Samir Parikh / Blog

Originally published on 25 October 2021

Anyone who follows me on Mastodon knows that I am a fan of Formula 1 racing. I enjoy the competition, the science and technology behind the cars, the personalities, politics and the global nature of the sport. It’s amazing that the FIA can organize the logistics of a spectacle that, in 2021, will visit 20 countries. Some of my friends have been asking how to get into the sport so I thought I’d document my recommendations.

  1. Like many newcomers to the sport, I was indoctrinated via the Netflix series Drive to Survive which has been chronicling the sport since the 2018 season. The series gives a good overview of the teams, the drivers and off the track stories, though some critics argue that the series’ editors take excessive liberties to over dramatize some of the events. Either way, I think it provides a really good introduction to the sport in an entertaining way and lets you get into it on your own schedule. I don’t think you need to start watching it from the first season but it does help set the stage for future developments.

  2. Start taping and watching the races. There are only five more races left in the 2021 season but with a heated battle between the top two drivers for the Driver’s Championship, there’s no better time to start following the sport than now. For U.S.-based fans, the races typically start early in the mornings on Sunday since most of the races have been in Europe, the Middle East and Asia (though the tail end of the season moves to the Western Hemisphere). Because most races last less than two hours, it’s nice to be able to watch the action before you get on with your day. Don’t feel pressured that you have to watch it the whole way through. Definitely watch the beginning and end of the race but over time, you’ll start to understand some of the mid-field battles that occur over the course of a race and get a feeling for some of the strategies teams employ which make the middle of the races more compelling.

  3. Start taping and watching the qualifying sessions. As you get sucked into the races, you’ll start to wonder how the sport forms the starting grid and how the driver on pole position got there. That’s where the Saturday qualifying sessions come in. Except for a few rounds this year where the FIA introduced sprint qualifying trials, the starting grid for most races is determined by how well drivers do during three rounds of qualifying on Saturday. Watching these sessions gives you a better understanding of the track layout and some of the challenges teams will face during the race on Sunday. If, after watching all the action on Saturday, you still don’t feel satiated, you can also watch the Free Practice sessions that usually occur on the Fridays and Saturdays of race week.

  4. Follow Formula 1 on social media and on podcasts. If you really get into F1, you’ll start to crave the updates, analysis and happenings when races aren’t run, especially since there can be a week or two between races. Rest assured, Formula 1, the teams and the drivers are all present on social media platforms like Twitter. There is also a large continent of punditry available for consumption via your headpohones if you are into podcasts. A few of my favorites include F1 Nation, F1: Chequered Flag, Missed Apex F1 Podcast, and F1: Beyond the Grid. My favorite though, has to be Parc it in My Fermé, though it is definitely to be marked as NSFW. Finally, despite what you may hear about Reddit, I would encourage anyone interested in Formula 1 to check out r/formula1 which is where I like to lurk.

I hope these steps help you get into the sport and that you find it as entertaining as I do. Hit me up if you’d like to chat or learn more!