As the new Formula 1 season rapidly approaches, it makes absolute sense to make more blog posts on the subject of Grand Prix racing!
I first became aware of F1 around 1976, when I was aged six. James Hunt and Niki Lauda were embroiled in their titanic tussle for the World Championship, and I certainly recall the media coverage following Lauda's fiery accident at the Nurburgring. I recall seeing the odd race on TV,although the coverage back then was spasmodic, to put it mildly. The Tyrrell six-wheeler P34 also captured my young imagination.
Although I remained vaguely aware of goings on in F1, I did not follow it closely. A school friend was a keen fan, though, and used to show me sticker albums. I also remember Gilles Villeneuve's remarkable antics at Zandvoort in 1979
It was not until 1981 that my interest in Formula 1 was truly sparked. One Sunday afternoon I was sitting in front of the television, and there was coverage of the Monaco Grand Prix. The race was won by the aforementioned Villeneuve, and I was hooked. To my delight, Gilles won the next race at Jarama, albeit under very different circumstances.
For the rest of the 1980s I faithfully watched every race, relishing the dynamic BBC commentary team of Murray Walker and James Hunt.
After I left school, and started earning a living, I could indulge my interest further my purchasing books and studying the history of the sport. At the start of the 1989 season, with the advent of the 3.5 litre atmo formula, my level of interest went up a further notch, and I began regularly buying magazines such as Autosport.
Since those early days, I have gone through occasional periods of disinterest, or disillusionment with the sport (1994 being a case in point), but I am always drawn back by the drama, the intrigue and the personalities.
Roll on the start of the 2011 season!