go see a race in real life. I met a bunch of amazing people during that weekend, which would’ve never happened if I did not follow the sport in the first place. Rain completely ruined our weekend and the race got cancelled. However, the experience is something I will never forget. I had the time of my life trying to get my car out of the mud we got stuck in, yelling at people who held up umbrella’s and singing songs with each other on the grand stands to forget we were soaking in the rain.

This is what the car looked like after getting it out.

It is the combination of social media, the live races on television and the online news sources that helped me get to know and experience the sport. I am really glad that I overheard that one conversation a couple of years ago.