#1 Edited by locovoco (31 posts) -

With Drew announcing Alt+F1, I figure there will probably be a bunch of people interested in listening that might not have any knowledge or background in F1 or motorsports, so I thought I would try to put together some tips and advice that I have used to get friends into racing. Note: I am an American living in the US, so these are slightly more focused on that perspective, but if anybody from other parts of the world has pertinent advice please let me know and I'll try to add it in.

- If you have the time, try watching qualifying. Even if you fast-forward through Q1 and Q2, or leave it on in the background, the announcers get much more time to talk about the cars and the goings-on when they don't also have to focus on the play-by-play.

- Don't just focus on first place. Last year was worse than most, and this year should be better with the huge rule changes, but traditionally there's only a handful of possible winners. If you look a little farther back in the standings, there's usually some really great competition going on. Sauber, Force India, Mclaren, and Williams had some truly fantastic racing between them for the (somewhat backhanded) label of "best of the rest." Even if you write off the winner 5 laps in, there will be stiff racing somewhere in the pack.

- Never feel pressured to sit and watch a race start-to-finish. Races are long, and sometimes they can be kind of boring; you're not any less of a fan if you don't see every lap.

- Try watching other, shorter, more contentious series to try and get a handle on racing in general. I always tell people that F1 is the scotch of racing, so they should consider trying something a little more palatable at first. I like to recommend the Pirelli World Challenge series (they have 2013 races archived on their youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/WorldChallengeTV ), rally cross, MotoGP, and Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing. They all have shorter races that have tons of action in them and frequently some very interesting results. In a pinch, IRL is also pretty good when they're on road or street courses. Oval racing is a very different beast though, so only dip your toe there when you think you're ready. I do recommend it though.

- As with everything, immerse yourself in the background. I, personally, mostly read Racer Magazine ( http://www.racer.com/index.php/f1 ), who usually do a good job writing interesting and meaty articles without coming across as a tabloid. The stories and photography in their print magazine are absolutely amazing as well and I highly recommend it. However, they're just one drop in the bucket. Reading the British press is always informative and falling into wikipedia holes of past seasons, drivers, and cars is fascinating. The six-wheeled cars? The ground effect monsters? Pretty much Gilles Villeneuve's entire career? Some truly crazy stuff has happened in F1, so dig in.

- Consider reading a little bit on racing technique. This is probably pretty optional, but with the amount of questions my friends asked me before they got a handle, I think it's a good idea. Check out Speed Secrets by Ross Bentley, Drive to Win by Carrol Smith, or Twist of the Wrist by Keith Code (it's about motorcycle racing but almost all of the skills are transferable). They are all great books. Having a solid understanding of what the drivers are doing to go that fast makes racing much more impressive I find. And if the bug really catches you, go check out Skip Barber or one of the other racing schools. I know from experience that racing is even more amazing than you think it is.

- Take your time. F1's not going anywhere in the foreseeable future, so if you only feel like dabbling for the time being, don't worry. It will all be there for you when you want it.

- Go see some racing live! Seeing and hearing the speed in person goes a long way to conveying the skill that goes into racing. Find a local track and check out some of the smaller series and clubs that race. Especially for the smaller series, walk around the paddock and talk to the mechanics, drivers, and crews. Unless they are super busy, most people would love to talk to you and educate you about their sport.

- Above all: have fun! Racing is super fun, and not everyone loves the same thing. Sample everything to see what you like and if you find you don't like something, don't worry about it, it's just not for you.

I hope this helps. If anybody has anything I missed or thinks I'm completely wrong about, let me know.

#2 Edited by mosespippy (4051 posts) -

I've only gotten into motorsport in the last three years and I have to say that it was the Le Mans 24 Hour Race that really pushed me into it. Since it's a 24 hour event the commentators have loads of time to explain the sport. They do lots of interviews during the event, both down in the pits and up in the studio. Given that there are four different classes of vehicle on the road at once there is always a heated race for some position. It's also impressive to see a car crash, get towed to the pit, have a crew work on it for a half hour or 45 minutes to replace half the car and then send it back out to race.

I feel like I'd rather watch a British broadcast as they discuss the more technical side of the sport. For me the engineering and science is the impressive and interesting part of the sport. Not the team politics or driver egos, which I feel like is what the US feeds dramatize more in order to gain an audience.

#3 Edited by JJBSterling (169 posts) -

Rush was F1 right? I liked that movie. Don't know how accurate it was though.

#4 Posted by locovoco (31 posts) -

@mosespippy: That's a good point I hadn't really thought of. I definitely come at it from a driver-oriented perspective so that colors my opinion somewhat. I sometimes forget that lots of people are much more interested, like you said, in the truly immense engineering talent.

@jjbsterling: Yeah, Rush was based on the story of an actual F1 season. Obviously the drama was a little bit punched up, but it's more accurate than you might think. Especially in regard to the technical aspects where it was very meticulously researched.

#5 Edited by CByrne (188 posts) -

@locovoco said:

- If possible, try to watch the U.S. broadcast. They assume they're speaking to a less-informed audience and are generally more apt to explain things.

I'd disagree with that. The Sky Sports Coverage is much more entertaining and informative. Granted in the states, it's some dark... grey... area...

@locovoco said:

- Above all: have fun! Racing is super fun, and not everyone loves the same thing. Sample everything to see what you like and if you find you don't like something, don't worry about it, it's just not for you

This^

Also, if you live near Austin, GO! It's not too expensive.

#6 Edited by splatteredbloodsouls (43 posts) -

Basically the easiest way to get into it is to play loads and loads of Mario Kart 64. It's similar. All you have to do is remove the weapons and increase the car count and speed of the car. Other than those things it's pretty much a carbon copy of the sport some people like to call F1 or Formula One.

No Blue Shell = Carbon Copy F1 Simulator.

That is all.

#7 Posted by Optix12 (611 posts) -

A fun bet you can probably play each week in this season is which driver of the Lotus Renault team will crash first, as Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean have a habit of either being aggressive or in a bad spot at the worst time

#8 Posted by locovoco (31 posts) -

@cbyrne: I'd disagree with that. The Sky Sports Coverage is much more entertaining and informative. Granted in the states, it's some dark... grey... area...

I dunno, it's probably just me never really liking Martin Brundle, but I could never get much into it. Although I probably only prefer the Varsha/Matchett combo because that's what I was raised on. I should probably just remove any broadcast advice, it shouldn't really matter too much to most people.

And yeah, people should absolutely go to Austin if they have a chance. From what I've heard it's shaped up to be a really nice facility and I think the track is one of the better Tilke designs (for what that's worth).

#9 Posted by HistoryInRust (6276 posts) -

Rush was F1 right? I liked that movie. Don't know how accurate it was though.

Rush is the entire reason I'm looking forward to the F1 season this year. Had no idea Drew and Co. were planning a Formula 1 podcast.

Seems like a really good time to start following the sport.

#10 Posted by Pr1mus (3824 posts) -

@jjbsterling: At least one part was extremely accurate and makes it all the more scary.

Online
#11 Edited by CByrne (188 posts) -

@locovoco: Yes, Austin is awesome! I made the trip. Worth it. Even the non F1 guy that went with us had fun.

Don't take a cell phone though lol...

#12 Posted by BeefyGrandmole (341 posts) -

I recently watched 1: Life on the Limit which is a great documentary about F1 and how dangerous it was up to the nineties. If you're interested in the sport then you should check it out.