OllieF1
Driver & Team Support

Driver & Team Support

Group Photo - 2007 Australian Grand PrixDo you support any one driver or team, any particular nationality, or do you watch Formula One for other reasons? This question often makes me think, because I don’t believe I really do support a driver. Nor do I support any particular team. I have often tried, especially so since starting to write BlogF1. I find that driver fan sites are very interesting to read because the passion of the author really shines through in their writing, and I often think that this is sometimes lacking in me.

But then, after further thought, I realise that I actually watch Formula One for the racing, technical aspect, and because it is probably one of very few sports I can relate to. I enjoy seeing overtaking, but it doesn’t matter who the drivers are, or what team they drive for. I just want to see decent racing.

Formula One, it seems, is quite a different beast to football when it comes to fans and their allegiances. If you said you were a footie fan, you would immediately be asked which team you support, how many times you have been to matches and no doubt, you’d reminisce of the good old days when the team were doing well. But with Formula One, I get the impression I am not alone in not following any particular driver or squad. Well, aside from possibly one, ahem.

So come on, speak up. Do you support a driver, and if so who and why? Do you find yourself crying when Williams fail to score points again (reminiscing of old times as you sob), or do you always cheer the winner, regardless of who it is or how they got there?

Formula One, F1, Fans

Oliver White

10 comments

  • I have always been a Schumi fan. Now, I like Massa. I base my support based on the personality of a driver. If a driver is arrogant, like Alonso, then I will dislike him. Hamilton is quite a nice guy, but it seems that all this success is making him a bit like Alonso. I know Schumi had his temper and did some stupid stuff, but he was a fighter and always delivered a good show.

  • When I started watching F1 with any real interest, the whole Hill/Schumacher thing was just starting – mainly due to the fact I thought he was a better driver I actually wanted Schumi to come out on top. The British press was full of Hill hype, which was another thing that put me off him a bit – I’ve got a feeling that if I started watching F1 now then that’s what would put me off Hamilton a bit.

    Since 1994 though, I’ve supported Coulthard through thick and thin (more thin than thick unfortunately!) at first because he is from my neck of the woods, but latterly because he seems a genuinely nice bloke and a good driver to boot. It’s nice to see a driver who comes across well on TV and seems a bit more intelligent than the others – and also has a genuine interest in the sport, as opposed to someone like Kimi for example.

    Us Scots do tend to look after our own so I was pleased when McNish got a drive, but he didn’t really get a fair crack of the whip at Toyota which was a shame.

    These days it’s very rare for DC to be challenging up at the front so I’m pleased when the guy who deserved to win does win – and even more pleased when there’s a good race and F1 is the big winner. Unfortunately, that’s a rarity these days too!

  • I think I’m like you Oliver, more a fan of the spectacle than a particular driver or team.

    I was a Schumacher/Ferrari fan for a long time, but their dominance from 2000-4 years actually ended up putting me off – I found myself rooting for the underdogs, whoever they may be, more and more.

    Nowadays, I watch it for the racing, up and down the field, and technical aspects of the sport. If I had to root for a team it’d be Honda – purely ‘cos they’ve such a mountain to climb. As for a driver, I really don’t know; probably Kimi – I always thought he was talented and I like his ragged edge driving style, but mainly for his legendary quip to Martin Brundle during Schumi’s presentation last year!

    But I guess at the end of the day, I follow the sport far more than any team or driver…

  • I remember waking up at 8am on sundays (I live in America) and started watching F1 at the beginning of the Schumacher era (1994), seeing that man win races just blew my mind and I was hooked. I’ve been a Schumi fan ever since. Now that he’s retired, I stuck with Ferrari as my team. Which is good because Massa got my sympathy last year, and I was always close to Kimi, but sadly he was in a team I hate (McLaren). The move to Ferrari couldn’t be better.

    So as far as your question is, I’m a fan of a driver, he retired, now I’m a fan of a team.

  • OK, this one could take a while…

    When I started watching Formula 1 back in France 1993, I supported Damon Hill. I never figured out what made me start to support him, but I thought he was a good driver and a decent man. Certainly with the ups and downs in his career, supporting him was a lot of fun! I can sympathise with Craig not liking the press hype; there were a couple of times, particularly in 1994, when I thought “Why can’t these people shut up and let Damon and Michael race?”.

