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Formula 1: Shaping an entire generation of young kids

Author takes reflects back to the 1970s for a quick view on how formula 1 influenced an entire generation of Brazilian youngsters.

I have been a fan of race cars and everything related to car competition since I was a young boy. Being brought up in Brazil in the early 70s meant that someone in your family, if not your entire family, was a fanatic, a hard core fan of race cars, especially Formula 1. And my family was no different. My father was literally obsessed, as a good boy I wanted to follow him.

I grew up being exposed to names such as Carlos Pace, Emerson Fitipaldi, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna. These are huge names in the Brazilian race car world. These guys were and still are giants because of their accomplishments, championships and prestige.

I remember that when I was old enough to understand they were all Brazilians like me, great race car drivers driving their machines in the most famous circuits around the globe, I felt a great deal of pride.

Being a Formula 1 aficionado at that era meant that every other weekend, during the Formula 1 season, was an event. The holiday would start with the Friday tests. Teams, cars and drivers would have their runs to fine tune and fix any issues within the cars before the qualifying stage. Then on Saturday the emotions would rise as the dance for the best positions in the grid line up would start. The qualifying would bring almost the same level of excitement as on the day of the race.

Let's stop for a moment here, you need to remember that at that time there wasn't the internet where you could easily and quickly search up the results. You needed to watch the events on the TV or follow the progression of the results by radio. Anxiety, joy, disappointment and fun was guaranteed.

All right, back to the weekend schedule. On Sundays, the day of the race, my house, my block, my neighborhood, my town, the entire country, would pause all non-essential activities to watch, or to listen to, the race.

What I liked about watching Formula 1 was that the emotions weren’t building up as the race progressed, as it happens when you watch a soccer or basketball game.

When the race was on, the first few seconds after the cars went from completely stopped to full throttle all trying to hit the first curve at the same time, your adrenaline levels were already pushed to the limits. Like a roller coaster the excitement would then go up and down for the next one a hour and half as the battle for positions would go on and on.

In the end, regardless of the final result of the competition, one thing was guaranteed, the fun, the excitement, the frustration, the joy and the sadness were all part of the event, almost as a theatrical experience in which you felt like a live participant, even being so far away from the real event on the other side of the TV or through the radio wavelengths.


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