Just had a nap for a little while, and RJ reminded me that I haven't posted for a few days.
Like many, I'm not following the sport in the way that I used to. It's not from a lack of interest, but more a lack of access. In this country, we are back to 1979 with only a few races actually shown on TV, which we now lovingly refer to as free-to-air. The rest is on Pay TV, as if it is a payable privilege to be bombarded with something called content, which appears to be a euphemism for absolute and complete rubbish.
It's not so much a rejection of certain things having a value, it is more about having to pay for a service where the service provider still uses the platform for endless advertising, and where fully 90% of the 'content' is uninteresting filling. I just don't watch TV anymore and can't understand where everyone else gets the time to do it.
So most of my involvement these days is via the internetty or the day after via recording. Personally, I like my F1 like my sex; LIVE AND EXCITING, and I aint payin for either of them.
Lots of folks are complaining about tech rules and the like, but really, this is perennial with F1. Old folks don't like the uber-safety; mid-aged don't like the driver aids and overall driveability, and the youngsters must have engineered overtaking at all costs. Such things go on and on. I tend to think that the real threat to the continuation of the sport is the constant search for the next Senna. It pervades everything, and the drivers rotate through at an alarming rate. How is anyone supposed to establish an emotional connection when drivers are changed almost as quickly as tyres. Ever hear a conversation like this? "Hey, remember old Rubbery?" "He was a Bridgestone left rear that on the Williams in the second stint in Spa in ought 8." " Man that guy just held on and on" "Yeah! whatever happened to him?"
Ever driven a race car at the limit? There are only so many ways you can get around a circuit and the top steerers are all incredibly close to each other in their ability to do this. The only real difference is ability in a precise environmental parameter; motivation and clarity on the day; and the way that a race actually plays out. For motivation, the difference in a driver's ability to go really quick is hugely impacted by the competitiveness of the car. When yours is the best, and when you have the confidence to commit to an apex with a predicable result at the exit, your spirit flies as high as it can fly. When yours is down on others you throw it around as hard as you can, and when you go a little too far, and the sphincter muscle gives a teak on the exit of a corner you actually shouldn't have got away with, it is exhausting. Couple that with information that shows that the guy in front actually increased his lead on that lap, and self-preservation starts to overtake ambition.
What I'm saying here is that there really is and has never been the next big thing. Senna was a giant amongst giants in his day. He was oft beaten and like Schumaker, had to resort to tricks on occasion to win chamionships. What he really had, what Ascari really had was passion and commitment. We buy in to the persona of a driver and it is the buy-in that creates the aura. How can we buy in to a merry-go-round of names, that change each time it goes round? Hamilton is a tool, but he is also a single-minded, committed, and awesomely talented driver. Rosberg is an automaton. It won't matter if he wins the championship, no-one will remember him, and there is no buy-in to him because he treats the sport the same way that Prost did. Prost was a multi-champion, but he is never ever spoken of in loving terms. Respected, yes, but never a legend (except for being the first Frenchman to win a championship). Now the young folks want Verstappen to be the next freak. To be sure, he is very talented and eerily mature, but his impact so far is mostly down to youthful daring. Kvyat had that as well.
My view is that with drivers being elevated and cast down according to perceived ability over short time frames, or their access to sponsorship makes fan commitment a commodity in decline. The ever increasing need for instant satisfaction in a disposable world relegates F1 to the same status as any other fad. Imagine what would happen if they actually bucked the trend, and found a way to have the sport without it being linked to a few individual's and corporates' greed and pursuit of profit? What if it meant something as it used to?
Well that's not gonna happen.