    It was only in 1996 when Dad managed to explain to me that it’s OK to support more than one driver at a time, or indeed a team. I suspect this is why I never supported Michael Schumacher. However, this revelation led to me supporting the other British drivers as well, and appreciating their differences – Coulthard’s common sense, Herbert’s charm and permanent bad luck, Button’s articulate driving style…

    As it happens, I’m also keen on Giancarlo Fisichella. The way he handled the 2001 Benneton started it, and his ability to wring out good performances from the two rather recalcitrant Jordan chassis he ended up driving after that led to me continuing to support Fisi even after he left Jordan.

    My biggest support, though, is for Jordan/Midland/Spyker. I liked the way it dealt with people (ironic, as Damon and the Jordan team did not quite gel together in the end), its “different” ambience and the sheer determination within the outfit to break the stranglehold of the big teams. Nethertheless, it still took me completely by surprise when I started cheering “Come on Ralf!” in the middle of the Spanish GP of 1998. Even two buyouts have failed to budge my good opinion of the team – most of the Spyker staff were Jordan staff at some stage or another, and they’re still “different” and determined.

    Returning to the questions, Ollie, I currently support five drivers and a team. I get a bit sad (but don’t cry) when Williams have a bad season, even though I don’t support them, because I remember all the times Jordan struggled and feel sympathetic towards any team that’s fallen on hard times (unless it’s Toro Rosso). The winner of the race gets relatively little attention, unless something odd happens to them – but I’m happy when people who have driven honourably do well. After all, there wouldn’t be much point in supporting anyone if they didn’t have decent opposition…

  • I was and am a HUGE, HUGE Michael Schumacher fan. I always had Kimi Räikkönen 2nd. But now with Michael out of the sport, it’s Räikkönen and Massa at No. 1 and Hamilton… I only like him coz he’s beating the living daylights outta Alonso. And I LOVE FERRARI and everything to do with them…

  • I have a strange list of drivers I’ve supported over the years, probably because I’m just awkward. During the Jim Clark era, I thought John Surtees was just as good, perhaps even better. He was also the cause of my dislike for Ferrari that has never wavered through the years, although it’s stronger at some times than others. When John left the Italian team after an argument with il Commendatore, that was enough for me.

    After that I had no particular favourite, although I rooted for Chris Amon, knowing that something would always go wrong to prevent him winning. He was very, very quick and did wonders in the uncompetitive Ensign right at the end of his career.

    Then there was a gap until Piquet came along. The way he out-performed Lauda in the Brabham team and eventually forced him into retiring in a huff was just so great, I couldn’t help liking the the guy. Then he had that tremendous tussle for the championship in 1980 with Alan Jones, losing out to a bit of gamesmanship in the second last race – when your guy gets nerfed, it doubles your support for him. I also liked the Brabham team at the time because their cars were so pretty.

    Since then I don’t think I’ve had any particular favourite, not even the great Senna. Ayrton never needed any help from me anyway. If forced to pick a team now, it would have to be BMW, again because they have the prettiest car.

    I picked up on Scott Speed because I did a study of him as a sort of tribute to the hospitality of the Americans towards me. Once I’d realised how quickly he was improving, he won my support regardless of his nationality and I defend his abilities whenever I hear him derided (you may have noticed this ;)). I still keep feelers out on the net waiting to hear what his plans for the future are.

  • Hmmm, tough one. Started watching Formula One in 1994. My first race was Imola that year. Tends to stick in my mind…

    1994-1999: Damon Hill. British driver, nice guy. Certainly didn’t deserve some of the flack he got from some quarters.

    1994-now: Williams. A real passionate team, there to race and will have another heyday. Eventually…

    As for drivers since 1999, you’ve made me think. I’ve never been a fan of Michael Schumacher, simply because his “do anything to win” attitude jars with me. Any respect I had for his achievements disappeared completely in Monaco last year. On reflection, I don’t think I support a driver as such anymore.

    I do watch it for the racing, precious little that there is, and also enjoy the technological aspect of it. I like being the person in my circle of friends who can explain what’s going on with cars and what’s happening in races. Gives me a sense of power!

  • Started watching Formula One in 1994. My first race was Imola that year. {Thomas Pitts – previous post}

    Although I started watching F1 at France 1993, San Marino 1994 was the first time I saw a race start (long story). If I hadn’t spent half the race wondering what the thing starting with “Q” was, I might not have taken me until the middle of 1995 to understand the significance of the race…

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